HARMAN creates in car Personal Sound Zones so everyone can listen to what they want to



While there are many different sounds generated in-vehicle, not all of these sounds are relevant to all passengers. Today’s explosion of portable electronics and in-vehicle technologies like navigation, hands free calling and Bluetooth connections have dramatically altered our driving habits and in-cabin experience. Navigation prompts and phone calls are important for drivers, but interrupt the music for passengers. Games, audio books and digital videos for one passenger result in a cabin filled with sonic clutter for all. Harman’s new ISZ technology can help reduce that clutter, ensuring that all occupants in the vehicle hear only what matters to them.

“Individual Sound Zones and the HALOsonic technology suite enable automakers to offer enhanced experiences to passengers, as well as imagine new possibilities as the car itself continues to evolve in use beyond the traditional ‘people mover,’” said Michael Mauser, president, Lifestyle Division, HARMAN. “With HARMAN’s science-based architecture and acoustic precision, we’re pushing the barriers of sound and creating the ultimate personalized experience throughout the vehicle cabin.”

ISZ is an innovative acoustic design and complementary digital signal processing that maximizes speaker directivity and minimizes crosstalk in and between the zones in a vehicle for a more personalized in-cabin experience. ISZ does not eliminate all sound signals, but tunes the vehicle to ensure passengers audio experience is optimized for their location in the vehicle and current mode of listening.

ISZ utilizes a vehicle’s existing audio system speakers with the addition of headrest speakers equipped with micro speaker technology, along with thin and flat Electro Dynamic Planar Loudspeakers in the vehicle ceiling. The digital signal processing has been specifically adjusted to the vehicle cabin and speakers such that it will temper the signals from other zones, regardless of whether they are music, voice or other noises. Each passenger can activate and control their “zone.” Passengers can still hear other sounds in the cabin, but those sounds are controlled in a way that limits the interruptions and distractions to each passenger’s own sound experience. The configuration can be customized based on the cabin design and layout of vehicles, as well as type of vehicle (i.e. sedan vs. minivan).

Individual Sound Zones can be integrated into any HARMAN in-car audio system via the amplifier, providing automakers limitless possibilities to further enhance in-car listening experiences. It is available now to all automakers.

British short circuit driver Tom Harris announces US racing debut

Multiple BriSCA F1 stock car champion to take on the best of US short oval racers and aims to lift the coveted ‘Chilli Bowl’ title in January 2015be92881108954b27_800x800ar


Following a successful test in an 860bhp Sprint Car, multiple F1 stock car champion Tom Harris will compete in the Midget Sprint Car Category in the USA in 2015. Harris, 25, from Banbury, Oxfordshire has agreed a deal to drive a front-running Bob East car in the 2015 Chilli Bowl (January 13th-17th).The five day event, described as the ‘Super Bowl of Midget racing’ sees competitors from across the US, Australia and New Zealand compete on a quarter mile indoor clay track inside the 39,000m² Tulsa Expo Centre. 

Harris is believed to be the first British driver in generations (possibly since Stirling Moss’ father, Alf) to race in the US category for open-wheeled dirt oval race cars that counts Mario Andretti and NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart amongst its previous participants.  “I cannot wait to get over and get stuck in with a new challenge,” says Tom Harris. “It’s always been my ambition to race in the US and progress my career, ultimately to World of Outlaws Sprint Cars. We had a great first test with Sprint Car legend Smiley Sitton last month and left him impressed. We were on the pace, so much so they even put fresh tyres on! The next step now is to get racing and finally show the US that drivers over here are just as good.” 

Harris, both a constructor and driver of World Championship-winning F1 stock cars believes that as Midgets are closer in specification to the BriSCA cars in Europe he usually drives, they will offer the best chance to make his first impression in the US racing scene. “Running on Methanol, they have around 400bhp, a bit less than our F1 stock cars but grip levels are similar and we are used to running on dirt,” says Harris. “We have been able to source a Beast car from Chilli Bowl winning constructor Bob East and it will have a fresh engine fitted for the meeting. We know it’s hard to break into US racing, but we showed them in the test I was bang on the pace. I have won nearly every oval F1 stock car title in the UK and Europe and we have to take this opportunity.” 

Harris is keen that as many European race fans make the trip and support the Harris team. “The Chilli Bowl has a great atmosphere with partisan fans all cheering their favourites inside this massive and unique indoor venue,” claims Harris. “European stock car fans are some of the best. We need as many of us out there to make some noise on and off the track!” 

