Larry Chen: Ford Takes On Pikes Peak With The World’s Fastest Van Video

Posted: 2023-09-11 15:00:03
Author: Larry Chen
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Larry Chen Video Transcript

Foreign [Applause] Laughs so what are you doing shoot Stones everywhere it’s crazy all those openings and the sticky tires it’s a race car it is it’s so it’s supposed to pick up rocks and it’s supposed to make all the cool noises and all that yeah so um you’ve brought pretty much I would

Say the coolest van I’ve ever seen this is incredible welcome to Pikes Peak yeah great to be here yeah so what are we actually looking at what is this thing this well this is called The Eternity Spaceman actually not just super van so space yeah it’s our internal let’s say

Nickname for it just because it’s really it’s the craziest car we’ve ever built in itself already without it being a van right so all the powertrain features all the the technical details we’ve done it’s just everything which is possible and Beyond potentially okay so you work

For start I do work for starters and then Ford uh basically reached out to you guys to partner with you for this project correct yeah so long story short we’ve had can block Drive our electric Ford Fiesta which was one of the first electric race cars in the world and

Based on that for the performance approached us like hey do you want to build as a super van we’re kind of super what and yeah that’s where all the story comes from and how it all started so they approached us if we were able to collaborate with them on that project on

On building a van an electric van with just crazy performance and that’s where we’re at now you know my favorite part about this vehicle is that it being called a van it still looks like a van it has the proportions of a van it does

Indeed it is a van actually so we’ve got the width we’ve got the height we’ve got the length of the transit right so the we’re competing in Pikes Peak in the open class which means that the car has to have the appearance of of the of the

Original car right but you know the funny thing about it is that there’s this huge opening that where the window would normally be but um this is all functional huh correct yeah so as we’re very let’s say it’s difficult with the size we have especially the frontal area from the aerodynamic standpoint uh

To compete with the car which is like half the height correct like all the GT cars which are running up there or formula cars so we of course use that let’s say disadvantage of that space we have and we need to integrate Elements which actually then help us again so

That’s all those features with those buttresses here which are flown the huge Wing the the the big duct we have here in the rear so that’s all elements which you couldn’t do on a let’s say a typical car because it would be too small right so we do have a disadvantage because of

The frontal area but we also use that as an advantage that we have a lot of space so you don’t actually get a good proportion or a good feeling of this vehicle until you look at the side of it a it’s super long B I cannot believe

Leave how small the wheels look on this vehicle it’s hilarious it’s it’s GT 18 inch wheels right so it’s what you will see on any Ford GT Mustang GT3 right so that’s the typical standard 18 inch racing wheels but in the areas on that vehicle there look a little bit smaller

But it’s crazy because they look tiny but they’re 325 Square setup yes they are so wide correct incredible okay so then let’s talk about the technology aspect of it let’s talk a little bit about the power plant and then we’ll get on to the body so what are we looking at Power

Plant-wise here so especially for Pikes Peak basically the powertrain is based on Superman 4. um it’s the same electric motors from from start it’s the same electric battery high voltage battery it’s a 50 kilowatt hours centrally mounted battery it’s to our knowledge one of the most powerful batteries in

The world electrically so it pushes out just right 1500 kilowatt which is over 2000 horsepower electrically and in that constellation Pikes Peak with three motors so we run one motor in the front and two in the rear it’s identical Motors so the performance output we are

Running here is about 14 just above 1400 kilowatt that’s incredible so 1400 horsepower so then do the two Motors are they like one motor each axle is that how it works in the rear or does it go to a transmission yes so we have on the

Front and on the rear we have a 20 Mission single speed transmission dedicated Motorsports straight cut gears we have mechanical differences on the front and on the rear axle so there’s no mechanical connection between the two axles that’s electronically wow okay so that means you could go like one go

Forward one go backwards which kind of thing correct yes wow we do however have so XL wise the left and the right wheel are connected with each other with through the differential mechanically and the motors are linked through let’s say fixed mechanical shaft so it’s not a wheelbase torque vectoring but it’s

