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  Zytek 06S

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2006
Designed by:Tim Holloway for Zytek
Predecessor:Zytek 04S
Successor:Zytek 07S
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 17, 2006
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDesigned as a replacement for the disappointing 2KQ chassis, the Reynard 02S was much more a revolution than an evolution. Unfortunately the 02S proved to be too late to save the British manufacturer from its February 2002 bankruptcy. Some of the assets, including the designs and rights of the 02S were acquired by a company called International Racing Management (IRM). They completed the first chassis and badged it YGK, after the Japanese group they were commisioned by to do so. YGK pulled out and the single chassis was sold to Danish driver John Nielsen's RN Motorsport team.

Before continuing the competition history of the last Reynard, let's first take a look at some of the technical aspects. Reynard focussed on designing a car that would theoretically both suit the LMP 900 (900 kg minimum, wide tires and large engine) and LMP 675 (675 kg minimum, slimmer tires, smaller engine) classes. The most striking exterior feature was the very low waistline between the front and rear wheelarches. Under the lightweight body a traditional carbon fibre monocoque chassis is found, suspended by double wishbones all around.

The John Nielsen ex-YGK Reynard was now known as the DBA, named after his sponsor, Den Bla Avis, and made its debut at the end of the 2003 season. Running under the LMP 675 class regulations, the DBA was powered by a 3.4 litre V8 and weighed in at just over 760 kg. Its debut lasted for just 133 laps, when a mechanical failure put the new car out of the race. The DBA's performance was satisfying and convinced Nielsen to enter it for the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Some modifcations were carried through and the car was renamed once again and entered as the DBA4 03S.

In addition to the Le Mans race, RN Motorsport entered their DBA4 03S in a number of the FIA Sports Car Championship races. In the opening round at Estoril, John Nielsen and his team-mate Hayanari Shimoda finished second behind the winning Courage C60. Success came in the fourth round at Oschersleben in which Shimoda and his new team-mate Andy Wallace beat the championhsip winning Dome S101. At Le Mans 2003, the RN Motorsport DBA4 03S achieved second in class but was also a lowly 23rd overall.

New life was pumped into the old Reynard once more when engineering company Zytek picked up the manufacturing rights of the chassis. At the end of 2003, a second chassis was constructed and extensively tested by Andy Wallace and David Brabham. With no connection to Den Bla Avis, the new car was simply called 'Zytek' at its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day in April 2004. Livered in all black the V8 engined Zytek looked almost identical to the DBA4 03S used in the 2003 season.

Piloted by the very experienced Wallace and Brabham, the Zytek grew out from the unknown new car to the biggest surprise of the test day. Beaten only by the (ex-)works Audi R8s, it finished fifth in the final standings. In doing so, the small British manufacturer beat seasoned Le Mans teams like Racing for Holland with the Dome and Pescarolo with the Courage.

Over the following two seasons the Zyteks proved to be exceptionally quick, scoring multiple pole positions in the Le Mans Endurance Series. Several of these were converted in victories. Especially the 2005 season was successful with two victories and a runners up position in the championship. This guaranteed the works Zytek team with an entry in the 2006 Le Mans even though rule changes rendered the 04S chassis obsolete. Over the winter work was started to convert the existing chassis to comply with the LMP1 regulations.

With just over a month to go, the new Zytek 06S first turned a wheel at a test on the French Magny Cours track. Being a 'hybrid', the 06S combined the original chassis with updated aerodynamics. For Zytek it is a transitional car as the all new 07S for 2007 will use the 06S bodywork with a new chassis. Power comes from Zytek's four litre V8 engine. After the three day test at Magny Cours, the team drove up to Spa Francorchamps for the competition debut of the new car.

Driven by an all Danish team, the Zytek proved immediately quick in the free practice sessions. Caspar Elgard made the most of the treacherous conditions and qualified the brand new car on the first row. In the eventful race, the car ran almost faultlessly and after six hours the three Danes crossed the line in third place.

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  Article Image gallery (33) Specifications