REAL WORLD R&D BENEFITS ACL CUSTOMERS
ACL is heavily involved in the motorsport scene and its experience has resulted in market-leading products
ACL has been manufacturing precision automotive engine bearings in the northern suburbs of Launceston, Tasmania, for eight decades.
The business was begun by Repco in 1949, before transferring to be known as ACL in 1986. The company was initially formed to supply the developing Australian automotive industry at the OEM and replacement level, but soon entered the world of motorsport with an intimate involvement with the world championship winning Repco Brabham Formula One program.
This relationship yielded two world championships for Sir Jack Brabham in 1966 and 1967, with Sir Jack visiting the Launceston ACL plant on several occasions to view the manufacturing of the bearings during this time.
Today, ACL produces one of the largest aftermarket ranges of engine bearings, including the RACE Series Performance Engine Bearing range which caters for more than 200 engine applications for Australian, American, Japanese, Korean and European vehicles. Its motorsport involvement has similarly grown to new heights.
“We are very proud of our involvement in motorsport in Australia, in particular our relationship with the iconic Supercars Championship. This connection dates back to the early seventies and has developed and grown with the category through its many forms and iterations,” ACL Bearing Company (Australia) General Manager, Chris Brooks, said.
In particular, we have had a very special and continuous relationship with one team, what is now known as the Penrite Racing Team, since the magnificent days of Larry Perkins back in the early 90s.
“We love seeing the Penrite cars on track displaying the ACL brand. This cooperation has covered Holden, Nissan and Ford products and has seen massive developments in engine technology with each application having its own idiosyncrasies.
“We have been fortunate enough to have been involved in the endless pursuit for power and performance of the team and this has helped drive our product developments and challenged traditional thinking and methods.”
In addition to providing ACL with the ultimate in real word product testing, the company’s involvement with Supercars provides media exposure across a wide array of platforms, with events such as the Bathurst 1000 delivering a huge audience across Australia and New Zealand.
“We are very fortunate to be able to leverage our relationship with the team through social media, customer ride days, driver visits to the factory in Launceston during the annual Symmons Plains event and driver promotional activities and customer interface opportunities,” Chris said.
Supercars isn’t the only motorsport involvement for ACL, with the company in fact playing a part in a wide range of motorsport disciplines and categories globally.
For instance, ACL has long term partnerships with top Irish drift drivers, Jack Shanahan, Conor Shanahan and James Deane, who compete in the European, British and Irish series.
It also sponsors drifting in Tasmania at the grassroots levels through the Island State Drift Series and as a partner of local drift driver Brodie Maher who has just been crowned as the Drift Allstars Australia Champion.
Further, ACL is in its second year as a series sponsor of the Hyundai Excel Racing Association of Victoria and is the naming rights sponsor of the Hyundai Excel Racing Tasmania (HERT) 2022 inaugural season – for which it developed a RACE Series Performance Engine Bearing a few years back.
ACL is also passionate about supporting and fostering the next generation of Tasmanian talent and has recently announced new partnerships with two young up and coming racers, Formula Ford racer Harrison Sellars in his maiden season of competition in the national series, and Charlie Parker, who is competing in the HERT series.
The company is also proud to hold a number of drag racing partnerships, including supporting Australian Errol Brittain with his Subaru Brumby – the quickest four-cylinder Subaru EJ25 in the world – in the Outlaw 325 series; the USA’s Lizzy Musi in the Discovery Channel reality TV series, Street Outlaws; and the UK’s Robin Read and his Daimler Dragster as well as Steve Venables with his Suzuki Hayabusa drag bike.
During 2022 ACL has also extended its community involvement in Motorsport by partnering with Racing with Autism Australia (RWAA). RWAA was established in Tasmania in June 2020 with the aim to support five people on the Autism spectrum involved in motor racing. RWAA is now a not-for-profit organisation now supporting over 30 racers across Australia.
“As well as providing content for our social media outlets and printed product, sponsorships such as these give ACL an ‘inside line’ on the thinking and planning of participants in a wide range of racing,” Chris said.
“This provides early intel on future engines of interest and how they are expected to perform. This not only means that ACL can be ahead of the game in making bearings available to prospective users, but also provides more time to ensure that the individual bearing designs are fully refined prior to launch.
“ACL’s customers are our best Research and Development resource. Sponsorship allows direct contact with users across a broad range of engine types and race categories which enables ACL to continually refresh and deepen the knowledge and expertise that are essential for exceeding engine builders’ expectations into the future.
“Sponsorship also leads to a level of mutual trust and cooperation that provides ACL with in-depth knowledge of how and why leaders in a variety of race fields use ACL Race Series performance engine bearings.
“This knowledge feeds directly back into ACL’s materials development and advanced bearing design strategies. This means that ACL can be proactive rather than reactive in responding to the evolution of engine variants, components and tuning within these race codes.
“More broadly, ACL’s development of bearings for a range of performance applications means that there is an emphasis on toughness and adaptability that provides an extra layer of confidence for engine builders, with lessons we have learnt from the track applied to our product engineering and development.”
To learn more about ACL, visit www.aclperformance.com.au