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High-strength aluminium

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Despite not being fettered by overbearing regulation, the use of aluminium in the production engine remains popular because the material has much merit. While there are many production applications where lower-density materials such as magnesium or non-metallics are becoming more popular, the position of aluminium in racing is assured as there are many race series that mandate its use for certain applications. While cast aluminium is likely to maintain its dominance for structural...

Electric motors

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There has been a flurry of activity recently in motor racing associated with the use of electric power, either in the form of a hybrid system or as 'pure electric' motorsport. Motorcycle racing has been in the forefront of this movement. For those wanting to develop electric or hybrid vehicle technology, motorcycles offer a cheap route to doing so; they also encourage well-packaged, low-mass engineering solutions to any problems. A particular area of motorsport that offers huge scope...

The silent danger?

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There has been much discussion of late about the FIA's proposal to ban the use of the engine in the Formula One pit lane and using only electric motors during pit stops. On the face of it this may appear to be dangerous, since the noise from a traditional reciprocating unit serves to warn of its approach. On reflection, however, by the time the 2014 regulations come into place, electric vehicles, we are led to believe, will be not such a rarity on the roads, and the problem we will all...

All in a spin

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To be a good engineer, I have always maintained, in addition to an inquisitive mind and a grasp of the technology, you also need to be a student of history, for on many occasions the practices of the past give an insight into the possible problems of the future. And as all older engineers know, there is nothing like having been there the first time around to spot the problem when it next re-occurs, perhaps in another format. I was reminded of this some years ago when a recently built...

Ceramic-coated exhausts

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The subject of the 'management' of heat as concerns race engine exhausts is largely a matter of containment. We have covered the subject briefly before in RET-Monitor articles, and have discussed the advantages of keeping the heat in the exhaust rather than having it radiated to the outside world via the engine bay, which contains lots of electronic components that can object to becoming too hot. Heat radiated to the engine structure and the gearbox can lead to the need for greater...