Excellent based talk vectoring we’re using here the interesting thing about Pikes weak you know we’ve seen so many incredible electric vehicles race up Pikes Peak it’s almost like this race is made for this type of vehicle this technology right this technology you can actually take advantage of it but while

You’re not running into Power degradation from atmosphere and less air there’s a heat aspect and there’s just so many other aspects that you have to deal with I mean is that a lot all the things that you guys kind of figured out to get this working yes of course so we

Spend a lot of time with full performance together to simulate to do bench testing with the various components especially to be prepared for the thinner air indeed compared to petrol cars or to combustion engine cars we don’t have the disadvantage that with the thinner air by climbing with the

With increasing altitude we have power degradation as you say our power is the same at the start line uh as at the finish line is 14 000 feet so that’s a big advantage of electric cars which indeed of course helps on the other side the cooling element of it so thinner air

Cools worse we’re putting them out a huge amount of power here so those components need to be cooled electric powertrains need less cooling yet they need cooling plus important detail is that the temperature values the temperature range is lower on the electric powertrains means we don’t have

Such a high temperature gradient so the cooling is a bit more tricky with electric components right and then um let’s talk about the body what did this start life as or what is this just like this tube chassis thing that is just covered with carbon or is it a carbon

Tub I don’t actually know anything about it so basically that’s also based on supervent 4 super van 4 started live based on a v710 that’s the internal code Transit so the whole floor pan the firewall is all from the transit we have picker points from from the original

Transit that vehicle is a bit radicalized so we’ve removed a lot more from from that construction and it’s in the end basically a tube frame uh construction meanwhile but all the body shape all um the bumpers fenders Bonnet all that shape has remained and has been let’s say

Optimized with the addition Aero packets for package for Pikes Peak the wing especially is just Solitude huge it is I mean do you have to take it off when you’re transporting it The Reeling not luckily but the front ring has to go off yes it is so but you need

Special trailers for it so it’s really the widest size basically you any car can have like a Hummer or anything which is allowed to drive on the road so you barely fit it into a semi-trailer in the rear you know it’s funny if can we take

A look at the inside if you can open that door functional door handles incredibly light carbon fiber doors these are I’m sure these are custom made everything yes is custom made absolutely here yes you know normally when I’m doing this sort of interview usually I’m a bit closer you’re so far away yeah

There’s it’s legitimately there’s an echo in here you know when I’m talking to you but it’s funny because we have the absolute wheel man you guys are so lucky you have the best Pikes Peak driver you know the current record holder Romaine Dumas incredible driver and he’s I don’t think he’s ever had

This much space in a race car exactly yeah that I can confirm that he told us already you can fit more you can fit three people wide here if you wanted yeah so you see it is prepared so it’s not built just for Pikes Peak that’s the

Only thing I can say right so there is space for a second seat as well uh there’s space for for a co-driver and there’s other features the the car is prepared for for future activities let’s say forget about the co-driver look how much leg room there is you can take a

Nap in here if you wanted to oh you could yeah yeah there’s still the space behind the the back wall the rear wall yeah so you could fit like easily you could make a good weekend trip with that vehicle that’s a that’s a question that I had about this

Um this is like a firewall like a rear firewall what is actually behind here nothing very little hardly anything yes so we have a special aerodynamic feature it’s a central duct as we call it that is behind it and then further behind parts of the powertrain but basically that’s

It where does that where does it feed that duct is it down here from the bottom just behind the battery so that’s an absolutely unique feature which again you just can have in a vehicle with a packaging concept like that Transit so that is not possible I see so it picks

Up air from the the bottom and then it exits it out of the rear so it’s basically working as a huge Venturi uh nozzle right and it really generates huge amounts of downforce it supports the rear wing and the rear diffuser flow and it by itself generates under

Pressure in the center of the car and sucks it down to the floor this is just so crazy that power or that uh steering column it actually looks like it’s out of a factory vehicle indeed it is that’s a Ford performance steering column which is also used in some full performance

Road cars with a special software made for that racing vehicle so that’s out of the full performance vodka yes so did you guys actually put this together uh at Star yes so the vehicle was assembled uh and the entire vehicle development and design happen to start and we have

