Swedish rally driver Ramona Karlsson contacted Höganäs AB in 2010 with the aim of finding a partner for her upcoming rally season. Some three years on, Karlsson and Höganäs reflect on the successful collaboration that proved the concept of PM transmission gears and became the first ever team to race with PM gears in the World Rally Championship
Together with SwePart Transmission AB, Höganäs played an important role in Karlsson’s strive for rally success. The team successfully replaced the 4th gear pair during the 2011 season and the remaining gear pairs the following year. As a result, Karlsson and her co-driver become the first Swedish women ever to compete in the World Rally Championship and the first team to ever compete with PM gears.
“Thanks to the confidence and backing by Höganäs we have been able to reach and exceed our competitive goals and on a personal level I was able to reach a very important milestone in my career. To be the first rally driver ever to compete with PM gears – and to show that they really stand the heavy loads they are exposed to – that has been really amazing,” stated Karlsson.
The success raised the attention among not only automotive industry members, but also Karlsson’s colleagues and followers. Many were interested in the gear concept and some even asked her how they could get a hand on a similar gear box to replace their own broken-down ones. Anders Flodin, Gear Expert at Höganäs, also experienced this positive feedback.
“When I visited the other teams at the South Swedish rally I was introduced as the ‘powder genius who creates gear boxes that won’t break’. That was very flattering and a sign that people were talking about our project,” stated Flodin.
For Höganäs, the main objective was to prove that PM transmission gears can withstand extreme loads. While Flodin is happy to say that many sceptic transmission engineers have been convinced, he feels that more similar projects are required to completely convince the automotive industry. The passenger car industry deals with other kinds of challenges and it is now up to Höganäs and its collaboration partners to prove that PM gears provide a really interesting proposition.
“I think we do need to present something similar within two years as you typically need to convince the automotive industry more than once. We are already working on another gear project for a passenger car and we have received inquiries from companies within different kinds of motor sports,” added Flodin.
The project ended at a gear conference in Berlin, the International CTI Symposium and Exhibition. While Karlsson admits ending the project feels a bit sad, she feels optimistic about the future and hopes that she will be able to continue her career within motor sports until retirement.
“I’ve gained so much experienced over the last few years which will be valuable for my remaining career. One of the highlights of this project was when the speakers announced the ‘Power of Powder Rally Team’ in front of over 100,000 spectators at the World Championship premiere in Mexico. I’m also very proud of the fact that we were able to prove that women can compete on equal terms at the highest level of motor sports. These achievements are something I feel will help me in the future,” added Karlsson.
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]