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Ralt's New F3-99 Debut On MIRA's Autosport Stand

Ralt, one of the best-known single-seat race car manufacturers, today unveiled its newest car on the MIRA stand at the Autosport International show [NEC, Birmingham, 7 January 1999] . The Ralt F3-99 embraces significant changes designed to put the company back on the F3 winner’s rostrum.

Like many manufacturers, Ralt turned to MIRA for help in its bid to design and develop the best car for the job. Specifically, Ralt looked to MIRA’s world-renowned Fluid Dynamics Department to achieve the optimum aerodynamic shape of the new car.

MIRA’s help came in the form of consultancy, a model wind tunnel development programme and advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling using extremely powerful computers and the newest software available.

Even today the aerodynamic development programme continues in MIRA’s wind tunnels. The unending quest to seek those extra fractions of a second on the track makes all the difference between a winner and the rest of the field.

In addition, MIRA’s Body & Safety Engineering Group will be conducting crash tests on the new Ralt F3-99 to establish the integrity of the tub/cockpit structure. MIRA’s tests are carried out to the prescribed FIA standards.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, Ralt dominated the F3 scene. However, with the company concentrating solely on the Toyota Atlantic Championship in the USA, its presence in F3 disappeared. But Steve Ward, owner of Ralt, said the F3-99 was designed to compete head-on with Dallara in Formula 3 who had assumed the all-conquering mantle once held by his cars.

"With a change in regulations for cars in 1999, now seemed the right time to get back into F3," said Mr Ward. "The playing field has been somewhat levelled and, with the entirely new gearbox/drivetrain arrangement we have designed, we are very optimistic.

"The gearbox is 120mm shorter than a conventional unit which improves weight distribution and has enabled us to design a very efficient diffuser that is easily adjustable from low downforce for fast circuits to high downforce for tight tracks. Much of the development of the diffuser was carried out with MIRA."

Mr Ward said that even a quick look at the rear end of the new Ralt F3-99 would leave no-one in any doubt about the significant design advances.

"It is dramatically different and unique."

The gearbox is designed to handle 300bhp-plus making it adaptable for other formulae such as 2-litre Sportcars and Hillclimb. Customers will have the option of sequential gearchange.

Ralt has made great efforts to keep the car neat, simple and as uncluttered as possible. The company readily accepted MIRA’s invitation to reveal the car on its stand at the Autosport International exhibition.

Paul Atkin, Engineering Manager of MIRA’s Fluids Group, said:

"We were delighted that Steve Ward accepted our invitation to debut the Ralt F3-99 on our stand because it graphically illustrates the way in which MIRA is able to assist customers across the complete spectrum of motorsport.

"You don’t have to be a Formula 1 team with mega budgets in order to avail yourself of the benefits of good aerodynamic development. MIRA has, of course, worked for a number of F1 teams. But it has also helped F3000 teams such as Arden Motorsport International, F3 constructors such as Ralt and even Clubmen. Some club racers manage to obtain the ultimate in cost-effective results by participating in special shared sessions in the full-scale aerodynamic wind tunnel."

The F3-99 displayed at the Autosport International show was completed, on schedule, just a few days before today’s official unveiling. After tub/cockpit crash-testing at MIRA, the next milestone is track testing which is currently scheduled for the end of January.

For further information contact:
Keith R Read, Corporate PR Manager - MIRA
Tel: +44 (0)1203 355455 (direct) Fax: +44 (0)1203 355050

Steve Ward - Ralt Engineering Ltd
Tel: 01865 883354 Fax: 01865 883789

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CWN / Motoring / Newswire / MIRA / 7 Jan 99

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