KTM confirmed today what it announced during the reveal of the production X-Bow in Geneva: it will be campaigning a race-spec version of its four-wheeled track tool in this year's FIA GT4 European Cup in the new "Sports Light" class. The team will be operated by Reiter Engineering, the same outfit that worked with Lamborghini on the GT1, GT2 and GT3 races in previous years, as a way to remain focused on more consumer-oriented versions of the X-Bow.
Loris Bicocchi, who helped develop the X-Bow and has tested numerous vehicles including the Koenigsegg CCR, and Catharina Felser, a former Formula Ford and Formula 3 participant, will campaign the race-spec X-Bow during the series. The competition version of the car has been modified to meet FIA regulations with steel rollover bars (versus the production model's aluminum units), a revised exhaust system that uses a racing silencer, extended wheel covers, added layers of zylon fiber that aim to prevent penetration by track debris and a slightly retuned suspension that can hold up to the rigors of wheel-to-wheel action. All told, the modifications are minimal, which speaks volumes about how well engineered the X-Bow is right out of the box.
For those of you who've placed your orders for the production version, deliveries are still set for this summer.
KTM's full press release is posted after the jump.
KTM X-BOW TO DEBUT IN 2008 SPORTS LIGHT SERIES WITHIN THE FIA GT4 CHAMPIONSHIP
* Reiter Engineering enter two KTM X-Bow cars in the 2008 GT4 European Cup
* Opening race at Silverstone on 20 April will mark the new car's competition debut
* GT4 entry will 'drive' development of production- and future racing-versions of X-Bow
* Series production of KTM X-Bow road-legal sports car begins Summer 2008
KTM Sportcar GmbH is pleased to announce the entry of two of its stunning X-Bow track cars in this year's FIA GT4 European Cup. Competing in the newly-created 'Sport Lights' class, the cars will be prepared and raced by German-based motor racing specialists Reiter Engineering, which has operated successful Lamborghini racing teams in the FIA GT1, GT2 and GT3.
The decision by KTM to place the racing premiere of X-Bow in the hands of Reiter, rather than enter the championship under a factory-run operation, was taken to allow KTM to use the GT4 entry as a pilot project to 'drive' development of future customer motor sport applications as well as the production model.
The entry of the KTM sports cars into the championship, prior to the start of series production of the X-Bow car this Summer, will mark the competition debut of X-Bow, and is focused primarily on the 'acid test' development of the car under gruelling race conditions.
This strategy will ensure that KTM X-Bow stays true to the brand's 'Ready to Race' philosophy, and this is further underlined by the brand's decision to draw upon the vast expertise of world-renowned racing driver Loris Bicocchi in the development of the X-Bow.
Italian Loris Bicocchi, who will be one of two drivers competing in the Reiter team, has been heavily involved in the development of the KTM X-Bow from the outset as test driver and played an important role in the chassis tuning of the vehicle. Biccochi's former motor sport experience has included the testing, development and racing of many of the world's most prestigious supercars – including the Koenigsegg CCR.
Bicocchi will be joined by German driver Catharina Felser whose racing experience includes Formula Ford and Formula 3 series. Both drivers' participation in the forthcoming GT4 test sessions and race weekends will provide further valuable development data for KTM.
Pilot Project for developing future X-Bow variants
Together with development partner Dallara, Reiter Engineering and KTM have prepared the X-Bow for participation in the new GT4 Sports Light Series in record time.
The changes made to the GT4 racing X-Bow (compared with the series production model) are predominantly related to additional safety equipment demanded by the FIA regulations. In the racing KTM X-Bow for example, the rollover bars are made of steel instead of aluminium; additional layers of zylon fibre are fastened to the flanks of the monocoque to prevent the penetration of sharp objects; the exhaust system has a racing silencer; the wheel covers are extended; there is added protection between the front and rear wheels; and the chassis is tuned to the specific requirements of racing.
These modifications are so minor that they highlight the fundamentally sporting design of the KTM X-Bow, confirming that even the road car has the soul of a racing car. Its unique carbon fibre monocoque, double-wishbone suspension system and sophisticated pushrod damping system on the front axle, are all design features inspired by the highest classes of motor sports. Even in the series production version, the aerodynamics achieve top marks for downforce, while the car's low centre of gravity and chassis design permit lateral acceleration values (G forces) which go far beyond the usual limits achieved by road-legal homologated cars. The KTM X-Bow doesn't just look fast – it is fast, and is now setting out to prove it.
For KTM, this first and very early race participation of the X-Bow is perfectly logical for a number of reasons. It will provide important feedback in the final phase of the series production car development. It will serve as a trial run for future customer motor sport projects and it will advance the development of the racing sport version of the X-Bow that KTM will be offering as an independent model from the end of 2008.
Apart from all these pragmatic goals, the company is also very enthusiastic about the anticipated performance of its first sports car in the GT4 Sports Light Series. KTM is eagerly looking forward to the premiere of the X-Bow on the motor sports scene – to enjoying exciting races, to taking on a top-calibre field of starters and to writing a new chapter in the history of the brand.