Anyone wishing to back Tom Harris’ trip and sponsor the car is asked to get in touch via the Harris Motorsport Facebook page that will also carry updates about the trip. https://www.facebook.com/groups/510475585675811/?fref=ts


PMW Expo debut for first ‘structural’ ZircoFlex ® FORM heatshield

New heatshield range will offer blend of strength, weight, structure and heat resistance

Heat shield

Cologne’s Professional Motorsport World Exhibition (13th-15th November) sees thermal management specialist Zircotec debut prototypes of its first ever ‘structural’ ZircoFlex® FORM heatshield. The new, more rigid and stainless steel heatshield will enable engineers to benefit from Zircotec’s ceramic coating protection together the strength and ability to form structures.  The first ZircoFlex FORM prototypes, designed to protect drivers and componentry from conductive and reflective heat issues, will offer higher levels of thermal protection than existing pressed aluminium and stainless steel products whilst retaining the lightweight and strength, will be on display in Hall 10.1, stand number 4010.  “Zircotec plan to launch in the coming months a number of hybrid derivatives, each able to solve multiple heat issues including both reflective and conductive sources, providing a compelling mix of strength, weight, structure and heat resistance,” says Zircotec’s sales director Peter Whyman. “In addition to the heat benefits, initial testing suggests that a variant of FORM can provide acoustic damping that may appeal to endurance racers in GT/VLN etc. where noise can contribute to fatigue.”


Zircotec is finalising development of ZircoFlex® FORM but was keen that engineers attending PMW could get a chance to inspect the prototypes first-hand to see how Zircotec is able to offer a ceramic/stainless steel hybrid that can be bent, cut and formed to shape. “We are already fixing appointments with engineers to ‘have a play’ and to understand how we can provide higher levels of protection without a package or weight penalty. In addition to the new product, Zircotec is exhibiting the full range of existing Zircotec technologies including composite, exhaust and turbo coatings as well as technologies to solve specific issues such as electromagnetic compatibility. “2014 has been our busiest year to date with a rise in activity in F1 as well as growth in both road car, motorsport and motorcycle sectors,” adds Whyman. “Ceramic coating is now a trusted technology in road cars and with expansion at our factory, capacity has risen and volume manufacturing, even for composite coating, has become more attainable.”

If you would like to speak to a specialist during the show, please let us know by email or calling and we would be delighted to set this up

Stephen Colbran joins Elan Pr Ltd

StephenStephen joins us from within the automotive magazine industry, having worked on the editorial team at Racecar Engineering, MiniWorld, Mini Magazine and also freelance across a broad range of motoring and motorsport titles.  His experience of writing, editing, designing and photographing for consumer titles brings a valuable creative resource of inside knowledge and techniques to our PR services.

When he‘s not writing, photographing or chatting about cars, you can find Stephen working on his classic Mini project, which he’s rebuilt from a bare shell for trackdays and sprints. His earliest memories are all motorsport related; aged five, he would watch his dad competing on the short circuit ovals of the UK, stood up on a step ladder to see over the crowds! And whilst grass-roots motorsport will always appeal, he equally enjoys learning about the technology and engineering behind high-level motoring developments.


To celebrate Tom Harris’s bid to retain the BrISCA F1 World Championship title:

Tom Harris briSCA F1 carHeat Management specialist and Tom Harris supporter, Zircotec, offered children under 12 the opportunity to win a ‘Hot Wheels Car’ by colouring a sketch of Tom’s No.84 Stock Car.

Entries were received from around Europe – and incredibly good they were too!  There are some really young fans out there; contestants were aged between 3 ½ years and 12 years old.  All entries received were reviewed by Tom Harris and the overall winner was 10 ½ year old Thomas Drawbridge of the UK, with this entry:

Thomas Drawbridge - Winning Entry


Tom’s selection of the top 16 entries were included in the ‘chequered flag’  and we have  wonderful images of some of the contestants with their entries.  Tom, Zircotec and Elan PR would like to thank everyone who took part.  The standard of colouring from all ages was great and everyone involved got a lot of pleasure from reviewing the entries.

Thanks a lot young BrISCA F1 Fans!  Keep supporting!