Had very close collaboration with full performance especially on the Aero system on the electronic side on the powertrain the simulation side so there’s a lot of areas where we work very closely together with Germany UK and the us but in the end the build happen in Australia in Austria okay

It’s just so so the packaging is so good I love this control panel that basically just shoots out in the middle here amazing and then you guys because it is electric vehicle that you’re racing you have to have a warning light on here correct yes um because if it goes red

Basically there’s some kind of short so all the powertrain here in that vehicle is fully in compliance with latest FIA so so the world Motorsport body governing body FIA safety rules for EVS so basically like you maybe know from formula e um that’s the same systems applied here

So those lights here indicate in this case two elements the green lights show the so-called safety status of the high voltage system when the lights are green it means the vehicle is safe to touch so it’s all the time being monitored and all the sensors are checking if there’s

Any short circuits or any isolation breach then those flashing white lights are actually indicating the status of the high voltage system means when they flash then high voltage is on the cables and on the powertrain when they are solidly lighters like continuously highlighted lighted then that means the

Vehicle is so called ready to move so you should stay clear of the front and the rear of the vehicle because it could if you touch the pedal anytime move and if they’re often the high voltage Systems off got it got it got it interesting well thank you so much for

Showing us this um really good luck I cannot wait to see this yes go up it’s gonna be so cool I mean because it’s just so unconventional in terms of the shape I’m assuming that if you had this uh technology and you put it in something maybe that’s more of like a

Formula car like a prototype looking car like an lmp2 or something like that it potentially could go faster but that’s not as fun right it’s not as cool I would say the tell me Larry but I think Pikes Peak has never seen a car like that no I mean that’s the trick

I’ve never I’ve just it’s just so you’re you’re really going against the grain I mean you’re moving this is gonna displace so much air you know this this you know what this reminds me of this reminds me of like the Renault the Escape F1 I think they

Made that in the 90s yeah that’s it’s funny many people say that but you know in reality so you know the supervan story right with the first Super event when was it 69 or something like that so Ford actually really invented a racing van back then so it’s the fourth that’s

Why supervent four so it’s the fourth generation already that’s why it says correct yeah so there was the the first one with the lemon powertrain from the Ford GT and there was a second one with the I don’t recall I think it was another V8 and then it was the one with the

Cosworth so that was first that was first Ford invented that brand invented that concept invented that car and that’s already the fourth generation so cool so cool oh we we didn’t talk about this the fake mirrors or this is uh something that actually is functional yeah it is it is entirely functional so

It is even prepared so that unit here that that cap will be replaced by mirrors for certain other events but those are very very important they deliver around eight percent of front downforce in front aerobics just from this just from this yeah so it’s not by itself delivering force

And downforce in itself but it um does influence the flow around and over the vehicle and generate vortices that it helps the entire and overall aerodynamic functionality so every single detail you see Wing wise opening wise there’s not a single small element on that vehicle which is not entirely functional intended for Aero

Functionality and delivers a lot of performance it’s so cool it’s almost like a window for you to check out the suspension and the air duct and everything the KW coilovers even charge the battery the 12 volt battery through here so it is quite quite practical where’s the actual battery charger for

The high voltage system so for testing we are using a also from a road car taken CCS plug so that’s just like on a fast charging station with your road car the same thing so you plug it in press a button go for a coffee and let it charge

But for the race of course uh as we we’re looking for every single gram after charging that will be removed and that’s another few kilograms out of the car got it amazing well thank you so much I’ve just been shooting Pikes Peak uh since the last year of the dirt since

2011 and it’s just been such an honor to photograph this race you know being the official photographer but also it’s such a big honor to be able to photograph this vehicle before the race and also during the whole race week so thank you so much more than welcome Larry awesome cool thank you

All right foreign foreign thank you foreign foreign foreign foreign foreign foreign hey thanks for watching if you want to support us directly go to I print and sign every single one of these this is the perfect gift Aura is the perfect piece of art for your wall foreign [Applause]