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Northampton Motorsport customer Geoff Bennett finished 3rd overall and first 2 wheel drive on the inaugural running of the Challenger stages at Bovington ranges on the 20th November 2016 using Life Racing engine management.

Geoff’s Escort 2.4 Warrior engine had just undergone an expensive rebuild after an early downshift caused a serious over rev. To protect the engine and gearbox Northampton Motorsport fitted a Life Racing F88 RS ECU which controls the engine and also the paddle shift system now fitted to the car.

The F88 runs the 2.4 warrior using fully sequential injection whilst monitoring all critical engine parameters. If any parameter exceeds preset limits the ECU will either force the engine into limp mode with restricted rpm or in the case of  oil or fuel pressure failure will stop the engine altogether. Wide band lambda and closed loop knock control ensure that we can run the engine optimally whilst ensuring it stays safe and reliable.

At some point before Geoff owned the car it had a paddle shift system controlled by a stand alone GCU ( gearbox control unit) so the hardware was re-installed and wired directly into the Life F88 ECU.

The Life Racing gearbox control strategies have been developed for use in the highest categories of international motorsport including Le Mans Prototype, World Rally and World Touring car and allow fast full throttle gearshifts with minimal interruption of torque to the driven wheels, this means that the driver can comfortably shift up mid corner without upsetting the car.  On Downshifts the ECU calculates what the engine RPM will be after the shift and won’t allow downshifts that would over rev the engine.

Both up shifts and downshifts are fully closed loop and the ECU employs advanced strategies to allow early shift completion and fast but smooth reintroduction of torque which not only helps with performance but also protects the gearbox and extends rebuild periods.

Finally, a calibration switch was added that allowed for 2 maps to be used (wet / dry) and also for 12 different launch rpm settings. This made sure that Geoff was able to select the most appropriate power level and launch rpm for the conditions on the day.

Geoff said “the paddle shift was faultless and gave him the confidence to shift up regardless of the attitude of the car, and that being in the wrong gear for a corner was a thing of the past due to the quick and easy down shifts that just require a moments push of the single shift paddle.

Geoff was only 35 seconds off the win and was the first 2 wheel drive by over 2 minutes so it was a great first outing for the crew and the new set up.

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