C270 CDi with
LPG gas injection
dates : 7th August 2005
13th August 2005
may be a major force in Formula One with McLaren. But
in South Africa, the cars are not automatically
associated with racing, and that goes double for the
The Mercedes-Benz C270 CDi is now in its second season
in the Sahara Production Car Championship, and itís
a rare diesel competitor in a race filled with
screaming high-revving petrol cars.
Developed by Vaughn Williams Racing, there are two
Merc C270s driven by Mark Allison and Hector North. Up
close, there is nothing very elegant about the
race-prepped C270, these cars having been built from
bare shells and scrap donor cars.
The big diesels compete against smaller Toyota RunXs,
Fiat Abarths and a lone Peugeot 206 in Class B,
trailing diesel smoke and engine clatter.
Merc was slow to start with, but a clever rule
interpretation has seen some special equipment
nestling in the boot, which has made all the
The racing Merc diesel is now boosted with an
injection of LPG, or Liquid Petroleum Gas!
Apart from the engine sound, the Mercedes looks every
inch a racer, the stiff chassis seeing it cock an
inside front wheel during fast cornering.
The Seagull Auto Gas kit is the brain-child of Mike
Segalla, an experienced race engineer employed by
Segalla was aware that truckers in the United States
used pure propane to boost diesel power.
The racing rules here state that no oxidants are
allowed to be added to an engine. But by adding LPG,
Segalla reasoned that the system merely added more
fuel, which is allowed in the rule book.
After much head-scratching the authorities accepted
By their nature, diesels are slow-revving. This means
an effective powerband of only 2000 revs, which makes
things busy on the gearlever for a driver.
As far as the LPG is concerned, the race programme has
led to commercial kits being built for road-going
diesel cars and bakkies in South Africa Ė a world
The proof of the pudding is in the "shnacking",
so they say. Cargo M2, a Merc dealer, provided a
standard C270 CDi for a performance yardstick. And as
our drag race showed, the stock standard engine on gas
"shnacked" the road-going car easily.
We estimated that the kit knocks a good two seconds
off the zero to one-hundred time, and top speed is up
by some twenty kilometres-per-hour.
Rules in Production Car racing donít allow internal
modifications to the engine, so the performance gains
are all due to the gas, as the race car is nearly as
heavy as the road car.
Mercedes-Benz C270 CDI Elegance
Five-cylinder turbodiesel, 2 865 cc
- Power: 125
kW @ 4 200 rpm
- Torque: 400
Nm @ 1 600 rpm
Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
consumption: 7,71 litres/100 km (Car Magazine
- Price: R334
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