Toroidal traction drive specialist Torotrak plc and vehicle transmission design and manufacturing company Xtrac Ltd have announced that they have entered into a licence agreement to enable Xtrac to develop compact continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) for use in the new kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) proposed for Formula One motor racing.


In 2009, F1 is introducing new rules that will lower the environmental impact of the sport. Part of this is to recover deceleration energy that can be stored for acceleration.


Xtrac will exploit Torotrak’s full-toroidal traction drive technology, for use in kinetic energy recovery systems within the motorsport industry, to assist its customers in meeting these new obligations.


Commenting on the co-operation between the two companies, Peter Digby, managing director of Xtrac, said: “The transfer of world-class transmission technology from Torotrak, combined with the added value of Xtrac’s expertise in the design and manufacture of transmissions for motorsport – and with clear potential to feed the resulting technical solution back into mainstream automotive use – is a good example of what I believe FIA president Max Mosley had in mind when he announced that Formula One should embrace an energy efficient future and open up the world of motorsport to new manufacturers.”


Dick Elsy, chief executive at Torotrak, added: “We are delighted to be working with Xtrac on this exciting new application of our transmission technology, to provide a highly efficient KERS solution for initial application in motorsport, but with a clear opportunity to apply the system in mainstream road cars to provide performance, economy and greenhouse gas emission benefits.”