Success in Jerez in Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS debut

Jake HughesTop five finish against ALPS regulars sets Strakka Racing and Jake Hughes up for Eurocup finale at the Spanish circuit in two weeks’ time

Strakka Racing and driver Jake Hughes enjoyed a productive weekend at Jerez, culminating with a strong fifth in race two of the final rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS championship.

Practice underlined how quickly Strakka Racing has got to grips with the FR2.0 chassis within a short space of time. Unlike the series’ regulars who benefitted from additional sets of fresh tyres in practice (thanks to a wet race at the previous round at Mugello), Hughes made the most of his older rubber and was consistently inside the top ten for both sessions.

In qualifying, wildcard entry Hughes lined up 12thafter finishing sixth in the qualifying group, a little over 0.5 second adrift of category champion Nick de Vries. A great start and good race pace coupled with Hughes once again showing his ability overtake at a track not renowned for passing opportunities, culminated in ninth place overall. For Strakka the race crucially provided valuable dry set up data and insight for a track it will return to in the final round of the Eurocup, just two weeks away.

Race two gave the Strakka Racing squad chance to apply its growing knowledge and in only its second race meeting in the FR2.0 category delivered its best ever result with Hughes driving superbly to seize fifth place. “It was a decent weekend in Jerez,” says Hughes. “In race two, I was past Bruno Bonifacio and alongside Jack Aitken at the exit of Turn 1 – and they both ran wide and caused a big crash. We had a safety car for a few laps to clean up the mess and the guys ahead pulled a gap when we restarted. But then our car came on and it’s nice to say I was stuck behind Olsen who’s second in the Eurocup! We definitely had the pace to get past him, and maybe if it hadn’t been for the safety car I would have done, because his tyres would have gone off more. That shows how much good progress we have made.”

“In just our second race weekend in FR2.0 we have underlined Strakka’s ability to quickly get to grips with a new race car and category and together with Jake, deliver on track,” says team principal Dan Walmsley. “We also gained useful information for our return in two weeks’ time and after Jake’s impressive weekend, we look forward with confidence to showing up some of the more experienced Eurocup teams with our developing pace.”

3D Print Show with Strakka Racing

The first major project in Elan PR guise came at the 3D PrintShow in London last week (4th/5th September),

The show sees everything 3D printed, from grass through to pioneering innovations in prosthetics and fashion. The only car at the show belonged to our customer Strakka Racing, the Silverstone-based team presenting its new LMP2 challenger as a key showcase of additive manufacturing.


 Strakka and Stratasys partner to enhance 3D printing for motorsport applications

Strakka and Stratasys partner to enhance 3D printing for motorsport applications

Strakka Racing is developing rapidly; with expansion into karting and Formula Renault as well as a new Performance Centre coming on stream – the team is transforming into a sustainable motorsport business. Wider exposure of its engineering expertise is important to that growth and to assist the team to forge new partnerships. Through our network of contacts, Strakka has entered a technical partnership with leading 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys.  Together the two are looking at increasing the use of 3D printed parts in motorsport.


An LMP car will do more miles flat out at Le Mans than an F1 car does all year so it’s the perfect apparatus on which to demonstrate their durability in a harsh environment. What started as an interesting case study highlighting how 3D printed parts could be used in real racing applications is just like the race team; evolving.  Aside from the technical developments that could see a significant amount of future parts for the car produced on the now in house 3D printer, the partnership has enabled Strakka to showcase the car and itself to an entirely new audience at this more consumer friendly show.  The consumer element of the show meant there was consumer media, hungry for interesting and new applications of the technology. As professional motorsport tends to keep quiet about many of the clever things it does, the chance for media to engage and get up close to a top-flight race car led to TV interviews with BBC, Associated Press, Al Jazeera, terrestrial TV from across the world as well as national radio and newspapers. For a team wanting to show the wider world, potential drivers and sponsors what it can do, the result was broad spectrum, global coverage, far greater than could be achieved simply from presence at a racetrack.

One example here from  MSN http://video.uk.msn.com/watch/video/3d-printed-racing-car/2g7an0tt

Another great example here….. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29114744

If you are fed up of doing the same old thing, why not give us a call?

