Zytek Engineering of the UK has been involved in the development of hybrid drive systems since at least the mid-1990s and motorsports has been part of the effort much of that time. This week, Zytek was honored for its efforts at the Professional Motorsport World Expo. Zytek developed the hybrid system that was raced by Panoz Motorsports twice in 1999 and, more recently, it developed the KERS-hybrid system used in the McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 Formula One car this year as well as the system used by Corsa Motorsports in its American Le Mans Series LMP1 car.
Zytek and Mercedes High Performance Engines began collaborating on the F1 system in 2007 and, in July, Lewis Hamilton scored the first victory for a hybrid system in a major international race series. Here in North America, the under-funded Corsa team scored a third place finish in the first race it ran with the hybrid system fully enabled. Limited testing meant Corsa didn't have the opportunity to fully develop its system and had mixed results through the second half of the season. Nonetheless, the system is showing promise. Hopefully, in 2010 and beyond, it will see expanded use in ALMS if not Formula 1.