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NASCAR exhausts

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The last time we looked at NASCAR exhausts was a year ago; at the time, some of the focus from the individual teams and the exhaust manufacturers would have been on reducing the mass of the exhaust system. A big, heavy stainless system would be a real handicap for teams trying to reach the reduced minimum weight limit. In the film ‘Snatch’, the line “Heavy is good, heavy is reliable” refers to guns, not NASCAR exhausts, and while some people might apply the same to...

Corrosion caused by fasteners

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When we talk about fasteners and corrosion, we are normally worried about the effect of the latter on the former, and how much the corrosion degrades the fastener’s performance, especially in terms of strength and particularly in terms of fatigue strength. Fastener corrosion is much more of a problem in other industries though, as many of the critical fasteners in a race engine operate in a pretty benign environment, especially those that are constantly bathed in oil. However, there...

The mechanical fuel pump

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In the modern electronic world it is sometimes hard to believe that fuel injection systems in the higher echelons of motorsport, even as recently as the early 1980s, were totally mechanical in nature. One such system that is still in regular use every weekend in historic events is the Lucas mechanical system. Still recognised as one of the most sophisticated yet easy to use fuelling systems of its time, and widely regarded as the most significant of its kind in Formula One history, the...

The centrifugal supercharger

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Mention superchargers and I’m sure most people will think of those huge positive-displacement air pumps sitting in the centre of the vee in a V8 engine. Driven directly off the nose of the crankshaft using a vee or toothed belt drive, and poking out through the bonnet or hood, just the sight of one tingles the spine, a little in anticipation of the engine performance. Delivering huge amounts of engine torque at impressively low engine speeds may be great, but in the modern world...

Oil system CFD simulation

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Understanding the way oil moves around an engine is key to ensuring an efficient lubrication system. To this end, CFD simulation of oil flows can prove highly beneficial to the engine designer. While CFD in the racing environment is more commonly thought of in the context of vehicle aerodynamics, it also has extensive applications in the powertrain, particularly with regard to inlet charge and exhaust gas behaviour. However, this type of simulation, given the right tools and understanding,...