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Analysis in crankshaft design

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Crankshafts are at the heart of any race engine (apart from a handful of examples of successful Wankel rotary units). As we strive to obtain more from our race engines – whether it be more performance, faster transient response or improved fuel economy – there is pressure for the existing crankshaft to perform at higher speed, under extra load, or for a new design to be conceived that is lighter and has lower inertia. There are a number of ways to optimise any engine component....

Traction control in Formula One

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I suppose it couldn’t be Formula One without some form of controversy or even scandal. Designed to produce just that little unfair edge over the competition, be it commercial or technical, the fact that some teams are prepared to go beyond what most of us would refer to as the rules of the sport is just another indication that motorsport at its pinnacle is all about business and apparently little else. In the past we have had the McLaren ‘spygate’ and the Renault...

Longer than you think?

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For race vehicles, in whichever motorsport they are used, the typical attributes are that they must be powerful, light and driveable. According to the engine used, ‘light’ can be linked to the overall mass of the engine, which depends largely on configuration and engine length – shorter usually equals lighter, of course, and by how much depends on the type of engine. Therefore, during the concept design phase of the engine a lot of energy and focus is directed at keeping it...

Trends in World Superbike exhaust design

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When I first started watching World Superbike almost 25 years ago, the bikes racing on track were sometimes little more than showroom-spec machines with race tyres, a kit exhaust and the lights removed. The race exhaust systems were very similar to the road systems, although a little less restrictive and much lighter. Rob McElnea scored a third place for the Padgett’s race team in the 1990 Hungarian World Superbike round on a Yamaha OW-01. I was very taken with the OW-01, so when I was...

Fastening to composite components

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Composite materials are becoming ever more common. While fibre-reinforced polymer matrix composites have made limited progress in the sphere of powertrain design and development, despite the efforts of some pioneers, they haven’t achieved the type of success they have enjoyed for almost 30 years in racing chassis. The era of the (very expensive) roadcar with carbon-reinforced polymer composites, however, is with us. Compared to an engine block, a chassis is a relatively...