Two Ways to Skin a Track: Hockenheim
By Khiem Dinh
Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing. All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.
While Jeff and Martin were on Eurotrip Part Deux (in South Park Kyle voice, “you bastards!”), they made a trip to Hockenheim to visit the well-known Hockenheimring for a track day with the team at KW Suspensions. This wasn’t any typical track day; it featured lots of heavy duty machinery. Short of a fully-prepped race car, there are two ways to haul serious ass around a track: a high-end exotic or a vehicle designed as a dedicated track toy. Enter the Gumpert Apollo and the KTM X-Bow.
First, we’ll look at the KTM X-Bow. KTM is better known for its motorcycles, but it decided to jump into the fun track day vehicle market with the X-Bow (called Cross Bow). It was designed in somewhat of the same philosophy as the Ariel Atom and Radical; a bare bones vehicle that can be driven on the street (in some countries) based on an extremely lightweight chassis requiring only modest power. Weighing in around 1700lbs, the 2.0L gasoline turbo engine from VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group) moves the X-Bow pretty quick in 237hp and 300hp (X-Bow R) guises.
|Providing the stick are slicks sized 205/40/17 on the front and 235/40/18 on the rear. Combined with downforce (48kg at 100 km/h, 193kg at 200 km/h), the X-Bow will pull over 1.5Gs in the corners.|
|The X-Bow is used in a number of racing series specifically for the model including the X-Bow Battle. The X-Bow is also used in the Race of Champions.|
|Did I mention bare bones? There’s not even a steering wheel but a joy stick! Just playin… it just happens to have a quick release steering wheel and the joystick is the gear shifter. Those seats are just a couple of bare shells however to keep the weight to the minimum. The driver’s side has a built-in head restraint.|
|In case you hadn’t already noticed, the car is built around a carbon fiber monocoque weighing only 200lbs. The front suspension uses a rocker arm arrangement with inboard mount shocks. A single axle nut keeps the wheel on, with the stopping duties handled by the Brembo brakes. That does appear to be a turn signal integrated into the side mirror; I told you it can be driven on the street and it gets pretty decent gas mileage too!|