At PRI 2015 we checked in with Cody Loveland of LoveFab and talked to him about his extreme NSX-based hillclimber – the Enviate. For a thorough recap on the foundation for this advanced single-seater check out last years interview with Loveland.
To make a long story short this purpose-built tube chassis hillclimb racecar is based on the underpinnings of the Acura NSX, the custom chassis was supplemented by existing NSX subframes. A violent crash and fire in 2013 sent Loveland back to the drawing board, and the result is impressive.
The Enviate is powered by a twin-turbocharged LQ engine mounted midship for that bang-on weight distribution. Depending on the boost control and altitude (this is a hill-climber after all) the LS3 outputs between 500-700 horsepower, plenty for an anemic weight of around 1,800 pounds.
This year at PRI we revisited the Enviate to catch up with the build and learn about the advancements in chassis, suspension, aerodynamics, and salivate at the tease of a production model becoming available to the general public.
“We’ve had to reinforce some things due to the aero loading. Mainly in the suspension, we had to build some bolt-on bracing to reinforce the rocker pivots. We put loads on it higher than we ever anticipated,” explained Loveland. The increased loads the car has been experiencing are a direct result from the extensive aero package it has received.
“Sébastien Lamour works for Sauber F1 in his day job, he reached out to me last summer and the development is still ongoing, it’s not the final package. He headed-up the primary design and verified everything through CFD (computational fluid dynamics). He prepared some digital patterns which we had cut out of foam to make molds, and ultimately make the body,” he recalled. As most experimental projects are, the body is a work in progress and continues to get tweaks and adjustments to refine the aerodynamic characteristics.
“As of now there is the rear wing from last year, that’s one of the main things we’re tweaking with CFD. It’s going to be lowered to help the diffuser, we’re going to ad an additional rear wing. It’s going to be a dual-element wing right above the diffuser, and there’s going to be another wing on top used to tweak rear downforce,” Loveland continued. “We’re seeing huge gains, right now we’re at about 5,500 pounds of downforce, this is going to take it a lot higher (25-40 percent).”
One of the more exotic additions to the Enviate is it’s exhaust-blown diffuser, fans of F1 may recognize the concept as having been banned in Formula 1 but still viable for open-class racers like the Enviate. The high velocity exhaust is allow ed to exit underneath the rear diffuser tray, the low-pressure area generated sucks the car onto the road.
“The exhaust-driven diffuser is showing about 20-25 percent increase of downforce across the entire car when you’re on throttle. It’s hard to modulate when you’re off-throttle, so that’s something we’re looking into,” Loveland chuckled.
The ready to run weight of the Enviate hovers around 2,050 pounds, with the ample downforce, and abundance of horsepower it’s no doubt a handful to drive. For this reason Loveland has declared it outside his skill set (and most of the rest of the world).
“The goal is to run Pikes Peak, but we’ll be running the Grid Life events locally. I’m not going to be driving it, Paul Gerrard is slated to be the driver. After what I’ve driven and felt this year, the car is way above my skill level as a driver, it’s ridiculous,” he stated.
One of the biggest announcements is Loveland’s intention to make the Enviate available to the public as a kit, roller, or whatever other configuration the customer desires; “The car bolts at the fire wall with eight bolts, we can get the car running, tuning, sorted, then break it in half and lad it in some crates and the customer can get it together in a weekend.”
“We have two different versions; the naked version which is really similar to the PRI car last year. So no overbody but including the front wing and rear wing which provides the bulk of the downforce. Obviously we’ll also have the full carbon body car,” He concluded.
It’s exciting to see homegrown ingenuity and fabrication pushed to the limit with cars like the LoveFab Enviate. We hope Cody makes it to Pikes Peak and find success at the race to the clouds.