Car competitions take place all over the world and crews have to deal with different surfaces, climates, weather fluctuations or lighting conditions. For the average driver, high-beam headlights help in the dark. But the driver needs more assistance, which is why additional headlights are used in rally sport.
Car competitions take place all over the world and crews have to deal with different surfaces, climates, weather fluctuations or lighting conditions. For the average driver, high-beam headlights help in the dark. But the driver needs more assistance, which is why additional headlights are used in rally sport. As the speed of the racing specials increased, so did the requirements for this artificial lighting. Today, LED technology is leading the trend.
LED technology and optical map of additional lights
In2013, the FIA approved LED technology as supplementary lighting in motorsport. After the decision that a module with multiple LEDs is considered as a single headlight, there was no longer any obstacle to the spread of LED auxiliary headlights to all motorsport disciplines. A prerequisite for lights for road racing is to meet the ECE certification for road use, the so-called homologation.
Thanks to LED technology, today the lights can shine for miles. But speed racing isn't just about the power of the driving light. Optimal light distribution, the so-called optical map, is also important.
LEDs in combination with special optics allow us to build the optical map in any way we want. The rider must not only see into the distance in a straight line, but the lights must also illuminate a wide area for peripheral vision. The light map therefore contains intense points for distance vision and a wide-angle pattern of lower illumination intensity. DEVINN's developers are able to arrange the diodes and lenses exactly according to the rider's preferences.
Additional lights of Czech production and world victories
The first DEVINN lights were developed four years ago to meet the requirements of the optimum light map for the fastest ŠKODA Motorsport drivers. It's all the work of Czech developers and handmade quality production from Jablonec nad Nisou. DEVINN produces and delivers around one hundred of these headlights every year.
Photo: Rally Sweden 2017
The lights of the Czech company DEVINN first started in 2017 at Rally Sweden. The ŠKODA Motorsport factory team of Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson wore them on the bonnet of the FABIA R5 special. This rally was one of the fastest rallies on snow and ice in the history of the World Championship. Tidemand reigned supreme in all conditions, including the night test, and won the race.
The lights have quickly become a part of every night time stage for the ŠKODA Motorsport factory team. They are an optional extra on the FABIA R5 and its evo successors. Since 2017, they have always stood on the podium with the factory team in the WRC2 category.
Photo: Rally Catalunya 2018
Most of the competitors' lights are either underpowered, do not have an optimal light map or lack homologation. DEVINN lights meet FIA standards, are lightweight, waterproof and homologated for road use. They are modular - a set of 2 to 4 lights on the front bonnet ramp and possibly another 2 lights on the front bumper, called scrapers. The luminosity of the assembly is thus easily controlled by the number of lights.
The harsh conditions of the rally, including dust and stones, have since required only minor modifications to the cover glass. The lights are now even more durable.
DEVINN produces three lines of high-end headlights
Based on its success with these lights, DEVINN decided to expand its portfolio to include truck lights, for example. This year, the driver Tomáš Tomeček drove his Tatra over the Paris - Dakar route in the Africa Eco Race 2020. And he deservedly stood on the podium.
Photo: Africa Eco Race 2020
DEVINN currently offers three series of additional headlights:
PHOTON Rally - A combination of four to six headlamps developed according to the requirements of the optimum light map of the fastest ŠKODA Motorsport drivers. Approved for road use. These lights have been manufactured exclusively for ŠKODA Motorsport since 2017.
PHOTON Truck - The latest technology designed for demanding off-road conditions. The lights celebrated success on the Paris - Dakar route this year. They are suitable for both trucks and passenger racing cars.
PHOTON Classic - Special series of led headlights developed for vintage rally. The lights are built into classic round light housings reminiscent of vintage incandescent lights, but with the luminosity of LED technology.
Photo: Wales Rally 2019
How the development took place, the technologies used
Construction and testing of the lights took place not only in the company's development centre in Mladá Boleslav, but also in the lighting laboratory in Jablonec nad Nisou and with other partners. The first driving tests on competition specials took place in the autumn of 2016. "During the development we had to deal with three problems - weight, cooling and waterproofing of the whole assembly. Of course, computer simulations helped us a lot. Testing directly on the competition cars allowed us to fine-tune the details," adds Luboš Hajský, owner of DEVINN.
In the construction of the optical system, the most modern optical elements were used - the so-called TIR collimators. "These are basically lenses that work on the principle of total reflection from the interface of two environments with different refractive indices. Thanks to this, the light from the LEDs can be directed with minimal loss of luminous flux. The installed electronics monitor the operating temperature of 60 degrees and the stability of the output when the voltage drops down to 9 volts," explains Karel Souček, DEVINN's head of development.
Photo source: www.skoda-storyboard.com, own database
What does the Dakar Rally and light have in common? For us at DEVINN, everything. We made a bespoke headlight for Tomáš Tomeček's legendary Tatra car, and we are also working with ŠKODA Motorsport to develop headlights. But when Ondra Klymčiw came to us and said he needed additional headlights in four days.
This is the biggest change in the FIA's technical regulations in 30 years. The WRC championship is entering an era of electromobility. The reason for the changes is to eliminate the environmental impact of rally sport. From 2022, we will see plug-in hybrid racing specials in the Rally1 category.
They call him Captain Solo or Desert Master. He describes himself as "old school" and a proponent of original values. Tomas Tomecek, for the third time, set out on a long journey to Dakar without a navigator and mechanic. Only he himself behind the wheel of a serial Tatra compared to modern electronics-laden specials. And once again he was on the podium.