ZooRacing Bodies + Interview
One of the major developments on the ISTC scene during the last two years has been the body shells, with new releases and new manufacturers joining the competition regularly. One of the latest to join this market is ZooRacing from Germany.
They have so far released two body styles – the ZooZilla and the Preopard, with more on the way. With my personal interest in the bodies, I wanted to check these newcomers out as well.
Both the ZooZilla and the Preopard are very much in the same new generation of high-downforce bodies as most late releases from other manufacturers. Therefore the overall style is also similar, but ZooRacing certainly seem to have some own ideas as well.
The quality and sharpness of the design lines and markings in the bodies is impressive for a new manufacturer, and it is obvious there is some experience behind and not total beginners. It is also obvious that these bodies are made using 3D CAD and milling.
When you buy one of these bodies you get the body + wing in one mold. A decal sheet with decent grille and lights graphics, as well as some ZooRacing and body model specific stickers. You also get M3 hardware to mount the wing, and ZooRacing’s unique 2-step window masks. This put simply is just two sets of window masks, with one set slightly smaller. You first use the larger ones, which are the same size as the outer window edges. Then you can remove them after the main body is painted, and place the smaller masks in the windows, which makes it super easy to paint the window frames. A very simple and good idea.
I painted up one of each bodies in a single colour to make the body shapes easy to see in this presentation. I used silver as a colour and backed with black, hence black window frames. However, I did have small issues with window masks as they wanted to lift up at the edges, even though I repeatedly pressed them down. I don’t know if this was just bad luck this time or if the window masks need slightly stronger glue.
I chose the ultralight version of each body. Painted and cut as you see in the pictures, together with the wing mounted, they weigh 70g in this ultralight version. There is also a heavier standard version available.
Both bodies have lines and patterns marked in that will help mounting them right. The mounting points for the wing both on the wing and body are clearly marked, and these points are reinforced by the shape of the body/wing and feel solid when the wing is mounted.
Also present on both designs are raised large front wheel arches. This no doubt a result of the effort of trying to eliminate the tyres scrubbing inside the body. ZooRacing mention that they use CAD simulation to check wheel clearance with fully compressed suspension, to make sure the wheels don’t touch the body in any situation.
ZooRacing ZooZilla ZR-0001-05 Ultralight
The ZooZilla was the first release from ZooRacing, and is slightly less aggressive compared to the Preopard. The front splitter is slightly shorter, the front is a bit more round, and the A-pillar edges are not quite as pronounced.
ZooRacing Preopard ZR-0002-05 Ultralight
Compared then to the ZooZilla, the Preopard has a more aggressive front end and very pronounced edges at the A-pillars. The roof is also very aggressively shaped, which is clearly visible from the side. Not a beautiful shape, but perhaps it works!
There’s a lot of further information on the ZooRacing website, so make sure to check it out if you are interested in more details.
ZooRacing kindly offered to answer a few questions, as some of the pictures and information on their website caught my interest and raised some questions.
Why enter the body market?
ZooRacing: After a decade of nearly no develoment in the body design from the big companies, we saw with the Montech Racer and Type-S the very first true changes to adapt bodies to the more and more high grip tracks, like the ETS carpet tracks. They also worked much better on asphalt tracks, where downforce is most important.
The electric touring car body market is small and there are only a few companies who share this market. We saw the chance to make a new brand with fresh and more advanced design than usual. We design our bodies with the latest 3D CAD software, which ensures very precise adjustments on designs. We also have the chance to use a flow simulation software to evaluate issues on the aerodynamics and to understand the airflow around the body. Together with some serious experience in body design and general design we think, we can make some some noise in the market.
Can you give a quick step-by-step description of the process from idea-design-testing-product?
ZooRacing: All starts with the question, what is the purpose of a product and why should you buy it. Of course we look at other body design, what are popular at the moment. Then we discuss, what we can make better. We discuss with our test drivers and also with many other drivers to get an impression, what a driver wants. Sometimes a top level driver wants something different to a club level driver. This is important to know.
The design process is a complicated thing. You always have to look at the EFRA/IFMAR rules when designing. There are so many rules, that is is pretty hard to make something completely different. The only chance is to come close as possible to the given dimensions. Our bodies follow the rule: Form follows function. With our flow simulation software we started to understand, how the air flows around the body. So we always try to design everything to improve the airflow from the front to the rear. We made some surprising results with this way of work. So our bodies looks a bit different to normal bodies. It takes around 20 – 30 different versions of one body design until we are happy with the airflow. Once the design of the mold is ready, we make a 3D milled mold and we are ready for testing the first samples.
First we need to check the sample bodies, if all dimensions are correct. We calculated a shrinking factor, but sometimes happens, that some areas of the body shrunk more, than other areas. So we always have to check everything again and again.
We have a view drivers who test our bodies. Also our designer is an experienced driver and test as well. Of course, if you start with the very first body, you can not predict, how it handles. You only can hope, that it will work well. We was surprised, how good the ZooZilla came out. Both of our drivers jumped instantly in the A-Main of the ETS in Vienna.
With this handling and performance in mind, we started with number 2, the Preopard body. It is an evolution based on some ZooZilla design aspects, but more agressive and efficient in the same way. At this point we started to trust our flow simulation software. All new bodies will be evolution versions based on early designs.
Are the bodies tested and changed a lot before release?
ZooRacing: We test our bodies a lot. We had to change some things to make them EFRA legal, but this was only small things. Once you make the aluminium mold, it is nearly impossible to change things. Or it get very expensive.
Any more info on the coming revolution mentioned on your website?
ZooRacing: You talk about the Dogsbollox. Yes, we made this body especially for the ETS and other high grip tracks. We want to make a super agressive body with maximum steering and less drag on the same way. Because the new 90g rule in the ETS series, we designed the rear much lower than usual – even the wing is lower installed. So we can reduce traction rolling a lot, if you drive the 90g body. We have a special roof design and a very low nose. We are very excited to get the first sample next week! If everything works well, we can start selling right before the next ETS race.
Thanks for the Interview!