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Honda has used a Zircotec thermal barrier on its Civic racing-car to realise the true capacity of its petrol tank, helping it achieve a best-ever sixth-place in the Britcar 24-hour race.

The cooling effect of the Zircotec thermal barrier prevented air locks, which allowed the Honda team to fill the car with an extra 16 litres of fuel per stop.

This allowed the car to run for three hours between stints, resulting in a class win and making it the first front-wheel drive to finish.

The racing team manager, Simon Mason, said: ‘In the past, we have struggled to get more than 94 litres of fuel into the car because of air locks in the warm fuel tank.

‘This year we could fill it right up to our 110 litre allowance.’ The team originally approached Zircotec to coat the Honda exhaust to reduce cockpit temperatures.

Endurance racing requires drivers to stay focussed and comfortable for up to three hours.

Zircotec coatings inhibit the transfer of heat from exhausts to reduce surface temperatures by 170C and lower cabin temperatures.

While coating the Honda exhaust, Zircotec also suggested a way to cool the fuel tank.

Stuart Clarke, motorsport manager at Zircotec, said: ‘The Zircotec coating has a thermal efficiency of less than 1.7 W/m K (compared with 4 W/m K for alumina) and is used by race engineers to make drivers more comfortable and safe.

‘Customers use our coating to prevent fuel vaporisation in the engine bay, but when the team explained the issue with the fuel capacity, we felt coating the exhaust close to the fuel tank could solve their problems.’ Zircotec can create a separate heat shield, but in this case all that was required was to plasma-spray the Honda exhaust around the fuel tank area, which is more durable and takes up less space than wrap (increasing airflow to further cool the exhaust).

Clarke added: ‘The team is so pleased with the results, for both reduced cabin temperature and solving the fuel tank fill problem, that it is sending a Porsche Carrera Cup exhaust to Zircotec to be coated.’

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