Sadly, it's not the meth-injected 6.7L V8 with massive twin turbos shooting flames out of the hood or a futuristic electric motor whine from hard acceleration on the track. It's something a little more transformative, something that'll help propel our two 2018 Volkswagen GTI TCRs towards the front of the pack this 2019 racing season.
Fundamentally, all of these cars couldn't be more different. Our VW GTI TCRs are front-wheel drive while the Formula E cars are rear-wheel drive, and the Hoonigan 'Hoonicorn' can go from all-wheel drive to two-wheel drive on the fly. Ours is a factory-developed touring car capable of racing in multiple series, the Formula E cars are highly-developed all-electric race cars that are the first of their kind, and the 'Hoonicorn' is a 1400HP beast made to tear tires to shreds purely for entertainment.
The common thread that ties these three mechanical monsters together is their Sadev sequential gearboxes. Based out of France, Sadev is one of the top names in high-performance gearboxes across the globe. They are now the official gearbox suppliers of WRC, WTCC, as well as multiple teams in Formula E—which includes e.Dams Renault who have multiple Formula E championships under their belt.
While all of these cars use Sadev gearboxes, just like the cars themselves, the gearboxes couldn't differ more from one another. Starting with the one we've quickly become very familiar with, the Sadev ST82-17 in our VW TCRs. This six-speed sequential is made specifically for the 1.6L and 2.0L turbo engines, and features straight cut gears with interchangeable ratios. The most amazing part of this gearbox is the fact that it only weighs 83lbs. With everything that goes along with the swap, we saved roughly 100lbs going from DSG to sequential.
The Sadev SC924 in the 'Hoonicorn' is an entirely different beast. Like ours, it's a six-speed, but that's where the similarities end. Manufactured for drifting and rally-raid, this gearbox is a robust piece of kit. Weighing in at 127lbs (which is still incredibly slim for what it is), it features a nifty differential locking system. That, coupled with the two-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive locking system is what allows the Hoonigan 'Hoonicorn' to continuously roast tires take after take.
Most different from the two above is the two-speed Sadev sequential being run by Renault e.dams Formula E team. As mentioned, we know it's a two-speed, one gear being a starter gear and the other a race gear. This maximizes acceleration off the line while removing the need to shift during the race. One stand out point is that this Sadev sequential has an entirely carbon-fiber case allowing the Renault to run at the minimum weight requirement for the series—whereas competitors are still above that mark. Unfortunately, with these gearboxes being bespoke, photos and more details aren't readily available.
The images in the gallery below are from the first day of the sequential installation at our partner, Heinlein Racing Development's, shop. This is just a little teaser of the full install that will be featured on the blog in the coming weeks. We'll also mention it in Season two of The Paddock, which will be featured on our YouTube channel. Don't forget to subscribe to stay up to date and get all the new episodes pushed right to your inbox.
Writer/Editor at FCP Euro and owner of a daily R53 MINI Cooper, a track-built R53 MINI, and a 1997 Dakar Yellow E36 M3 Sedan. ••• Instagram: @evan.madore