Citroën DS3 supercar sports carbon/aramid composite body panels

The 600-hp speedster driven by former World Rally Champion Peter Solberg in the 2013 European Rallycross Championships, features 11 vacuum-infused composite body panels made with Crestapol 1250LV urethane acrylic resin from Scott Bader Co. Ltd. (Northamptonshire, U.K).

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The former World Rally Champion, Petter Solberg, is currently competing in the 2013 European Rallycross Championships with a customized 600-hp Citroën DS3 supercar outfitted with new lightweight carbon/Kevlar composite body panels. The new lightweight FRP composite parts were designed and manufactured by motorsport composite specialists Galway Carbon (Galway, Ireland). Each of the 11 new composite body panels for Solberg’s Citroën DS3 was vacuum-infused, using Scott Bader Co. Ltd.'s (Northamptonshire, U.K.) Crestapol 1250LV urethane acrylate-type acrylic resin. To further reduce weight, a foam core was also used in the bonnet.

Original pressed steel body panels, such as the nearside door, bonnet and the boot were replaced with the infused carbon/Kevlar composite components, reducing individual part weights by 82 to as much as 89 percent in the case of the boot. The original steel boot weighed 16 kg/35.3 lb compared to only 1.8 kg/4 lb for the new composite boot. The composite door panel, which weighs only 2.9 kg/6.4 lb, including the inner frame, replaced the original 20 kg/44.1 lb nearside steel door, making a further 17.1 kg/37.7 lb weight savings.

There were also a number of originally fitted GRP parts on the Citroën DS3 rally version. These also were replaced with similar carbon/Kevlar parts which, according to Galway Carbon, are significantly stiffer, stronger and more than 50 percent lighter than the original GRP body parts. The largest carbon/Kevlar panel fabricated was the front bumper (surface area ~1.75m2 or ~18.84 ft2) which Galway Carbon managed to redesign, reaching a weight of only 2.17 kg/4.78 lb. Overall, the new lightweight body parts reduced the DS3’s original 1,200 kg/2,646 lb curb weight by more than 56 kg/123.5 lb — a large margin in the European Rallycross Championships, where every kilogram counts.

Galway Carbon, based in Oranmore, Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland, was started in 2009 by co-owners Brian Grealish and Sean Hession. Both are motorsports enthusiasts who compete in Irish car rallying races when time and budget allows. Reprotedly, they have built a global customer base, which includes leading rally drivers, and today Galway Carbon has an established  reputation as an innovative fabricator and supplier of high-quality, lightweight carbon composite parts for rally, race, fast road and nonmotoring applications, including one-off moldings and specialist repair work.

Crestapol 1250LV acrylic resin was selected by Galway Carbon in preference to an epoxy infusion resin due to a combination of faster processability, reliable application performance in use and lower costs. There are several reasons why we chose Crestapol 1250LV." says Hession. "The resin‘s mechanical performance is exceptional, combining the strength and durability needed to reliably cope with harsh rally car racing conditions. From the processing side, it is extremely good for vacuum infusion, with very rapid cycle times at room temperature which is way ahead of any comparative epoxies, and the surface finish is excellent. The final reason is that overall. Crestapol has proved to be more cost-effective than any epoxy resin we have ever used as we don’t need to do any oven curing.”

Hession went on to say: "We have now started using Crestapol 1250LV for a number of our existing products where we have always used epoxies before, and we plan to use it for many more new racing car body panels and other applications."

The vast majority of components are fabricated by Galway Carbon using vacuum infusion, with the emphasis being on using the best raw materials and consumable products available and the latest infusion techniques to ensure the quality, finish and consistency of their products.  For a number of years now, Scott Bader Ireland has been their preferred resin supplier. All of their closed molding consumables are supplied through East Coast Fibreglass Supplies Ltd. (Tyne and Wear, U.K.).

For more information abput the complete range of available Crestapol resins, visit Scot Bader's Websites: http://www.crestapol.com or http://www.scottbader.com.

To find out more about Galway Carbon visit www.galwaycarbon.com.