Chateau de Lastours, near Narbonne (France), I had the opportunity to test the latest Nicolas Montador’s product – the WSR team Ultra4 Off road buggy. On the slopes of Chateau de Lastours he decided to do the final adjustments of the suspension before attacking three European Ultra4 races competitions – King od Italy, King of Wales, King of Portugal…
Nicolas and Landry (responsible for off-road activities in Château de Lastours) also took the opportunity to prepare the route of the French round of the Ultra4 which should take place in 2016 on the same site! And I promise you that the areas and slopes I could see in the preview, will be a treat for future participants.
In 2006 that Nicolas has opened his workshop which is dedicated to fine engineering. Sometimes we see a frame of the AC Cobra or other stuff such as big V8 Mustangs. But it is the production of prototypes that interests us.
After going to the United States to enjoy the show King of the Hammers and after the arrival of Ultra4 competitions in Europe, Nicolas has built his buggy. He participated in all the races of the previous season (2014) and decided to go on a new project, lower, more stable, with improved suspension and a rear engine is a must.
The tubular frame cage is 42 mm in diameter for the most stressed parts of the cage, the rest is 38 mm. The steel is TU37B (cold drawn steel), it will take more than 65 m of tubes to finalize the chassis. Welds are made with a MIG welder.
The challenge was to lower the machine to the max in order to have an improved center of gravity, allowing more stability both on fast tracks and rock crawling. The rear engine allowed to completely clear the view ahead. The engine was lowered by almost 22 cm and seats lowered 18 cm, this still keeping a high ground clearance. Not bad right?
This configuration does not change the weight distribution, compared to the old proto there is always 50/50 between the front and rear, but the driving comfort is greatly improved.
The proto is 3962 mm long, 1480 mm wide and has a height of 1850 mm. Very reasonable weight of 1560 kg. All body components are attached with DZUS fasteners, allowing quick access to interventions.
Nicolas is a fan of Rover engines, there’s a 4l V8 installed at the rear. The machine develops 245 hp and a torque of 345 Nm. For the moment the brave V8 will do, Nicolas trusts his driving skills in order to make the difference. His next project is already under consideration, and the engine will be a GM small-block Corvette LS3 600 hp.
The cooling is entrusted to a radiator with two fans 380 mm in diameter. And to feed the boiler, there is a reservoir of 80 liters. The essential extinguisher is also there in case of, well…
To stand the test, there’s Spidertax equipped with ARB diff locks.
The car is also quipped with Wilwood brakes and PSC steering cylinder.
Regarding the suspension, there are two FOX dampers per wheel, coilover and a bypass but Nicolas is considering a mono shock absorber solution in the future. The springs are calibrated based on the weight of the vehicle. The second damper is a bypass, settings control the compression. The adjustments are made through the chambers that can be seen around the shock body. Operation is simple, letting more or less oil in the bypass changes the behavior of the truck.
“In competition, we can not take any risks, or at least risks must be limited.” So to ensure the pilot and copilot, two certified Atech seats are installed. They are supplemented by Sparco 6-point harness. There’s an air filtration system (remember that there is no windshield and the dust is often pervasive). there’s also a security system that prevents the head and neck to move around with no control. A kind of harness is fixed on the shoulders and is connected to the helmet via straps. This system is essential in severe crash.
The WSR Buggy has a dashboard that allows a single instrument to visualize many parameters, adjust custom alerts, such as temperature or various pressures. It is connected to the Sybele ECU. Different probes will pick up the information and show it on the dashboard. There is also a wide panel with switches which control all the accessories. The blue lever is used for the handbrake.
Lighting is entrusted to Vision X LED which have proven on many competitions and are famous for their reliability and robustness.
As expected, this buggy is quipped with 40″ Maxxis Trepadors, this size is only available with a soft compound, also called sticky. Mounted on Raceline beadlock wheels. A cradle is designed at the rear of the vehicle to receive a spare wheel.
After a bad start of the 2015 season, the WSR buggy has shown its capabilities and won the King of Wales recently.