Engine bay with heat shield

1972 Lotus Elan +2 gets a thermal upgrade

One of our customers, Jamie, a member of the MRC (Mazda Rotary Club) and Worcester Car Club embarked on an amazingly unique build 5 years ago, on his 1972 Lotus Elan +2.

26/01/23
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It now sits on a bespoke backbone chassis running Mazda RX8 suspension all round, with raised suspension pick up points to lower the car without altering the geometry. The body has been extensively modified for lightness and to accept the extra track width, but more importantly aerodynamics. The engine is a freshly rebuilt and mildly tuned Renesis rotary engine and gearbox, with the usual LSD out back.

Jamie Roberts 1
Where do we fit in?

Jamie is targeting and overall weight of 750kg (without driver) for the build, which is around 150kg lighter than stock. As well as 240bhp compared to the original 130bhp. As you can imagine, rotarys run extremely hot in comparison to a conventional piston engine, firing 6 times per crank revolution. This is where Zircotec’s expertise is needed, as his Renesis runs at around 870°C, which could not only pose a fire risk, but also operational issues when all those glowing red exhaust pipes are running close to a fibreglass composite body. To remedy this issue, Jamie opted for a Solid Black Ceramic Coating from our Performance Colours™ Range, applied onto his 3-cylinder manifold, where it will aid surface temperature reductions by up to 33%, and can operate up to 900°C (1,650°F). With our coatings adding minimal thickness (only 0.3mm!) and weight, it’s the perfect solutions for a build that accounts for each and every gram, and has to conform to extremely tight spaces within the bodywork.

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In addition to Ceramic Coating his manifold, Jamie also applied our ZircoFlex® FORM and ZircoFlex® III GOLD offset ceramic heat shields within the engine bay, where naturally heat was an issue. The car’s exhausts start from down low, but due to space constraints, come up past the intake manifold, round the back of the engine and through the inner wing on the other side, then down an exhaust tunnel along the passenger side. Applying ZircoFlex® GOLD and FORM around the bodywork helps keep in-cabin temperature cool, reducing heat soak through footwells and bulkheads, as well as protecting the bodywork itself from heat degradation. ZircoFlex® III GOLD is a flexible and thin ceramic heat shield that can be easily applied via 3M™ adhesive backing. This makes it ideal for the complex geometries of the Lotus’ fibreglass body, offering up to 85% heat reduction with 98% heat reflectivity. Whereas ZircoFlex® FORM offers the ability to form structural heat shields, to effectively protect engine bay components and bodywork from the extreme heat from engine and exhaust. Both products provide high thermal performance yet extremely thin and lightweight.

1 Jamie Roberts

Jamie added, ” I’m a great believer in you get what you pay for, and whilst Zircotec’s prices are not the cheapest on the market, well you pay for the premium product and all that technology and research needs to be recouped for. I’ve known people in the race car scene who say, don’t waste your money buying the cheaper stuff, you’ll pay twice in the long run. Get the best from the get go.”

We’re very excited to see how this Lotus runs when he finishes the build, having a rotary engine mounted in a carbon-fibre reinforced polymer car is really one of a kind!