The Transaxle Conundrum

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Audi Transaxle

One of the most enduring motor sport engine and gearbox configurations is the ‘North-South’ mid-engine layout with a transaxle mounted behind the motor. For a manufacturer or a well-funded race team, designing a purpose built or high-end transaxle is not a difficult decision to make. For those of us on limited budgets or ‘green field’ design ability, we are left to pick through the second hand market for something suitable. The biggest limitation for most transaxles available is the ability to take the sort of power even standard modern engines produce. The next problem is whether they can be adapted to suit the intended purpose. Some can have the diff ‘flipped’ to reverse the direction of drive, and others can’t. The intention of this article is to explore the common options in the marketplace, and to develop an on-going resource as the marketplace changes over the years.

This resource will be updated as new information comes to hand. This information has been accumulated from internet searches, forums and in rare instances where manufacturers have provided data. Some of the more difficult data is physical dimensions and the amount of torque they are rated to survive. We will gladly update this resource with information from our readers!  Take a copy of the attached Excel file, add your own data and we will update this page once the information has been verified.


The Toybaru Twins

The sports coupe for a new generation? Already being compared with the E30 M3, the FT86/BRZ will soon hit Australia’s tracks and hills.

(First printed in Issue 31, Nov 2011) The Toyota FT86 and Subaru BRZ twins have hit the Australian sports car market like a small tornado, selling out in a very short amount of time and selling even more hype in the process. I think you would have to have been hiding under a large rock not to have been buffeted by the amount of media puffery.


Ron’s Fast Blast – The Synergy Dallara

The F3 car no more, Ron Hay’s new hill climber simply has more of everything! More rubber, more downforce and a lot more power!

Words: Neil Roshier and Ron Hay

Just like Peter Brock, Ron Hay built his first car using Austin 7 mechanicals, when he was 16 years of age. By his own admission it was not pretty and it did not work very well, but it did the job and helped Ron develop a passion for cars that continues this very day. Ron’s passion for building cars focused on making them go fast and he maintained a long interest in hillclimbs, building several very successful cars including the “Bowin Hay” for Barrie Garner, a Leyland P76 V8 engined Bowin P6 and the “R.H. Honda” using a supercharged Honda CBX 6 cylinder motor.


Commodore Late

Damien Milano’s Late Model Commodore corners flat for such a heavy car.

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

Some cars are just things, a tool for getting from one place to another. It’s difficult then to explain why some other cars are more than simple transport, why their function as a tool for transport then becomes a tool for unlocking a connection between car and owner. Damien Milano first started driving this blue HSV Commodore when it was brand new, straight from the show room floor. For the first few years it reliably roared its way from home to work until one day, as such days happen for company cars, it was time to be traded in. The Commodore must have done its job well and not just the job of transport, it must have forged some attachment or connection. When the time came to part, Damien took the plunge to buy it rather than let it go.


Commodore Early

Jason Frankhauser’s VK Commodore trades off a better power to weight ratio than the Late Models.

Words: Neil Roshier Action Images: Howard Shearing

Jason Fankhauser’s VK Commodore is a iconic shape for Australian motorsport, being associated with Peter Brock and Bathurst in the heydays of both. For such a shape, Jason has chosen a paint scheme that mimics the period feel of the car. To go along with this classic feel is the alloy cage, which is a give-away as to the age of this particular Commodore as alloy cages have not been allowed in a new build for a long time. To cut a long story short, this particular Commodore is Peter Lawrence’s old car. For those unfamiliar with Peter’s name, he was the Australian Confederation of Motor Sport’s (CAMS) Technical Services Manager for quite some time employee and naturally he knew his way around a car.


Goodwood Daze

Using all the track and more is easier with a Citroen rally car!

Words and Images: Chris Porter

I am certain that if one was to compile the motorsport bucket-lists from a wide range of motoring enthusiasts then there would be certain events which would repeatedly crop up: 24 Heures du Mans, Nürburgring, Spa, Laguna Seca, Bathurst, Pikes Peak, Monaco F1, and undoubtedly Goodwood.


2013 Snowy Mountains 1000

Photographs by Joanne Hansor

A different kind of drag race

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The Hi Tec Oils Snowy Mountains 1000 is a one kilometre drag race held annually over two days at the Cooma Airport in New South Wales. 2013 was the second year of the event; one of only three of its kind in the country. While drag racing is one of the very few forms of motorsport not covered by Race Magazine, the variety of cars that attend make it a very interesting and fun event. There are not too many times one can simply wind the car out to see what it will do. Lining up behind exotic supercars such as the Ferrari 458 Italia of Sebastian Giampaolo, Lamborghini Gallardo of James Hodge and Adam Kaplan’s Pagani Zonda C12S (the only one in Australia) is a multitude of sports sedans, drift cars and modified street cars. Surprisingly the one genre of competitive vehicles that was barely represented was drag cars!


Master Stroke

Derek Bennett and his Chevron cars would have been disparaged by Enzo Ferrari, who had famously referred to British F1 teams as garagista – garage owners. Of course this statement, made in Ferrari’s typical manner, blithely overlooked Ferrari’s own modest beginnings. But even so, Ferrari’s description was entirely accurate, as Derek Bennet had the most humble of beginnings in the unfashionable north of Britain, in Bolton, far away from what was rapidly becoming the UK’s ‘motorsport valley’.


The Surprise Package

Normally I would expect a Toyota Yaris to be full of young women madly texting their friends and squealing about something, or I might expect it to be driven very slowly around the local shopping centre car park as an octogenarian looks for a car park. I did not expect to see a Toyota Yaris lifting wheels as it ran the kerbs across the top of Mount Panorama!


A Faster Fiesta

What do you race when you’re the manager of V8 Race Experience running a fleet of V8 Commodores on race tracks around Australia? A Ford Fiesta of course!

The Duratec powered Ford Fiesta XR4 did not make the impact locally that Ford Australia hoped, with the hot hatch market topped by French cars and the public distracted by AWD turbocharged Japanese cars and the large performance cars in Australia, the worthy Fiesta made a small splash in a big pond.


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