Ansible Motion’s chief designer shortlisted for BEEAS Awards


Bob Stevens

Hethel’s Bob Stevens selected as finalist for prestigious British Engineering Excellence Awards

Hethel-based design engineer Bob Stevens has reached the finalist stage of the British Engineering Excellence Awards. Stevens, a designer at leading simulator manufacturer Ansible Motion, located at the Hethel Engineering Centre, was nominated for the coveted British Design Engineer of the Year award.

The award, now in its sixth year, recognises engineers capable of creating innovative designs within strict commercial limits. Stevens was responsible the concept design, R&D and product development of Ansible Motion’s driver-in-the-loop simulators that are increasingly relied upon by car makers and motorsport teams around the world. The company recently opened its R&D Centre at its base at the Hethel Engineering Centre. The award also seeks to recognise engineers who work to promote engineering in the broader community. Since 2009, Stevens has mentored groups of Year 9 (13-14 year old) and Year 12 (16-17 year old) schoolchildren under the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) programme as well as hosting multiple work experience placements for schoolchildren looking to learn about design and manufacturing.

“It is a real privilege to get to the finalist stage,” says Stevens. “It is great that the awards also seek to recognise the importance of promoting the value of engineering to future generations. Facilities such as Hethel act as an incubator for technologies such as our Driver-in-the-Loop simulators and it’s equally important we nurture young talent in the same way.”

The winners will be announced at a gala lunch at the Hurlingham Club, London, on 29th October.


Falken Motorsports continues Nürburgring success with second place in VLN

Falken scorches to another podium in searing temperatures

Falken VLN Nürburgring2

Peter Dumbreck and Alexandre Imperatori defied temperatures well above 35°C to finish second at the fourth round of the VLN series this weekend.

After a light collision in qualifying necessitated replacing the steering rack during the session, Alexandre Imperatori grabbed sixth place on the grid in dying moments of the session.

Heat was a major issue during the race with cockpit temperatures reaching 70°C, as ambient temperatures exceeded 35°C. A flying opening stint from Alexandre Imperatori saw him snatch the lead on the opening lap. After six laps, shortened due to the high cockpit temperatures, he handed over to Dumbreck, who himself was also suffering with a wrist pain as a result of the practice incident.

As the track temperatures passed 50°C, Falken was able to secure fastest lap with an 8:12.920 minutes and after four hours’ racing the team got its second podium in as many races.

The weekend success follows Falken’s victory at Watkins Glen last weekend where the US team scored a class victory in its Porsche. The weekend also saw Falken’s drift teams win events in Sweden and the UK, culminating a successful week for the Japanese tyre manufacturer.


Falken VLN Nürburgring

Zircotec secures further volume OEM orders for motorcycle-specific exhaust coatings

Aesthetic and durability characteristics see ceramic finish selected over paint for two new special edition European market motorcycles.

bike exhaustPlasma-spray specialist Zircotec has secured a further two key orders for its Endurance Range ceramic coating developed for motorcycles. Applied using Zircotec’s proprietary process, the improved durability and aesthetic attributes have led to two orders of over 2,000 units, highlighting the increases in capacity the firm has achieved in the past 18 months.

“Motorcycle manufacturers have come to Zircotec seeking contemporary exhaust finishes that will last,” adds sales director Peter Whyman. “Enquiries from the sector are up threefold in the past year. Chrome can look dated and quickly tarnishes whilst paint can’t withstand the heat cycling experienced on exhausts. Our ceramic exhaust coating not only passes stringent OEM durability tests but we can offer a range of different colours and textures that complement today’s styling trends.  With surface temperature reductions of close to 25 percent and an extremely robust finish, our heat resistant coating has added appeal for motorcycle applications.”

manufacturing imageInvestment of over £250,000 in the last 18 months has enabled the Oxfordshire firm to expand capacity and handle the higher-volume demanded by OEMs, with batches of 500 parts per week regularly being processed for one motorcycle OEM. “Our flexible process means we can now handle OEM quantities, making it ideal for motorcycle manufacturers looking to offer differentiation, perhaps for a special edition or limited run,” adds Whyman.

The firm now offers four colours with the option of different textures providing something exclusive for OEMs needing a differentiator. “The range is expanding and we are able to create derivatives so OEMs can even have a bespoke finish for themselves.”

