Manufacturer: Optilux (Hella)
Product: 4" HID Driving Headlamps
Review By: Bryan Pendleton
The need for some headlamps surfaced when our endurance race team decided to enter into a full 24-hour endurance race with the ChumpCar organization. Our beat-up and tattered 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R and 1991 Honda Civic Hatchback needed a light solution that would provide ample light for racing at speeds at just over a 100-MPH. Being a bunch of geeky engineers we tried to apply logic to our decisions. First we needed lots of lumens. For lumens there simply is not substitute for xenon lighting (HID). Second we needed to ensure we had adequate cornering lighting and distance lighting. An effective flood pattern should address the cornering and we estimated that 500-ft of light should be adequate for this type of racing. If you run the calculations (recall geeky engineers) 500-ft of light will give you about 3.5 seconds worth of visibility at 100-MPH, which should provide us with confidence when most are averaging speeds on 65-MPH to 75-MPH on TWS and MSR. Finally, they needed to be properly aimed. This is where we call in our team welder to fabricate us a light bar. So the question now is "how do you secure a high-end lighting solution on a ChumpCar or LeMons budget?" Now you could easily drop $1000-$2000 and more on a good lighting solution, but this is LeMons racing and the idea of spending $1000+ on lighting for a $500 race car sounds absurd.
Our first step was to seek out experienced advice. What were the real LeMans teams racing with? What about rally cars? We contacted several shops that provide aftermarket lighting solutions for rally racers, off-roaders, and road racers. The unanimous consensus was that we need to run the Optilux 4" HID driving lights. Opti-who? Optilux. Optilux is a brand developed by Hella and manufactured overseas. The Optilux products are beat on and tested by Hella and then sold to consumers at very LeMony prices. So why are they so inexpensive? First of all, unlike most Hella lighting solutions, Optilux products are not serviceable. If they break you throw them out and replace the entire lamp. Second, the materials are not as robust as most of the Hella solutions. Aluminums and other metals are replaced with plastics to reduce cost and simplify manufacturing. But after a number of recommendations, I hope to show you that the end output is quit remarkable. And even better yet is the price. For about $225, you get two HID lamps, wiring harness, relay, switch and lamp covers. Fantastic!
The first test was a simple comparison test to get a sense of the general lumen output of these lamps. In this quick test we compared the OEM HID lighting on a 2005 Infiniti G35 with two of the Optilux 4" HID lamps. I will let the pictures do most of the talking, but my only response when performing this test was "WOW!". WOW! This test confirmed that we indeed had massive lumens and we were confident that a pair of these lamps could be aimed to provide ample cornering light.
The next test was to ensure we had our targeted minimum of 500-ft of lighting. Details coming soon....