American auto enthusiasts might not be familiar with Romanian manufacturer Dacia, which was bought by Renault in 1999 to serve the Eastern European market and to build cheap vehicles for the general European market.
As part of the brand’s motorsport marketing, it has competed in the Andros Trophy ice racing series for a number of years. And for the 2011/2012 season, it has prepared an ice (French: glace) version of its new Lodgy MPV.
The company has entered two cars and recruited former F1 world Champion, Alain Prost as well as his son Nicolas Prost and Evens Stievenart.
The first round of the winter championship will be held on 3-4 December at Val Thorens in France. This will be one of the first public outings for the new Lodgy, which won’t be officially unveiled to the public in its road-going form until the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.
Prost has raced with the Dacia factory before, finishing as runner-up in the 2010 and 2011 Trophée Andros at the wheel of a Dacia Duster Glace – the ice-racing version of Dacia’s Duster SUV model.
The second Lodgy Glace will be shared by his son, Nicolas Prost and Evens Stievenart, who was Alain's team-mate and joint winner of last year’s Superfinal at the Stade de France, Paris.
The Lodgy Glace has been designed specifically for the unique racing series, which is renowned as one of the most challenging in motorsport.
The technical regulations impose restrictions on all aspects of the vehicle, including the materials employed. Everything is done to limit the use of complex and costly components: Instead, the series is about finding simple, ingenious solutions, so is seen as a good fit for Dacia. It also highlights the car‘s reliability and requires the drivers to have tremendous skill.
Like all top-class ice-racers, the Lodgy Glass will use four-wheel drive and a clever four-wheel steering system to help control the cars in tight, slippery conditions. They’re powered by a 340hp 3.0L V6; in this case it’s the VQ 30 production engine created in combination by Renault and Nissan as part of its ongoing technical collaboration.
The car was prepared by Tork Engineering (design, production, assembly) and Sodemo (engine). It also benefits from the expertise of Renault Sport Technologies (RST), which has contributed its technical and sporting expertise.
As a result, the new Lodgy Glace draws on both the proven technical solutions of the Dacia Duster Glace, as well as specific developments for the new car. On the technical front, for example, track conditions from last year were replayed on a four-post rig at the CERAM test circuit in France. This helped them to develop and evaluate new suspension set-ups based on the new steering calibration.
Furthermore, the engine has been developed to produce more peak power than last year’s entrant.
DACIA LODGY GLACE – TECH SPEC
Type: tubular steel.
Suspension: double wishbones; adjustable Öhlins integrated springs/damper units
Type: VQ 30 developed from the Renault-Nissan V6 24v.
Cubic capacity: 2987cc. Bore x
Maximum power: 355hp at 7500rpm.
Maximum torque: 256 lb/ft at 5500rpm
Type: four-wheel drive.
Transmission: SADEV six-speed sequential.
Differentials: limited-slip front and rear
Front: 300mm diameter steel discs.
Rear: 265mm steel discs.
Calipers: Beringer four-piston
Rims: 5.5’x16’’ magnesium.
Tires: Continental Ice Racing Contact 3
Type: four-wheel steering. Hydraulic power steering. Cam-adjustable rear steering
THE TROPHEE ANDROS
The Trophée Andros was first organized in 1990. The technical regulations specify that the bodyshell of the vehicle should reflect that a production car. Most technical components of the car are defined by the regulations: tubular chassis, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, 3-liter V6 engine developing around 340hp, six-speed transmission and Continental Ice Racing Contact 3 tires.
A round of the Trophée Andros consists of two days of racing. On the first day, timed practice (no points awarded) is followed by two qualifying rounds. The cars (four per race) compete over four timed laps. The cumulative time over the four laps determines the winner of the round. Only the best of the two heats counts. The performance demonstrated during these heats fix the order that counts for 80% of the points, and forms the grid for the finals.
On the second day, the finals are races with ten cars over ten laps and count for 20% of the points.
2011/2012 Trophée Andros calendar
December 3-4: Val Thorens
December 9-10: Andorra
December 16-17: L’Alpe d’Huez
January 6-7: Isola 2000
January 13-14: Lans en Vercors
January 20-21: Saint Dié des Vosges
January 27-28: Superfinal Clermont/Superbesse