Tom Harris announces Sprint Car campaign in the US

Brit commits to Bob East chassis for multi race campaign through the summer


Leading British stock car driver Tom Harris will make his race debut in Sprint Cars, the US’ most prestigious short oval category this summer. Harris, 26, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, has purchased a front running Bob East chassis to tackle three events (Gas City, Jul 10th, Kokomo Jul 11th and Lawrenceburg Jul 12th) in the USAC Sprint Week in the Amsoil National Sprint Championship before returning in late July/August to compete in a further six events. The switch to US racing follows Harris’ successful debut in the lower Midget category in January and marks the first time in the modern era that a British driver has entered the Sprint Car category that regularly sees top drivers from NASCAR and Indycars.

“We talked at the start of the year about making the switch to racing in the US as the best way to progress my career. We’ve won pretty much everything we can here in the UK and had to stop talking about and just do it,” says Harris. “This is a major commitment from Tom Harris Motorsport and my supporters including J Davidson, Neil Stuchbury Motors R&C Metals, Carbody, PRG Utilities, Elan PR and Lucas Oils to make this happen. After working well with Bob East at the Chili Bowl, it was the right move to continue that relationship and we will run the car with a British crew from his workshop. There is a lot to learn but with Bob guiding us, we will get to grips with it quickly.”


Harris will return to the UK during the summer to qualify for the BriSCA F1 stock car World Final and will continue to support his UK customers but ultimately sees a brighter future in the US. “From the test in late 2014 and then the Chili Bowl, we’ve seen the huge opportunities available to forge a professional career in the US,” adds Harris. “We’ve reached the limit in what we can do build-wise with the cars in UK and we have won nearly every title as a driver or constructor. Now we move on and take on the best the rest of the world has to offer.”

Falken ZIEX ZE914 ECORUN tyre available for new Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V will be rolling out across European showrooms this summer, with the option to order the new compact SUV equipped with Falken tyres.

Customers who prefer a sportier look for their Honda HR-V wheels can choose the ZIEX ZE914 ECORUN 225/45R18 91W as an option.

The Falken ZIEX ZE914 ECORUN provides excellent grip, low rolling noise, improved rolling resistance and excels with its sports performance and economy.

“We are very pleased that the Falken ZIEX ZE914 ECORUN is being made available as an option for the market introduction of the Honda HR-V. This is further proof of the high quality and performance of our tyres,” explained Christian Stolting, Key Account Manager OE at Falken Tyre Europe.

This cooperation with Honda HR-V is the first partnership between Falken Tyre Europe and Honda Access Europe. Initial batches of tyres will be available for delivery as of June 2015.


Superb maiden podium for Malja at Hungaroring

Fantastic start to round seven sets Strakka Racing’s Formula Renault 3.5 rookie on course for impressive top three result

Gustav MaljaSwedish ace Gustav Malja took Strakka Racing back to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series podium at the Hungaroring near Budapest this afternoon, Sunday, 14th June, with a tremendous drive during race two of the weekend.

Having secured an impressive top 10 points scoring result during round six on Saturday, 13th June, after battling through from 20th on the grid following issues in qualifying, Malja starred in round seven to secure his first silverware in the ultra-competitive series.

Team-mate Tio Ellinas ended the fourth race meeting of the season with a best result of sixth place in round seven, a good end to the event after a challenging run on Saturday. He departs Hungary eighth in the standings with Malja an improved 11th.

“It’s been quite a good weekend,” said Malja, “First quali was terrible, starting from the very back, but I raced well to get back into the points.”

“Today was much better starting P6 and the race was fantastic, taking my first podium in World Series by Renault. Thanks to the team for a great job with the car which was really stable all race.”

Tio EllinasStarting sixth on the grid for race two, Malja made a sensational start to leap into fourth at Turn One and after positioning his car perfectly on the exit, he was able to grab third shortly after.

Matching the race leader’s pace during the first few laps, Malja then settled into a rhythm in third place and remained there to his pit-stop at the end of lap 11.

After great work from the pit-crew, Malja was able to emerge back in third and although coming under some pressure from Jazeman Jaafar with 15 minutes to run, the Strakka racer was unflustered during the rest of the race to take a superb maiden podium.

Ellinas, beginning the race in eighth, held position off the start and after challenging Jaafar for seventh at Turn One, on lap two he was able to gain the place on the run into the next left-hander.

Setting his sights next on Roberto Merhi – who, of course, also competes in Formula One with Manor Grand Prix – Ellinas piled on the pressure and was certainly the quicker of the two.

