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The cylinder head gasket

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As many might know to your cost, the cylinder head gasket is high up among those engine components to suffer the greatest stress. Often a weak point in some of the best engine designs, its unenviable task is to provide a robust seal between the cylinder head and corresponding crankcase for the combustion gases, oils and coolant, both between each other and the outside atmosphere. If that were not difficult enough, the component also acts in distributing the dynamic loads between the head...

Feeling the heat (3)

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In previous articles, we have looked at why we might choose to insulate the exhaust system of a racing vehicle, the various methods by which we might insulate the exhaust and what the consequences of doing so might be. In light of this, we discussed exhaust coatings with a British company, one of whose specialities is the application of thermal barrier coatings to exhaust systems. Zircotec, who are based in the middle of an area rich in motorsport expertise, have a number of exhaust...

Bespoke nuts

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There are a plethora of different kinds of nuts on the market, and many are aimed at the racing market. Most of these will have been designed originally for the aerospace sector, and here we benefit from the exceptional quality control that the aerospace industry demands. Despite this range of good quality proprietary parts being available to us, there are also a considerable number of racing engine manufacturers who have bespoke nuts manufactured to their own designs. These might be to...


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Mention the word bioethanol to most people, even the ones who have little interest in our industry, and the chances are they will at least know that you are talking about alternative fuels. Added to gasoline fuel in amounts up to 98% of the total, the process of adding ethanol derived from bio sources to spark ignition fuels can reduce the so-called 'carbon footprint' making our sport, or so we try to convince others, more politically acceptable to all. The real benefit to us...

Low oil pressure, sir?

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Rather like the blood circulating around our bodies, the lubricating oil in an engine is fairly critical to its well being. For most of the time we don't give it a second thought but it is only when things go wrong that people start paying attention. And for most of these the first thing they will notice is a reduction in oil pressure. Low or no oil pressure at all is a common enough problem and while the obvious (to some) culprit might be the oil pump, in 999 cases out of 1000 this...