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  Zytek 07S

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Introduced in:2007
Designed by:Tim Holloway for Zytek
Predecessor:Zytek 06S
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 14, 2007
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAlthough not always visible to the general public, Zytek has been involved in motor racing for almost three decades. The company first supplied engine management systems, but later expanded their business to supply complete engines to series like F3000 and more recently A1 Grand Prix. Much of the experience gathered in racing was later transferred for road car applications and today Zytek is one of the industry leaders when it comes to electric and hybrid technology. Considering that, it is not surprising their first high profile involvement in sportscar racing was with the hybrid Panoz Q9. That was a short-lived project and in the last few years, they campaigned rather more conventional racing cars, but the intent to enter Le Mans with a hybrid remains.

After supplying a wide variety of parts for over two decades, Zytek became a manufacturer of complete vehicles late in 2002 when it bought the production rights of what would have been the Reynard 02S and some of Reynard's assets. Sadly, the company went bankrupt before the first 02S could be completed, although a third party later completed the first car and it raced alongside Zytek's version for several years as the DBA4 03S. In fact Zytek was already involved in the Reynard / DBA4 project as an engine supplier. After the Zytek engined 03S showed great potential throughout 2003, Zytek decided to produce at least one additional chassis to race themselves in 2004 and the aptly dubbed Zytek 04S was born.

By the time the first Zytek was completed, the sports governing body (the Automobile Club de l'Ouest or ACO) had set a process in motion that would eventually lead to a complete set of new regulations in 2007. The first step was that the old LMP675 and LMP900 cars would be combined into the LMP1, complemented by the somewhat slower LMP2 cars. The new Zytek was built to the LMP675 regulations and featured Zytek's 3.4 litre V8 engine. It immediately impressed in its debut season and proved particularly successful in 2005 when two wins in the Le Mans Endurance Series were scored and the team finished runner up in the championship by just one point. In its configuration, the 04S was rendered obsolete for 2006, but equipped with a new body and engine, and rebadged '06S' it could continue to race for an additional season. It impressed on both sides of the Atlantic, but proved a little too fragile.

Not to be confused with the 'hybrid' mentioned above, the 06S was considered a hybrid vehicle as it combined the new style bodywork with an old chassis. For 2007, these hybrids were also banned and at least in Europe endurance racing is open only to prototypes that fully comply with the LMP1/2 regulations. The biggest change was the requirement of a second roll hoop, giving the cars less of single seater look and feel. Anticipating these changes, Zytek designed the 06S body panels to fit on the new tub developed for the 07S. To appeal to a broad range of customers, the new Zytek 07S could be ordered as either a LMP1 or a LMP2 racer, fitted with the 4 or 3.4 litre Zytek V8 engine respectively. The 07S chassis itself is relatively conventional, consisting of a carbon fibre monocoque with double wishbone suspension on both ends. Fortunately the body still reminds us of Reynard's very elegant original design, although it has been altered in many areas to comply with the LMP1/2 aero rules.

After the impressive, but also disappointing debut of the LMP2 Zytek 07S at Monza, the full LMP1 example made its first appearance in the second round of the Le Mans Series. Entered by Arena Motorsport and driven by Hayanari Shimoda and Stefan Johanssen, it was easily the fastest petrol engined machine at the Valencia track. After a strong run in the race, the white and blue machine was forced to retire due to two throttle cables failing.

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  Article Image gallery (18) Specifications