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DENSO shows its thermal management expertise

DENSO opens the doors on its motorsport programme with Toyota Gazoo Racing, as it reveals the challenges associated with efficient thermal management in the high-pressure environment of the World Rally Championship
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In a recent video produced in association with Toyota Gazoo Racing view here, DENSO shows why it’s among the world’s leading original equipment (OE) component manufacturers, as it works alongside its motorsport partner, to ensure the ultimate performance of the Toyota Yaris rally car, as it tackles the extremes of temperature and the physical demands of various surfaces it competes on.

“Heat management is always a balancing act because of the range of temperatures, altitudes and different conditions we see in the sport of rally,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing Technical Director, Tom Fowler. “So, we need to develop a car with the minimum number of different parts that, because of the technical regulations, can be adapted to all of the conditions we will see during the hugely variable special stages throughout the season.”

Therefore, the programme has not been the work of a moment and began at Rally Mexico in 2017, where the principal challenge facing the team and its partners, including DENSO’s engineers, was to overcome the severe overheating problems the car was experiencing at this first, very hot event.

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However, this challenge highlighted the strength of the relationship between the team and DENSO and the depth of the technical knowledge of DENSO’s engineers, as together, they were able to find the necessary solutions to allow both the driver and co-pilot to come back stronger as the events passed.

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Much of the development work was undertaken at the DENSO Thermal Systems R&D facility in Italy, where, with the benefit of a full-scale wind tunnel, which can be varied to represent the intense cold of Finland to the merciless heat of the Sahara, the DENSO technical team could put into practice its ethos of continuous improvement and, as R&D Director, Matteo Biglia puts it: “where every small improvement counts and where working well under pressure, with the tenacity never to give up, allows us to learn to develop the qualities that we pick up and which we try to reflect in our everyday work.”

Matteo biglia

This attitude resonates with the needs of the rally team because, as Tom reiterates: “In the rally car this is extremely important to us because we have a lot of systems which are creating heat and that needs to be dissipated, so that we can keep all of the components in the car running at their optimum temperature and that means the systems can run reliably, but also to their maximum performance and efficiency.”

In 2022, the pressures on thermal management have become yet more challenging as the process also needs to cool the vehicle’s complex hybrid system. This requires the internal airflows to be managed for the maximum efficiency because maintaining the battery at the correct temperature, whatever the ambient temperature, is key to maximising performance.

“Cooling a very powerful internal combustion engine combined with the hybrid powertrain is something that we do every day for our hybrids and plug in hybrid applications,” Biglia adds, “but packaging so much cooling power into such tight space? This is where we are really forced to find new solutions, which we can then transform into more compact, efficient, and lighter applications, for our mass production customers.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Project Manager, Power Train, Norio Aoki, sums up the collective approach in a simple, but powerful statement: “We believe this is an opportunity for continuous development by looking for something better and, if we think we’ve reached the best configuration, the next step is to look for better than the best!”

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“The example set by DENSO’s engineers and the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, is a reflection of the level of commitment that DENSO as a corporation puts into its business relationships and product development,” explains DENSO Europe, Pan European Strategic Marketing Manager, Fatiha Laauich.

“This professionalism and dedication to OE quality is also carried over into DENSO’s aftermarket programme, which means that technicians and workshops serving the independent service and repair sector, can have complete confidence in the replacement components supplied by the company’s distributors across Europe.”

Further details of the DENSO Aftermarket programme are available online at: www.denso-am.eu