Over the past couple of weeks we have fitted a carbon drive shaft to the Elite Racing Transmissions IL200 in Jamie Hodgins Toyota Starlet. We found a doner Mazda RX8 carbon drive shaft and went about fitting it to the IL200 transmission. This process was quite invloved, having to fit larger Nissan 25mm joints to replace the staked in Mazda joints, making a splined flange to transmit power from the gearbox to the drive shaft and modifing the rear flange to suit the Toyota diff. The net mass of the finished shaft was 4.6kg, compare that to the steel one at 8.4kg and it is quite a saving in weight, not to mention the other benifits a carbon drive shaft provides as listed below.
- Lighter than steel or aluminum.
- Three times torsional strength of steel.
- Torsional spring rate allows better tire hook-up.
- Torsional spring rate allows smoother shifting.
- Less shock load to the differential.
- Eliminates or dampens high speed vibrations.
- Reduces transmission and differential breakage.
- In circut racing smoother shifting and better durability of transmission and differential have been reported.
- A much greater safety factor – carbon fiber will return to a fiber and not create shrapnel under the car, as would aluminum or steel shafts