John McPhee gave a new Mahindra gearbox its race debut as a wild-card entry in the Catalunya round of the CEV Junior World Championship.
Following intermittent gear-shifting issues this season, the Indian manufacturer introduced a new shifting mechanism for the Catalunya Grand Prix, the previous weekend.
But McPhee's machine took development one stage further for the CEV round, where the 'all-new transmission' offering 'faster and smoother changes both up and down the gears' was available.
McPhee, who rode his Peugeot-branded machine to 15th in the GP, qualified seventh at the CEV, then finished eleventh and ninth in the races.
“I'm really happy with this new gearbox,” McPhee said. “It worked faultlessly throughout the weekend which of course is the most important thing.
“For the lap time is doesn't make so much difference, but for a consistent lap it's much better so it's easier to ride consistently without making any mistakes in terms of riding due to gearing issues now.
“Beyond that we used the track time wisely to try and test some parts which is not possible during a grand prix weekend. Overall, I was seven tenths faster than in the grand prix weekend here so I think it was a positive test.”
Crew chief Mark Keen added: “Unfortunately, [the gearbox] is not a big step forward lap time wise but it's much, much nicer for the riders because now there are no more missed gears or other issues. So that of course is excellent.
“Obviously we're a little disappointed about the race results. Especially the first race, which began with a poor start, so we worked hard on that for race two. John did a much better start this time but was not taking too many risks because the world championship is the most important for all of us.”
Mahindra plans to make the gearbox available to all of its grand prix riders at the Austrian Grand Prix, after the summer break.
A Mahindra spokesman told Crash.net
: “The team were very happy with the gearbox. Jorge Martinez [Aspar] considered it a good step forward. We're still aiming to have it homologated and ready to go in Austria.”
By Peter McLaren