Rather than risk losing time behind Merhi, Strakka pitted Ellinas at the end of lap eight and after the stops had played out he had jumped Merhi. The Cypriot was, though, still in seventh due to Jaafar moving back ahead during the pit visits.

Remaining in seventh all the way to the chequered flag on lap 27, Ellinas was then elevated into sixth place at the conclusion due to a 10 second penalty for Pietro Fantin.

Saturday’s race delivered a very strong showing from Malja who was determined to hit back from the car problem which prevented him from setting a representative lap in qualifying.

Making excellent progress from 20th on the grid, the Swede had risen into the top 12 by lap 10 and reeled off rapid lap times as he swarmed all over the back of Nyck De Vries’ car at mid-distance.

Giving the Dutchman plenty to think about lap after lap, Malja made the breakthrough on lap 23 when he pressured De Vries into a mistake at Turn One. He then completed his climb into the top 10 just before the finish to cap a superb drive.

Ellinas, meanwhile, encountered contrasting fortunes to those of his team-mate and eventually ended race one in 17th position after an unfortunate drive-through penalty.

Starting in 10th position, the Cypriot made a good getaway but contact led to a slip back to 20th place. Battling back through to 14th by lap 12, after the penalty he eventually finished in 17th.

Frustratingly for Strakka, and the drivers, the results weren’t at all representative of their pace – Ellinas lapped with a best time just 0.1 seconds shy of fastest lap with Malja only 0.2 seconds outside the ultimate pace.

Reflecting on a mixed weekend, Ellinas said: “Saturday was a shame, getting hit on the first lap, but today was better. Qualifying wasn’t where I should be, to be honest, but it was a good race with good pit-stops from the team and decent points.”

Next on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series calendar is a visit to the Red Bull Ring in Austria over the weekend 11th/12th July.

Disappointment for Strakka Racing at Le Mans

nightime pits

Faultless drive through the night ended Sunday morning by gear shifting issue

A gear shifting issue led to the retirement on Sunday morning of Strakka Racing’s DOME S103 at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Drivers Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts had driven an impeccable race up until that point, surviving heavy contact from the Rebellion and climbing up to 7thin the ultra-competitive P2 class.

After the unscheduled pit stop to replace the rear tail and wing, the entire team pulled together to push the car back up the order. Seamless pit work from Strakka Racing’s mechanics and rapid driving from the all British line up, each beating their qualifying pace saw the new car, making its Le Mans debut and in only its third race, climb up the running order, just requiring fuel or tyres at each stop before the gear shifting issue stranded the car just after the Dunlop Bridge. Valiant efforts from Nick Leventis, together with members of the team that travelled to the car to provide what support they could, weren’t quite enough to get the car back to the pits to replace the parts Strakka had available, leading to a frustrating withdrawal with less than six hours left.

“Strakka Racing came to Le Mans, with its own car, developed and built in-house to demonstrate its capability and ambition,” says team principal Dan Walmsley. “The result today is a disappointing and unjustified return for the unstinting effort, pride and passion that each and every Strakka employee has given to bring this car to the grid. Since the start of this project, these guys have worked round the clock and at each stage when we’ve faced a problem, they have worked through it a professional way and it is heartbreaking we could not get this car to the finish. We need to and will come back here to get the result that they all deserve.”

Before returning to racing in the World Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring in August, Strakka Racing will test at the German track, continuing the development of the S103 on Dunlop tyres. “We made progress and all the drivers found time gains on the race over qualifying here at Le Mans,” adds Walmsley. “We are still finding time in the car and we will do all we can to be back at the sharp end.”

HARMAN Earns Record 144 Design Awards

Stamford Con - HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the premier audio, infotainment and software services company, is proud to announce a new record of product innovation and design awards for its home and multimedia products. Over the past two and a half years, HARMAN brands including JBL, Harman Kardon, AKG, and Mark Levinson have won 144 awards for 84 different products. Backed by strong consumer demand, with more than 10 million HARMAN portable audio products sold worldwide, this record of success makes HARMAN the champion award winner in the global consumer electronics industry.

“Getting the design exactly right is part of the HARMAN credo,” said Damian Mackiewicz, Vice President, Design for the Lifestyle Division. “It’s integral to ensuring that each of our products is a consistent, compelling reflection of the values that consumers expect from HARMAN brands: excellent performance, innovation and advanced technology, complemented by perfect styling. We know these values matter to consumers, so we’re enormously proud and delighted that our products are such consistent design winners.”