Strakka Racing’s Stevens climbs to 5th In FR 3.5, Hungary Sept2014



FR 3.5 Hungaroring Sept 14

FR 3.5 Hungaroring Sept 14

Double points score for British racer keeps top three hopes alive in Formula Renault 3.5 while Strakka Racing’s new Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 team makes its competitive debut


Strakka Racing’s Will Stevens bagged a welcome haul of points in rounds 12 and 13 of the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series at the Hungaroring over the weekend, 13th/14thSeptember, to move back into the top five in the championship standings.With inclement weather having a big impact from the outset, coupled with issues linked to new brakes which were supplied for practice, Stevens did well to take a best of sixth place in race one.Team-mate Matias Laine, who was also compromised in testing with the brake problems, was the victim of first corner contact in race one but was able to finish in 13thposition on Sunday.

In addition to the Formula Renault 3.5 operations, this weekend also marked the debut of Strakka’s new Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 squad with reigning BRDC Formula 4 Champion Jake Hughes and BRDC F4 Winter Series Champion Matty Graham.The wet weather provided less than ideal conditions in which to learn car and circuit, but Hughes ended up with a best of 12thposition in race two – and fastest lap – while Graham had to settle for 19thplace in race one – each driver also posting a non-finish.

Stevens and Laine endure frustrating weekends at Hungaroring

Prior to round 12 of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series on Saturday, heavy rainfall resulted in a saturated track and a wet race was declared by officials. Stevens started in fifth place, having qualified just 0.4 seconds shy of pole position, and made a terrific start.Finding the grip he needed, the Briton surged into third spot on the outside line as the field headed to the first corner but he had to tuck back into fourth on the exit.Stevens held onto fourth place until lap five when Carlos Sainz Jnr was able to get past at the chicane, the move opening the door for Matthieu Vaxiviere to also get ahead of the Strakka car.Edged back to sixth place, Stevens remained there to the finish on lap 22 with the track getting progressively drier during the second half of the contest.

Laine’s hopes of a strong run from 10thon the grid were dashed at the first corner when he was tagged by Zoel Amberg, resulting in a puncture. The Finn was able to crawl to the pits and although able to rejoin with a fresh tyre, he pitted again to retire on lap four.  For round 13 on Sunday, Stevens lined-up 12thon the grid and made another excellent start to scythe his way through into eighth position prior to the emergence of the Safety Car.Racing resumed after five laps and Stevens then took his pit-stop on the seventh tour. When the race order settled down following the stops, he held 10thplace where he remained to the finish.Laine, beginning the race in 18thposition, didn’t have the most straightforward of contests but impressively battled his way through into 13thplace – just six seconds shy of the points.“It’s been a very difficult weekend, not helped by the brake problems caused by the new parts,” explained Stevens, “Fifth in qualifying on Saturday was actually not too bad, the race was very wet though and the grip was really down.

“Wet qualifying on Sunday all came down to the last five minutes, some drivers got an extra lap but we missed out. That meant the race was always going to be difficult but the pace was good. It’s not been the best weekend, so we look forward to Ricard now.”Laine added: “The brake issues on Friday meant we had no laps. My start to race one was good but I got hit by [Zoel] Amberg and had a puncture.

“The wet qualifying on Sunday was difficult;  tough conditions, and we missed the best lap near the end when the track was best. The race was much better though and the pace was good. It’s been a frustrating weekend so I’m looking forward to Ricard.”

Challenging Eurocup FR 2.0 debut for Strakka

FR 2.0 Hungaroring Sept 2014

FR 2.0 Hungaroring Sept 2014

Strakka Racing couldn’t have a selected a more challenging event in which to debut its new Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 outfit, with the continually changing wet weather making for a very tough weekend.For race one, Hughes qualified 18thfastest and although passing was at a premium on the tight Hungaroring track, he did gain a place before being forced to retire on the penultimate lap due to damage sustained from an errant rival in the mid-pack.Graham, beginning race one from 22ndplace, had a largely uneventful contest but did manage to work his way into the top 20 with a 19thposition finish.

Hughes enjoyed a strong race from 19thon the grid on Sunday to finish in the top 12. Gaining three places on lap one alone, the British driver was up into 14thprior to the appearance of the Safety Car on lap three.Over the last five laps he sliced his way through into 12that the flag and was within just 0.4 seconds of the points and impressively posted the fastest lap of the race.For Graham, his race unfortunately came to an all-too-early end on the opening lap when a great start came to nothing after being unceremoniously wiped out by a rival.Reflecting on the event, Hughes said: “Practice was very wet and it was my first time running in the car in the wet, so there was a lot to learn. What was very positive was the comparison between the start of testing and the end in terms of car balance.

