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Mar 21, 2014 - 06:13 AM
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EMCO Gears Earns More Endurance Race Winning Success at the 12 Hours of Sebring
Posted by: newsla on Mar 21, 2014 - 06:13 AM
USCR News
EMCO Gears Earns More Endurance Race Winning Success at the 12 Hours of Sebring


Following up its victorious success in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, racing teams supplied and supported by EMCO Gears earned even more winning accolades at this past weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida.

 

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The same Action Express Racing No. 5 Corvette Daytona Prototype that used EMCO components and personnel in winning the Rolex 24 overall also won the pole at Sebring and finished third outright in the race. Additional Sebring success was delivered by GT Daytona (GTD) class winners Magnus Racing, which is the only Porsche 911 GT America team using EMCO gears competing in the IMSA TUDOR United Sports Car Championship.

EMCO Gears has been involved in North American sports car racing for over 30 years with its proven gearboxes but the all-American manufacturer offers much more than race and championship-winning transmissions. Both the Rolex 24 and the 12 Hours of Sebring, the first two events of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, were also milestone races for EMCO as the Chicago-based company supplied a variety of technology and services for Action’s Daytona Prototypes and the Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America.

“We knew that following up on our Daytona success would be a challenge but we were once again delighted with the hard-earned results that our partner teams worked so hard to achieve,” said Dan Cota, EMCO Gears Director of Racing. “For a time it even looked like the No. 5 was going to win back-to-back endurance races but we are delighted with the third-place showing and, of course, Sebastien’s outstanding pole-winning run. We were also fortunate to support GTD winners Magnus Racing which, as the biggest and most diverse division in the series, is no small task.”

As they did for the Daytona victory, EMCO supplied top personnel and four different key technical components and assemblies to both the No. 5 and its sister No. 9 Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototypes. Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebring pole-winning driver Sebastien Bourdais once again co-drove the No. 5 in the grueling half-day Sebring race that is run in part on a former World War II airfield.

Magnus Racing’s winning trio included John Potter, Andy Lally and debuting team driver Marco Seefried. The team’s No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America is the only team currently running EMCO Gears internals in its Porsche transmission.

“Winning Sebring requires perfection on every level,” said Potter, Magnus Racing team owner and driver. “Perfect pit stops, perfect driving, perfect strategy, and every component on the car needs to be flawless. With EMCO we knew we had a quality, reliable product and they delivered like always. We’re very happy to share our win with them.”

The 2012 Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) GT winners, Magnus moved into contention to win another NAEC title with the Sebring win. The No. 44 is also third in the IMSA TUDOR GTD standings and Seefried, who finished third with another team at Daytona, is second in the NAEC GTD driver rankings and the overall GTD driver standings.

The No. 5 Action team and its drivers have also remained at the top of the points charts in not only the overall IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype standings but also the NAEC Prototype standings. The No. 5 Action entry is also the only Prototype in the IMSA TUDOR Championship to have reached the podium in each of the year’s opening two races.

"EMCO Gears is over the moon with the performance of our partners Action Express,” Cota said. “Their lead in both the Patrón Endurance and TUDOR season championship is possible by their driver line up, aggressively planed strategy and choosing the best possible equipment to get the job done.

Action Express is one of the first to take advantage of EMCO’s trackside service program, which assigns a fulltime and factory-trained technician to participating teams. The program includes any and all maintenance at either EMCO’s Indianapolis-based technical center or trackside at a test or race event. Action’s assigned technician was once again a fully integrated member of the team with them from the onset of preliminary testing last year at Sebring straight through the finish of the 12 hour last Saturday night.

EMCO technical components supplied to the Action Corvette Daytona Prototypes include not only gearboxes but also the manufacturer’s equally strong axle, Tripod axle and rack-and-pinion steering assemblies.

“The Sebring track is challenging with so many gear shifts on the 17-turn track,” Fittipaldi said. “We go from very fast to very slow in a very short time. That puts lots of pressure on the entire drive train. Both Action Express cars ran every lap of the race and our gear changes were smooth and trouble free. Our third place finish and our teammates eighth place finish speak for the reliability and performance of our EMCO gear package.”

Designated the GA46-5.0, the EMCO gearbox used by Action and other top IMSA teams is designed to have a long cycle life so no major changes are needed to the transmission at a race, including one as long as the 12 Hours of Sebring. The speed-gear section of the transmission is also of a cassette design, easily removable for pre-race inspection or quick repairs, neither of which was needed during the combined 36 hours of racing at Daytona and Sebring. The gearbox case and its components are cast or milled using superior-strength-graded aluminum as holding gears and bearings at their designed positioning is everything in transmission reliability, particularly on a bumpy track notoriously as tough as the 3.74-mile Sebring circuit.

While the gearboxes and Chevrolet V8 engines combined for the winning drivetrain on the Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototypes, it was EMCO’s axles and in-house designed Tripod axle system that capably transferred the power to the track. A result of a long-term process of near misses, the Tripod axle is an onboard component that is a critical marriage between a three-point joint and the internal dimensioning of the housing. The combination keeps the various moving parts in and coming out of the gearbox from crashing into each other, a critical balance that must be maintained for more than 12 hours at Daytona.

The final EMCO component used by Action was the company’s rack-and-pinion steering system. EMCO manufactures its steering system with the same attention to detail given to a precision set of gears or a critical axle assembly. A light-weight, billet-aluminum housing is engineered to correctly hold the rack and pinion at the designed mounting distance while quality gear geometry makes for a very smooth operating system.

In addition to Action Express, other premier IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship teams taking advantage of the EMCO Gears culture of operation include the No. 31 Marsh Racing/Whelen Motorsports Corvette Daytona Prototype, the No. 91 and No. 93 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R GTLM entries, the No. 33 ViperExchange.com SRT Viper GT3-R GTD entry and top manufacturers Coyote Cars, Riley Technologies and Dallara Automobile.

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