Xtrac Limited, also known as Xtrac Transmission Technology, is a British engineering company founded in 1984 by the former Hewland engineer Mike Endean to make 4WD systems and gearboxes for rallycross and later rally and racing cars. Endean, together with Chris Goddard, who had been working on the electronic components essential to the system, in 1983 developed the first ever Xtrac 4WD system for Norwegian rallycross star Martin Schanche. Schanche had thought up the idea of a during driving changeable hydraulic 4WD system (his 1984 ERC winning Ford Escort Mk3 Xtrac/Zakspeed had a stepless FWD:RWD ratio of 28:72 to 50:50) and financed its development. This 560bhp strong so-called Xtrac 1 (see image at right) was bought by Endean in the mid-1990s, who is still racing it himself in carsprints and hillclimbs from time to time.
"Xtrac started making gearboxes in the late 1980s for the then-new Group A rally cars from their original premises in Wokingham and then continued to do so after moving in 1986 to a new 20,00 sq ft factory in Finchampstead."
In 2000, Xtrac built a bespoke 88,000 sq ft high tech factory in Thatcham, Berkshire, England, and is currently supplying many top level sectors of motor sport, including F1, Prototype and GT Sportscars, IndyCar, GRAND-AM, Rally cars and Touring cars. In 2010 the company supplied its complete 1044 gearbox, designed and developed in only six months to three F1 teams: Lotus, Virgin and HRT. This is mated to the Cosworth CA2010 engine. Xtrac is also official gearbox supplier of Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team since 2010 season.
Gould Racing, based in Newbury, Berkshire, built the one-off Gould Ford Puma for Mike Endean (nowadays retired and living on Guernsey), which features Xtrac four-wheel-drive, and has won the Brighton Speed Trials four times in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
In addition to supplying many high profile motorsport customers, Xtrac has expanded in other areas such as Automotive, Marine and Aerospace. The Pagani Huayra was a notable vehicle which used the Xtrac 1007 AMT transmission.
- Motor Sport, April 2010, Pages 108–109
- Racecar Engineering, Vol 20 No 3, March 2010, Pages 31–36.