07.1.2013 Corporate

Successful rally partnership ended

In 2010, Swedish racer Ramona Karlsson contacted Höganäs with the hopes of finding a partner for her upcoming rally season. Almost three years later, at the end of the gear project, Ramona and Höganäs can look back at an exciting and groundbreaking collaboration from which they proved the concept of PM transmission gears and became the first ever to race with PM gears in the World Rally Championship.

Together with SwePart Transmission AB, Höganäs played an important role in Ramona’s strive for rally success. The team successfully replaced the 4th gear pair during the 2011 season and the remfaining gear pairs the following year. As a result, Ramona and her co-driver become the first Swedish girls ever to compete in the World Rally Championship and the first team to ever compete with PM gears.

- Thanks to the confidence and backing by Höganäs we have been able to reach and exceed our competitive goals and on a personal level I was able to reach a very important milestone in my career. To be the first rally driver ever to compete with PM gears – and to show that they really stand the heavy loads they are exposed to – that has been really amazing, says Ramona.

The success raised the attention among not only automotive industry members, but also Ramona’s colleagues and followers. Many were interested in the gear concept and some even asked her how they could get a hand on a similar gear box to replace their own broken-down ones. Anders Flodin, Gear Expert at Höganäs, too experienced these positive feedback.

- When I visited the other teams at the South Swedish rally I was introduced as the “powder genius who creates gear boxes that won’t break”. That was very flattering and a sign that people were talking about our project, says Anders.

For Höganäs, the main objective was to prove that PM transmission gears can stand even extreme loads. While Anders is happy to say that many skeptic transmission engineers have been convinced, he feels that more similar projects are required to completely convince the automotive industry. The passenger car industry deals with other kinds of challenges and it is now up to Höganäs and its collaboration partners to prove that PM gears provide a really interesting proposition.

- I think we do need to present something similar within two years as you typically need to convince the automotive industry more than once. We are already working on another gear project for a passenger car and we have received inquiries from companies within different kinds of motor sports, says Anders.

The project ended at a gear conference in Berlin, the International CTI Symposium and Exhibition. While Ramona admits ending the project feels a bit sad, she feels optimistic about the future and hopes that she will be able to continue her career within motor sports until retirement.

- I’ve gained so much experienced over the last few years which will be valuable for my remaining career. One of the highlights of this project was when the speakers announced the “Power of Powder Rally Team” in front of over 100,000 spectators at the World Championship premiere in Mexico. I’m also very proud of the fact that we were able to prove that women can compete on equal terms at the highest level of motor sports. These achievements are something I feel will help me in the future.

How it all started

In her preparation for the Swedish National Rally season, Ramona Karlsson was looking for potential business partners with a natural connection to racing. One of her friends told her about Höganäs and after a short visit to the company website she thought she had found her ideal partner and decided to give it a try.

At the time for Ramona’s call, Höganäs was trying to find a way to promote PM gears for passenger cars as a transmission technology for the future. Despite the significant differences between gears for rally cars and passenger cars, Höganäs decided to accept her proposal.

- Our goal was to get PM gears into mass production for passenger cars so initially I had my doubts about where this would take us. However the opportunity to test gears and to prove to that PM transmission gears can stand very heavy loads was too good to turn down, says Anders Flodin.