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RYCO Filters are always pushing the envelope, and in 2021 they have upped the ante, launching a technical partnership with Tickford Racing. More than just a sponsorship deal, RYCO will be providing the team with a variety of filtration products to assist in their endeavour to secure the 2021 Supercar Championship.
“We’re extremely excited about our technical partnership with Tickford Racing,” said Tony Sheedy, General Manager - Sales, RYCO Group Pty Ltd. “It signals the next horizon for the group as we test new innovations in what is considered the world’s most competitive touring car championship.”
RYCO has a long and successful history in Australia that can be traced all the way back to 1936.
“RYCO was born out of the war effort when the Defence Department partnered with Ryan Co. to manufacture and supply filters to military vehicles deployed in North Africa and the Pacific theatres,” Tony explained. “Once peace was declared, Ryan Co. was purchase by GUD, and RYCO was born.”
Right from the very beginning, RYCO has been based in Melbourne's West, originally situated on the Maribyrnong River, close to the Williamstown shipyards. The unique grey colour that has become synonymous with RYCO’s iconic spin-on oil filers can be traced back to the founder, Bill Ryan's entrepreneurial spirit.
“Rumor has it that Bill soured battleship grey, surplus paint from the Williamstown shipyards at discounted prices,” Tony explained. “And while the shade has changed and is a little lighter today, that entrepreneurial spirit is still a driving force at RYCO.”
That entrepreneurial spirit, combined with RYCO’s commitment to innovation, was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. While spin-on oil filters are still one of RYCO’s largest segments, their air, fuel, and cabin filter ranges have grown significantly in the recent past.
“Our technology, especially in cabin air, has come a long way with our new N99 medical grade media for cabin air filters,” Tony explained. “The COVID-19 pandemic introduced the wider community to the value of the N99 medical grade media, and our new N99 Cabin Filter range was developed to leverage that increased knowledge.”
In addition, RYCO has also redesigned their 10 most popular Cabin Air Filters to ensure that they completely seal in the vehicle's HVAC system to stop bypass, a common issue with many OE filters. The team are currently working through the redesign of the rest of their extensive to Cabin Air Filter range to ensure they provide the same level of protection to vehicle occupants.
Combined, these two new innovations have raised the benchmark for Cabin Air Filters.
RYCO's design philosophy, to meet or exceed original equipment performance, has long been a driving force and their new Cabin Air range certainly highlights their commitment to this mantra.
“For every product in our extensive range, our benchmark, at a minimum, is that we meet OE performance, said Tony. “But in reality, our ultimate goal is to exceed OE performance, and while our innovation in cabin filter technology is an excellent example of achieving this goal, we're investing the same amount of effort into every one of our product ranges.
“When we identify an issue with an OE product, we build an improvement into the RYCO product offering,” Tony explained. “And our in-house innovation and technology laboratory allows us to design, prototype, and test new product innovations and commercialize them quickly.”
“Our ability to get new products to market fast ensures our competitors are always playing catch-up,” he added.
RYCO’s new Hilux catch-can fitting kit is an excellent example of RYCO’s streamlined product development process.
“The 4WD market is huge for us right now, and our new catch can, fuel water separator, has proved extremely popular,” Tony described. “To make installation quick and easy, we have developed model-specific kits. Our innovation lab houses 3D printers and 3D scanners that allow us to scan a Hilux engine bay, print the bracket, and test fit it prior to production.”
RYCO are also longtime supporters of the AAAA, and their membership provides them with access to the association's Automotive Innovation Centre, which offers critical engineering and product development support.
“I’d say that we’d have an engineering team down at the AIS at least once every couple of weeks weeks,” said Tony. “They’re constantly crawling over one of the large variety of vehicles housed at the facility, to assess OE quality, assess new product opportunities and test fit prototypes.
“It’s a fantastic initiative on the part of the AAAA, and speaking from experience, I know the facility is helping Australian brands to improve their own local product development,” he added.
RYCO’s recently announced technical partnership with Tickford Racing is also proving to be a fertile ground for new product development, with plans in place to launch a new range of racing-specific filtration products.
“It’s early days, but we’re already working hand-in-hand with Tickford’s engineers on product development,” said Tony. “We’ve never played in this space before, but we’re excited about the potential to grow this market segment.”
RYCO’s initial starting point in motorsport was focused on fuel filtration one inline and one in-tank, both designed to protect the V8 power plant of a Supercar, but quickly expanded to include oil, intake and cabin air filtration.
“Our two new fuel filters we’re developed specifically with V8 supercar’s in mind and we’ve already fulfilled orders from other teams competing in the Supercars Championship,” Tony explained. “We haven't made a big song and dance about yet because at this stage, the cars haven’t hit the track in anger for the 2021 season, but we’re very confident in our potential to grow our racing filtration range.”
Of course, fuel isn’t the only thing that needs to be filtered on these high-performance thoroughbreds. RYCO has already has the Z160ST SynTec Oil Filter installed in the Tickford Mustangs, and is working on intake, and racing cabin filtration systems, to increase their penetration into this new market segment.
“What many people don’t realise is that driver comfort and fatigue have a significant impact on performance during a race,” said Tony. “The cabin of a Supercar is a pretty extreme environment in which drivers have to operate at their peak for extended periods, and air quality is critical. As a result, we have been working with the team at Tickford Racing to improve their already high-tech cabin and helmet air filtration systems.”
Anyone with even the slightest interest in motorsport should tune in and watch this year’s Supercar Series as it promises to deliver one of the most hotly contested championships for many years as a result of several driver changes and a number of technical updates.
“With 2020 champion Scott McLaughlin heading off to the states to compete in the Indy Car series, Tickford have emerged as one of the favorites in 2021,” Tony remarked.
Tickford is fielding three entries in the 2021 Supercars Championship. While the iconic RYCO logo appears prominently of James Courtney’s Mustang, all three Tickford Mustangs will run RYCO branding on the outside and will have Ryco Filters protecting the power plant.
“We’re confident our technical partnership will give Tickford an edge against some tough competition,” said Tony. “And the lessons we learn at the race track will certainly flow down to our wider range.”
All RYCO products are designed, tested, and manufactured to perform in Australia’s severe conditions, from the latest Mercedes Benz C63 to the Toyota Land Cruiser that racks up plenty of country miles, RYCO’s extensive range will help protect your customers' vehicles, whatever they drive.
“Australian’s have a huge appetite for European vehicles,” Tony remarked. “And when they are delivered new, these are running around in high dust conditions with filters that are designed for the rolling hills of Southern Germany, not the Australian outback.
“In many applications, our filtration solutions will deliver improved performance when tested against OE equipment, regardless of where the vehicle was manufactured,” he added.
RYCO has enjoyed more than 80 years of success in Australia’s automotive aftermarket. With their continued focus on quality, innovation, and technical excellence, there is little doubt that the next 80 years will deliver even greater business outcomes.
“I'm privileged to be part of a high-performing team and a business with the vision, resources, and history of success like RYCO,” said Tony. “I believe that everyone in the business would agree that we're just custodians of this brand for a small moment in time of the brand's history.
“And my personal goal is to leave it in a better than position than I found it, to make sure that it's strong for another 80 years,” he added.