Preparing rounded future professionals for the demands of motorsport is often best achieved through a mixture of education and experience. Hence Oxford Universities Motorsport Foundation (OUMF) offers exactly these sorts of opportunities to young people, running a multitude of classic cars in some of the world’s most prestigious racing events. Motorsport isn’t kind to vehicle components though, so when the OUMF required a new racing exhaust for its Mercedes 380 SL rally car project, the UK’s largest manufacturer of aftermarket exhausts, Klarius Products Ltd, was ready to offer a solution.
Classic rallying doesn’t only take place on pre-prepared stages: reflecting the sport’s origins, competitors are required to drive from stage to stage on public roads. This means that rally car exhaust systems must combine high performance with a certain level of on-road refinement. Furthermore, sourcing an exhaust replacement for a classic car is inherently challenging and often prohibitively expensive. Luckily, Klarius Products has expertise in producing bespoke exhaust systems for a wide variety of vehicle applications and was able to meet the requirements of the OUMF.
The OUMF was able to reach Klarius thanks to an existing supply relationship with FPS Distribution, a specialist in delivering wholesale products to retailers and motor factors nationwide. FPS offers the full range of Klarius products for road cars, but the rally car exhaust would be anything but standard.
Doug Bentley, Head of Research and Development at Klarius, describes the project: “A racing exhaust requires a bespoke approach, which thanks to our extensive on-site research and testing facilities, we could fulfil. We have supplied exhaust components for rally cars before and currently supply several track-based race series, so we leveraged this experience to deliver a custom system to exactly meet OUMF’s requirements.”
Klarius engineers designed a high-flow exhaust system, producing the finished item using mandrel bending to allow optimum flow of exhaust gases through the pipe. To ensure that noise was within acceptable levels, Klarius tested the fitted exhaust at its dedicated test track facilities, which are usually utilised to confirm the legislative compliance of its road going products. The end result was an exhaust that fitted the car seamlessly, offered optimum racing performance and delivered an acceptable level of on road manners.
Doug continues: “We provided a factory tour and provided a training session for the OUMF students as well, which highlighted the growing complexity of the exhaust system. We are an accredited Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) training centre for vehicle emissions control systems, so we were happy to take the chance to further educate a group of future engineers and motorsport enthusiasts on the latest emission control system technology. It was also a privilege to support a car that has real rallying heritage.”
Klarius offers over 10,000 exhausts, catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and accessories to distributors in the UK and Europe, with the entire range available for multiple same day deliveries via FPS Distribution.