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Seal material selection

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Maybe it's just me but for some reason choosing the most appropriate seal material for an application used to make me uncomfortable. Bamboozled by the plethora of the various product catalogues (for this was before the Internet age) the decision would often be left to the last possible moment, with all the attendant issues it created. I'm sure I wasn't alone but back then small leaks were often tolerated and, with engine accessibility far easier, could be readily repaired or...

Formula One exhausts

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When I last wrote a short piece on the subject of exhaust systems in Formula One, it was just ahead of the 2011 season. Little could we have predicted the central role that exhaust systems, combined with different engine management strategies, would play during the past season. The cause of the furore was the use by some of the more successful teams of exhaust flows to influence the aerodynamic behaviour of the car. The addition of significant mass flows of exhaust gas over, through or...

Fastener coatings

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There are a huge number of materials from which fasteners can be made, but not all are suited to all applications. Materials from which commercially available threaded fasteners used in motorsport are made range from various polymers through aluminium and titanium to high-strength steels and superalloys. Some of these choices are not available to us owing to specific regulations that either proscribe the use of certain materials altogether, or limit the choice of materials from which...

Diesel fuel

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Regular readers will have realised by now that I am not a great fan of diesel-fuelled racers. Any reciprocating engine that relies on the temperature of the compressed intake air to be greater than that of the flash point of the fuel has no right to be positioned anywhere near the finely honed chassis of a racing machine, except in the vehicle designated to lug it and the rest of the team from circuit to circuit. This is a personal opinion, you understand, and while gasoline engines should...

Ford's 1964 Indianapolis engine

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In 1963 a Ford-powered Lotus 29 driven by Jim Clark came tantalisingly close to winning the Indianapolis 500, and was prevented from doing so only by the leading roadster of Parnelli Jones dropping oil on the track. The Lotus was running a development of Ford's Fairlane pushrod V8; drawing pump fuel through carburettors it produced far less power than the competition's highly tuned Offys running on the more usual Indy brew of methanol. Ford, however, was keen to emphasise the racing...