Marking excellence in innovation and design, HARMAN consistently receives industry recognition for its leading brands, including JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity, AKG and Yurbuds, among others. The company earned 13 Red Dot Awards, weeks after winning 15 iF Design Awards and nine prizes for innovation at the CES tradeshow in Las Vegas, adding to its already impressive collection of honours.

A few examples of this year’s wins include the following:

  • Red Dot Design: JBL led the charge and came in with five awards, including for the JBL GO wireless speaker. The Harman Kardon brand scored a triple win, including for the wireless HD audio system. AKG won two awards for its headphones.
  • iF Design Awards: Harman Kardon was the big winner, with the Esquire Mini, Soho Wireless, Omni Bar, wireless HD audio system and the packaging design all earning iF recognition. AKG headphones won four prizes, and JBL scored wins for the JBL GO, JBL Clip and JBL Synchros REFLECT BT earbuds.
  • CES Innovation Awards: The JBL Synchros REFLECT series garnered no fewer than three prizes, with other JBL products recognized including the Authentics L16 Spotify) and to the Mark Levinson brand for the No 585 integrated amplifier.

HARMAN’s product innovation and design approach is also scoring points with consumers. HARMAN recently reached the iconic landmark of 10 million unit sales of portable devices such as loudspeakers and headphones.

“We are proud of our achievements so far but this is just the beginning of great design from HARMAN and we are excited about what’s next,” says Mackiewicz. “With a steady stream of innovative products emerging from our R&D labs every year, we are committed to continuing this record of excellence.”

Strakka Racing ready for Le Mans race return

All-British line-up returns to La Sarthe for DOME S103′s Le Mans race debut



Following a trouble-free qualifying session, Strakka Racing heads into the Le Mans race weekend confident of the reliability of its DOME S103. Whilst still shy of the outright class pace, the team made progress with the car and Dunlop rubber, with Danny Watts and Nick Leventis who both drove during qualifying, declaring improvements in the car as the session progressed, thirty six years since DOME first appeared at La Sarthe in 1979.


“We have come safely through qualifying with no dramas or issues, exactly what we wanted ahead of a 24 hour race,” says technical director Jay Davenport. “Being closer to the front runners would have been our preference but we are experienced enough to know that Le Mans is a long race and a trouble-free and reliable run is what’s needed for a strong finish on Sunday. To date the car has demonstrated that it can do just that.”

“I got more seat time tonight, having not done the mandatory number of laps yesterday,” adds Danny Watts who starts his seventh Le Mans this weekend. “The changes we made improved the car as the session progressed. There’s more work to do for sure to be the head of P2 but it’s a long time until 3pm Sunday!”


Strakka Racing will start the race in 27th position of the 56 car field with the time of 3.42.237, competing against 18 other cars in the packed LMP2 field. “With such a large field, it’s going to be a competitive and hard fought category,” adds Nick Leventis. “It’s good to be back after missing last year and we hope we can reward the fans, friends and team that continue support us so passionately with a result on Sunday.”

HARMAN Completes Acquisition of Bang & Olufsen’s Automotive Audio Business

STAMFORD, Conn. – HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (NYSE:HAR), the leading global infotainment, audio and software services company, today announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Bang & Olufsen Automotive car audio business. Bang & Olufsen branded audio products are available in a wide range of Audi, Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz car models.

“The additions of Bang & Olufsen and B&O PLAY as distinctive and renowned brands will complement our existing premium branded offerings and strengthen HARMAN’s position as a leader in this segment,” said Dinesh C. Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO. “With this acquisition we are continuing HARMAN’s drive to offer our customers the strongest portfolio of brands and technologies.”

Bang & Olufsen Automotive is well-established as an exclusive brand delivering outstanding sound quality through its unique capabilities within acoustics, design and craftsmanship. In addition to the company’s signature design excellence, its systems incorporate the radical synthesis of emotional appeal and technological performance that represent the hallmark of Bang & Olufsen. HARMAN now will bring its global marketing, scale and technologies to the Bang & Olufsen and B&O PLAY car audio brands to strengthen and grow the business.

HARMAN brands are in more than 25 million cars, and the Bang & Olufsen and the B&O PLAY brands will join HARMAN’s portfolio of car audio brands, including Bowers & Wilkins®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®.

For further information please contact:


Nicole Mehr

Director Corporate Affairs and Communications

Phone: 49-7248-71-1272

[email protected]