GTR Composites, part of Global Technologies Racing Group, is celebrating 30 years of successful chassis ‘tub’ manufacture for the world’s premier race car teams. A chassis ‘tub’ is a monocoque carbon composite structure that is the backbone of the vehicle chassis, whilst housing and protecting the driver. The tubs are primarily carbon but have integrated design features made from titanium, aluminium, magnesium, steel, kevlar and glass to perform all of the required functions to deliver a structure for the car, what the driver needs to win races and what is needed to optimise safety.

In the last 30 years, GTR have manufactured a total of over 500 chassis ‘tubs’ for a total of 35 teams across 5 different race championships, including F1. In F1, each customer team normally orders three tubs – two for use and one spare.  Each tub normally takes around two weeks to machine, however with efficiencies introduced and investments made, GTR have reduced this down to eight days. GTR design and manufacture all of the machining tools and assembly fixtures in house and they are all offline CNC programmed. Each chassis uses a minimum of 200 CNC programs and around 40 different CNC tools. A chassis ‘tub’ can typically include up to 120m of composite material, made up from a combination of carbon, glass and kevlar to deliver performance and strength. The Chassis also contain CNC machined aluminium honeycomb and Rohacell cores. These combine with the specialist carbon fibre materials to create a structure that can withstand the extreme forces the race car will be subjected to during races. Cure times can be up to 16 hours, depending on the cure temperature, the mould materials and the type of resin system being used however, typically, cure times for most chassis tubs are around 3-5 hours with cure temperatures ranging from 80˚C- 190˚C. Through years of experience and R&D, GTR have developed processes to optimize the strength of these types of manufacturing procedures. As with most of GTR’s products, to ensure efficiency, they kit cut all the composite material and this alone can take four days when you include all the ancillaries that go in or on a chassis ‘tub’.

 GTR’s established high-precision composite manufacturing capability is second to none. Selected to manufacture critical components, such as these chassis ‘tubs’ and more, by companies ranging from the world’s most high technology race car teams to critical medical equipment manufacturers, the skills, quality and attention to detail embedded into GTR’s processes are more than a match for other precision sectors such as aerospace and defence. With over 250 highly skilled staff on-site, GTR’s production facilities include x10 in-house autoclaves ranging in sizes up to 3m in diameter and 5.5m in length. This allows GTR to handle both micro components and larger vehicle sized assemblies, such as the composite protected crew pods that GTR manufactured for the Foxhound armoured military vehicle programme.

Simon Kingdon-Butcher, Co-founder, Owner and Director at GTR said: “30 years of service to the highest echelons of motorsport is a milestone that we’re exceedingly proud of. Making these chassis ‘tubs’ is a supremely complex task involving processes, procedures, machinery and skills that have all been carefully developed and refined throughout this time. We are the best in the business which is why the top teams keep coming back to us for these performance and safety critical components”. He added: “As well as our motorsport business that is being highlighted today, we’re also successfully diversifying our skills into wider sectors when the capabilities we’ve developed in motorsport are equally as applicable in a variety of safety critical applications such as aerospace and defence. I thank all of our clients for trusting in us to deliver and we look forward to continuing our partnerships into the future.”