“We had extremely good pace in race one, or potential pace, as I was stuck behind people the whole race. It ended badly with a poor manoeuvre in the braking zone from a driver in front. We made a good improvement with the car for race two though.”Graham commented: “We had a very difficult weekend, I didn’t go to Hungary expecting a podium but I thought we could have been mid-pack. The weather made the one practice I had harder, then qualifying was in mixed conditions and race one was probably one of the hardest I’ve had as I had to learn the track in the dry.

“Qualifying was poor for race two, we needed changes to the car, but made a great start to the race and made some good places before I was taken out. Overall it’s been a disappointing weekend.”

Paul Ricard in France will host the penultimate event of the World Series by Renault season on 27th/28th September.

From early domestic campaigns with BMWs and Aston Martins, Strakka Racing has evolved to become one of the most respected and successful privateer teams in the World Endurance Championship.  In 2010 the Silverstone-based team achieved a class win, five circuit records and fifth overall in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours. Ever developing, in 2013 Strakka Racing entered the Formula Renault 3.5 litre World Series single seater championship, regarded as one of the best training grounds before F1. In 2014 Strakka Racing joins forces with esteemed Japanese chassis manufacturer DOME to develop, market and race the Strakka DOME S103 LMP2 chassis. Alongside the racing teams, it also runs Strakka Performance, providing professional racing drivers with bespoke programmes aimed at enhancing their on-track performance with dedicated track time and coaching in World Series by Renault cars. It has also created Zanardi Strakka Kart racing team and a Formula Renault 2.0 team, putting in place the building blocks to enable racing drivers to develop and refine their skills right from the start of their career, with a support infrastructure that goes beyond any typical racing team.


European Premiere of the Audio-Enriching HARMAN Clari-Fi Technology in the new Lexus NX

Lexus NX_Clari-fiThe audio industry has experienced a dramatic shift from vinyl LPs and CDs to compressed, digital files enabling the sharing of music across a variety of mobile devices as well as streaming music services increasingly accessed found in today’s vehicles. The compression process has made audio more mobile than ever, but at the price of audio quality. Compressing audio files can discard up to 90 percent of the original audio content captured in the studio. As a result, consumers cannot experience music in the way the artist originally intended. Clari-Fi transforms the listening experience back to a pre-compression era, by addressing this deterioration of audio quality by restoring what has been lost, to deliver a rich, uncompromised listening experience from any compressed music source.

“We are proud to continue our 13-year partnership with Lexus, and excited that the new NX vehicle, which will be the first automobile in the world to feature Clari-Fi, will also be available on the European market” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, HARMAN. “Clari-Fi is a significant technological advancement that transforms the listening experience for the millions of people who don’t want to sacrifice quality for the convenience of downloaded and streaming digital music. At HARMAN, we develop technologies that help recording artists realize their vision. We also want consumers to experience the music the way it was intended – whether at home, on the go or in the car. Now, drivers with the Lexus NX Mark Levinson surround sound system will have an unparalleled listening experience with the breakthrough Clari-Fi solution from HARMAN.”

Unlike other solutions in the market today, Clari-Fi does not simply add equalization and boost bass, or focus only on leveraging high-resolution file formats on a proprietary device. HARMAN’s approach with Clari-Fi analyzes digital audio signals in real time and rebuilds them during playback. It does not mask the effects of heavy compression by adding new effects, but instead uses an algorithm to put back what is lost during the compression process. The result? High-quality audio from compressed digital files from any playback source – including the car.

“Consumers today demand that their cars function as a place where they can stay connected to their digital lives,” said Thilo Koslowski, Vice President and Automotive Practice Leader, Gartner. “As vehicles continue to offer greater connectivity and streaming capabilities, the use of digitalized audio formats will rise and with it consumers’ desire for unprecedented in-vehicle audio experiences.”

The Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System in the Lexus NX incorporates Clari-Fi technology across 14 speakers in 12 locations, carefully designed and located strategically throughout the vehicle cabin, to create an optimum listening experience. Powered by a 10-channel ML5 amplifier, the 835-watt audio system delivers the highest quality audio experience to driver and passengers alike.

Clari-Fi technology is already featured in HARMAN’s JBL Authentics Series wireless home entertainment sound systems and will be incorporated into a range of Home, Multimedia, and Automotive products in the coming year.

A demonstration of Clari-Fi is available http://www.clarifisound.com/