Kibbetech Racing had the opportunity to test out the new Holley HydraMat on their no. 1466 race truck. Kibbetech Racing competes in the South Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts (SNORE) 1450 class.
The Kibbetech-prepped Ford Ranger, driven by Justin Oquendo, is powered by a 418 cubic inch LS3 that is controlled by a Holley Dominator EFI system. An engine this powerful needs a consistent fuel supply, which is something that is hard to come by in off-road racing.
Off-roaders have tried many tricks such as sumps, foam, and anything else they can think of to continue to get constant fuel as they are racing through the desert. Kibbetech put Holley’s HydraMat to the test to try and remedy their problems.
The HydraMat solves the problems associated with traditional fuel pick-ups in stock fuel tanks as well as racing fuel cells. It greatly reduces the potential for air to enter into the fuel system which can result in poor engine performance and/or engine stalling.
The way that this product works helps is by having an area of the HydraMat uncovered. Tiny pores in the media seal off through surface tension, forcing fuel to be drawn from other areas of the mat where fuel continues to be available. Surface tension and fluid wicking allow the HydraMat to continue to draw fuel from the tank or cell even when part of the mat uncovered.
“Since the install of the mat, we have just over 300 off-road miles on the race truck. On our first day of testing we intentionally ran the truck out of fuel and to my surprise, when the truck was out of gas it quit; no missing, no surging, no drop in fuel pressure – the truck just stopped,” said Oquendo when asked how testing went.
From the moment they installed the mat they were able to tell a difference in the way the truck performed.
“On our second day of testing the following weekend, we decided to run a few more low-fuel level tests to get an accurate account of the benefits of the HydraMat. We plotted out just over a 2-mile loop – with large berms, tight twisting sand washes, and a few small jumps.”
“Again we started off with two gallons of fuel added to a completely dry fuel system. Upon starting the race truck, the first thing I noticed was that the fuel line had held its line pressure from the fuel pump to the HydraMat without the use of a one-way check valve,” stated Oquendo after the second day of testing.
The team completed one more day of testing with the same results. The race truck held fuel pressure regardless of what was thrown at it, including being tested in 106 degree weather.
The point to test the mat and the truck during the hot weather was to try and vapor-lock the fuel cell. Vapor lock happens when liquid fuel vaporizes, changes to a gas, prior to entering the combustion chamber. The pumps in a fuel delivery system are designed to pump liquids, not gases.
The fuel pump cannot pump gas well, so the fuel pressure drops and fuel stops being delivered to the engine. With no fuel the car will not run, hence ‘lock’ the vehicle.
Kibbetech ran the truck till the sending unit showed them they were almost out of fuel. Bringing the truck into the pits the inside of the fuel cell temperature read 207 degrees. They topped of the truck with ten more gallons of fuel and continued testing.
After the second run, Oquendo said “Our temperatures after our second 40-mile loop were 208 degrees on a thermo-gun. Again we had the same result – zero drops in fuel pressure, zero vapor lock while running the truck under extreme conditions.”
“We were extremely pleased with the results of the HydraMat helping to prevent vapor lock. This is the real-world data that matters to true race teams. Finding a single product that is capable of solving so many small fuel issues in motorsports is a breakthrough in engineering,” Oquendo said when asked his final thoughts on the HydraMat.
The Kibbetech Racing team will be putting the HydraMat in their fuel cell during every race in an effort to defend their 2014 SNORE 1450 championship. The next race will be the KC HiLites Midnight Special in September.