24th international ADMV Lausitz - Rally:
Space Drive in the ultimate off-road test.
Long jumps, strong vibrations and hard knocks, dust, dirt and mud, these are the challenges for Armin Schwarz and his Ford Fiesta Rallye2, which manages entirely without a mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear, this coming weekend. This year, the rally legend will again take part in the Lausitz Rally in Boxberg/Upper Lusatia from 4 to 6 November with the steer-by-wire technology vehicle. The demanding and at the same time legendary gravel course with its twelve special stages places the highest demands on the Space Drive System from Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG and provides further development impetus for the system.
The 24th Lausitz Rally marks the end of an extremely successful Space Drive development year with challenging races in the DTM and a first podium finish in the last race of the season. The fields of application were also very diverse with GT3 entries at the ADAC TOTAL 24h Nürburgring, at the ADAC GT4 Germany as well as at GTC Race and offered a broad field of development. The Rally Ford Fiesta Rallye2 now enters a completely different field. A special endurance test with completely different conditions than the classic circuit, with extremely fast steering movements and completely different movement stimuli, which the electronic steering system has to process in real time and under the toughest conditions.
For me, working with Schaeffler Paravan is a new stage in my rallying career. Space Drive opens up completely new possibilities. Things are possible that were not possible with mechanical steering systems.
"In the off-road sector, the demands on the space drive system are completely different. Added to this are the harsh external conditions with changing road surfaces, dirt and moisture," says Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG. "We can now implement the findings and developments gained in our testing programme this year in the rally field. Initial tests were positive throughout. The material stress in this area is something completely different again."
A good four weeks ago, the rally team led by Schaeffler Paravan engineers and Armin Schwarz prepared for this year's Lausitz Rally with initial tests on the Nochten section. "In the test, we were able to test the new application and make rally-specific detail improvements," explains Klaus Graf, Head of Testing and member of the Schaeffler Paravan management team. "Last year, we gathered initial experience and data. Now we have been able to follow up seamlessly. The development is enormous. We went straight into tuning for this test and are very well prepared for the concerns of the track," reports Armin Schwarz about the first tests.
The course with its 12 special stages, which will be run next Friday and Saturday, runs for the most part over gravel tracks and is about 80 per cent the same as last year. This gives the Space-Drive engineers comparable reference values for future development. "Based on the data we are currently recording, we get very good information about the force ratios and the stresses that occur in the rally car. It is important to record and process the data of the performance or load peaks," says Graf. "For us, the topic of rally/off-road is a very important component in Space Drive development. Conventional mechanical steering often presents drivers with very great challenges in terms of the so-called kickback, i.e. the impacts on the steering wheel, and the stresses that result from this."
As the Space Drive Ford Fiesta Rallye2 in the distinctive and typical Schaeffler Paravan design does not yet have FIA homologation for rally use, it will take to the stages outside the classifications ahead of the field. The DMSB granted an exemption for this. The special thing about the rally vehicle: in addition to the homologation from the German Motor Sport Federation (DMSB), a road homologation is also required to operate the vehicle. The Schaeffler Paravan technology carrier has both. "For me, working with Schaeffler Paravan is a new stage in my rallying career. Space Drive opens up completely new possibilities. Things are possible that were not possible with mechanical steering systems," reports rally professional Armin Schwarz. "In my eyes, this is a very promising development to which I am happy to contribute. Testing and developing the system in the extreme range is an exciting task to bring it forward so that it can also be used for road traffic."
On Thursday, 4 November, the 24th Lausitzrallye will begin with the shakedown of the special stages. This is the last opportunity for Armin Schwarz and his team to fine-tune the system before the start of the first four special stages on Friday at 3:15 pm at the village hall in Boxberg. On Saturday, eight more are on the agenda until the 168.74 kilometre long special stage distance or the almost 366 kilometre total distance is completed on Saturday evening. He will be supported this year by 18-year-old junior co-driver Pascal Raabe. "We want to continue seamlessly from the last outings and tests," hopes Armin Schwarz. "Looking at the weather, we might find mixed conditions - rain on Friday, dry on Saturday - so we would have two different weather conditions to test, which would be optimal to be able to develop the system in this area to the maximum."
About the Lausitz Rally:
Almost 100 teams will take to the road for the 24th edition of the International ADMV Lausitz Rally from 4 to 6 November 2021. The rally, which has been organised by the ADMV since 2000, impresses with its unique gravel tracks. The FIA and DMSB-recognised race event in Lausitz attracts participants from all over the world and also includes national series such as the DMSB Gravel Cup, the ADMV Rally Championship and the Saxon Rally Championship. For more information, visit www.lausitz-rallye.de.