Walero Ambassador Harry Hunt finishes 4th in the 2016 Silk Way Rally!
Easily tougher than this year’s Dakar, the 2016 Silk Way Rally was unique in its length, surface variety and in part, altitude. Totalling 10,735 kilometres from start to finish, the route snaked through some of the most diverse, jaw-dropping landscapes in all the earth, from Moscow to Beijing featuring stints through Balkhash; home to one of the largest lakes in Asia, and Dunhuang; an ancient Buddhist city resting at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert.
During the 16-day rally, Hunt and his co-driver Andreas Schulz fought hard for their finishing position after a tough start left them 40 minutes behind. Despite that, just five days into the race, Harry covered a whopping 820 kilometres in one day and managed to make up a staggering 20 places. Then, only three days before race finish, competitor, Sebastien Loeb, dropped two hours after a penalty, leaving Harry to secure his 4th place.
Finishing ahead of Dakar 2016’s winners Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret was a proud moment for Harry and navigator Schulz, who will be contesting the next Dakar Rally in January 2017. The team here at Walero couldn’t have been happier to hear news of such a fantastic result, and in his latest Facebook post, Harry said, “Can’t believe Silk Way Rally is over and I finished 4th overall – what an amazing experience. Massive thanks to X-raid Team, MINI and my navigator Andy Schulz, couldn’t have done it without you.”
Harry’s rally season continues to go from strength to strength and we are ever proud to have him on our team of ambassadors! A huge well done from us!
His next event is the Rally Du Maroc, followed by the Dakar in 2017.
In 2016, Walero partner Gulf Racing UK took the step up they had been preparing for over the last two seasons and entered the FIA World Endurance Championship – nine races around the globe of fierce competition against the best endurance racing teams in the world.
The cornerstone event of this mighty challenge is the 24 hours of Le Mans – arguably the greatest motor race on the international calendar and one steeped in history for the iconic Gulf brand.
Along with Autosport performance, partners Position One Motorsport and Gulf Racing have been preparing for their assault on this epic race, bringing into the equation partners Walero and Boomerang Pro Fitness, to help in the lead-up.
“Position One has the facility to not only coach the driver in terms of his skill set behind the wheel, but also test, evaluate and ultimately improve the driver’s performance from a biomechanical perspective. With the ability to control the environmental variables inside the virtual cockpit, we can also perform some very well controlled analytical assessments on the driver’s equipment.” – Matt Beers, Technical Director at Position One.
It was with this in mind that Position One joined forces with Gulf Racing and their fireproof base-layer supplier, Walero, to evaluate relative performance and gather some useful data for both parties to better understand the endurance racing scenario and their part in it.
“The driver [FIA WEC driver Ben Barker] completed two 30-minute stints of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on the Position One Motorsport motion simulator in full racing kit. The first stint was completed wearing the Walero base layers and the second stint was completed wearing alternative base layers. Resting heart rate and blood pressure were both recorded and the second stint could not begin until the driver had returned to these levels. The simulator was set at a controlled ambient temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. This temperature was chosen because it represents the upper limit of what cockpit temperature is permitted in the World Endurance Championship. Bodyweight (kg) was measured before and after stints on the simulator and water intake was controlled in order to carry out accurate sweat-testing procedures. Heart rate and core body temperature were then recorded every 60 seconds in real-time using the BioCOM physiological monitoring system during the 30-minute stints on the simulator.” – John Camilleri, Director & Owner at Boomerang Pro Fitness
Whilst only a small sample data set, the initial testing showed some interesting results, demonstrating a reduced sweat rate and correspondingly a reduced heart rate during the stint conducted in the Walero kit, suggesting more efficiency at maintaining a homeostatic balance and also giving the team an indication of Barker’s physiological (as well as on-track) performance under those specific conditions in real-time.
“What this shows is that with the correct facility, equipment and expertise, there is a huge amount we can do in preparing for this kind of racing activity, be that a controlled assessment of kit, or an environmental assessment and resultant preparation and training programme for a driver. Of course, all these elements are interlinked and we can use the simulator and other facilities for the mutual evaluations and then target specific development in each area.” – Matt Beers
Gulf Racing will travel to Le Mans in the knowledge they have made the right choice of partner in Walero Motorsport and Position One has helped them head to France for the race as well prepared as they can be.
Walero is proud to support all its partners in their upcoming race events and would like to wish all of them the best of luck in the season ahead!
Last weekend, Fiona James joined the Intersport Racing team at Silverstone for a 24 Hour race alongside team members Kevin Clarke, Simon Atkinson and Ryan Lindsay.
None of the team are shy of a challenge, but this race threw more than a couple of curve balls their way. We spoke with Fiona after the race about what conditions in particular made it especially challenging:
“A new rule was introduced, limiting each driver’s maximum lap speed to 2 minutes 21. This was incredibly hard to stick to and a lot of drivers received penalties for speeding. Each time you were penalised you had to sit in the penalty box for 30 seconds. It also caused a few issues as people got to the last turn and realised that they were going to exceed this time limit, so would suddenly lift off, which can catch you by surprise if you’re right behind them.”
