BEHA partner – Prodrive
In 2015 Prodrive became a partner of Faradair® to assist with the development of the carbon composite airframe for the prototype BEHA. One year later this relationship has matured into a new Joint Venture, with the establishment of ‘Hybraero’ and the new H600 Hybrid propulsion system for general aviation.
Prodrive is one of the world’s leading motorsport and technology groups. With its headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire, it employs more than 500 staff, runs motorsport programmes for Aston Martin, Subaru USA, MINI and VW and works with most of the leading vehicle manufacturers in the UK and customers in the aerospace, defence and Marine sectors, including innovative projects such as Land Rover BAR, Britain’s entry for the Americas Cup yacht race and the Faradair® ‘BEHA’ new aircraft programme.
Since 1984 Prodrive has won six World Rally titles, four Le Mans 24 Hours titles, three FIA WEC titles, four British Touring Car Championships and the Le Mans Series among many other national and international race and rally series. From this success within motorsport, the company has expanded to become a leading advanced technology provider with some of the finest carbon composite manufacturing facilities in the world.
The company is partnered with ‘Land Rover BAR’ the new British entry for the Americas Cup as well as partnership on projects such as the European Space Agency Mars Rover and the McLaren P1 road car. Prodrive has a long association with Aston Martin and it has been a key partner in the development of their race cars and special projects such as the ‘Vulcan’ hypercar.
It is due to this world class pedigree that Faradair® decided to expand our partnership to include the new Hybraero H600 hybrid engine.
The engine will be a clean sheet design, state of the art internal combustion engine (ICE), delivering 300hp and able to run on JetA1 fuel or Biofuel alternative. In addition to the ICE the engine will incorporate twin electric motors that can also deliver 300hp to deliver a twin power source hybrid propulsion system.
The Prodrive engineering team are currently working on the engine configuration and design and we will share more details as the programme develops. The engineers involved in this project have been responsible for some of the most powerful and innovative motorsport engines in recent years, with proven reliability in various motorsport categories. Technology from aerospace often found its way into the motorsport sector and now we are seeing motorsport developments finding their way into the aerospace sector.
Prodrive was founded by David Richards CBE, he is now chairman of the group and he has a long history and passion for aviation. His desk is made from part of a DC3 aircraft and he was once the youngest pilot in Wales. He has continued his flying to this day and for him the move into aviation technology is a natural step for Prodrive, as highlighted in his recent statement – “We have become accustomed to hybrid cars and the environmental benefits they offer, so it makes complete sense to take the same technologies proven in the automotive industry and apply them to aviation. Unlike with cars though, hybrid engines can also offer light aircraft significant safety benefits as well as the ability to reduce noise pollution in urban areas during take and off and landing. It is yet another project for Prodrive in the aerospace sector and one which shows just how much the company has diversified over the last decade.”