Why was this limit introduced?
“Apparently they’ve always done it with the pro class, which isn’t such a big issue when it’s one type of driver in amongst all the classes. Theoretically, it’s a way of evening things out but I don’t think it’s been very popular with drivers.”
The team also experienced a number of technical issues with the car, a #114 BMW M3, which included a snapped prop shaft and a hole in the radiator after one of the team had a small off.
“The radiator issue meant that qualification was a bit ropey, but the real fun started when the prop shaft snapped. Kev couldn’t believe it; he’d not seen it happen in over 30 years. Thankfully, Cor Euser had a spare and let us use it. If he hadn’t, it would’ve been game over for us quite early on.”
“We were hopeful of a podium early on as Kev got us up into 2nd in class and we’re all quite consistent drivers, but sadly with the mechanical problems the best we could do was 25th out of a total grid of 41 cars, and then 9th in class, which (all things considered) isn’t half bad! The team did a great job getting the car back out after each problem so big thanks go to them.”
Looking back on the events of the weekend, Fi concludes:
“24 hours of racing is a huge ask of the car and the driver. To win a 24hr race, first of all you have to finish and we managed that, which is a big achievement in itself. It was by far my most challenging race to date due to the very low visibility during the evening. I did end up in the gravel in the night stint, but thankfully there was no damage. The team worked incredibly hard to get us back out on track after a prop shaft failure and worked faultlessly as a team to repair the subsequent damage. I owe huge thanks to all of them and my teammates Simon Atkinson, Kevin Clarke and Ryan Lindsay. There were some challenges to deal with, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Finally, a big thank you goes to the marshals who work really hard in all weathers and still manage to stay cheerful despite the long hours in freezing cold, without who we couldn’t race.
We are delighted to announce our new partnership for 2016 with Gulf Racing in the World Endurance Championship.
Walero is pleased to announce a new partnership with Gulf Racing for the 2016 season. Working together to provide the WEC race team, drivers and pit-crew with the ultimate solution for personal trackside performance and comfort. Walero brings the most technologically advanced range of competition base layers. The FIA 8856-200 and SFI 3.3 approved garments are fireproof and regulate the body’s temperature in either hot or cold climates, ensuring that the wearer stays comfortable and protected.
Matt Beers, Gulf Racing Team Manager, said: “Stepping up from ELMS to the WEC we looked at all of the factors that affect personal performance, the equipment the team use needs to be the best in the business for us to achieve our goal – to be World Champions. The Walero system ticks all our boxes for a fireproof base layer, comfort, performance, quality; it was the perfect choice for both the drivers and pit crew.”
Fiona James, Walero Founder, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering Gulf Racing in the WEC. We are very proud of our product; its unique properties are perfect for endurance racing where every second counts. Our garments and the technology behind them were developed for NASA astronauts to stabilise their body temperature. This means that not only is heat stress reduced but also dehydration, both combining to improve performance and safety. We have worked hard to develop the product and this year our focus is to raise our brand awareness. Gulf Racing have high ambitions, and this makes them the ideal partner to demonstrate our belief in the product and the importance of being comfortable despite the conditions.”
Gulf Racing are participating in the World Endurance Championship in 2016 taking the iconic Blue and Orange across the globe and to the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans with a select group of technical and commercial partners.
Our very own Fiona James (Walero founder and Managing Director) set sail on a grand voyage to Madagascar at the end of January last month, with Azafady; one of the most well-established charities out there. Azafady work on everything from building schools and installing much-needed sanitation facilities to discovering and supporting new wildlife species, and everything in between.
Wifi is incredibly limited (as you can imagine it would be in the heart of the jungle!) but we managed to get through to Fi on the phone a few days ago and she is doing fantastically well – embracing the rice and beans diet and meeting all sorts of cute creatures! She has been amazed by how much Azafady manage to accomplish on such a tight budget, and given that 90p out of every £1 you donate goes straight to the projects in hand, we are incredibly proud to support all the team.
If you’d like to make a donation, please click here.
On behalf of Fi and the Azafady team: a big thank you!
Its been a busy couple of weeks finalising designs for the Walero Keep Your Cool flame retardant motorsports balaclavas & socks. Manufacture is well underway & they will be with you soon. Sorry it wont be quite in time for the start of the season for some of you, but you wont have to wait too long!
Plenty of you are already wearing our Keep Your Cool base layers in the race seat, on the ski slopes & everything in-between, so you will be glad to know that our balaclavas & socks both contain the same space age technology that helps stop you over-heating. Best of all (especially with regards to your stinky feet!) we also have the same antimicrobial product applied to help keep your feet smelling fresh as roses.