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Funny Car piston life

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Mike Neff handles two jobs in the Funny Car category of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing - he is both the chief tuner and driver of the John Force Racing (JFR) Ford Mustang that currently tops the Funny Car points ranking and is the first car to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship play-off of six races, which starts after the Mac Tools US Nationals. Neff handles the dual role easily, as he performed tuning duties for 2005 champion Gary Scelzi in the category, and in 2008-9 - his...

A twist in the tale

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For all its apparent simplicity, your typical piston ring is a complex device. Required to seal against combustion gases on the power stroke and yet minimise friction on the upstroke, under all conditions of speeds and loads, the task might seem possible if we include the additional demand that all this and more should be achieved with the minimum of weight. It is perhaps little wonder therefore that under the high-speed dynamic loads experienced, rings tend to move in ways not originally...


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In the pages of Race Engine Technology and in these short web articles, there have been numerous mentions of the significant benefits of having residual compressive stresses present at the surface of a component. To recap, incorporating a method (or methods) of introducing residual compressive stress at a component's surface is, in general, likely to improve the endurance limit of a component loaded in bending or torsion. Given that there are very few components that are loaded in a...

Active dynos

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In the past, most engine development work would take place on passive dynamometers, which allowed only for steady-state power runs to ascertain basic power and torque curves. The advent of computer-controlled 'active' dynos however has revolutionised the way engine development programmes are run, presenting engineers with a plethora of new tools to understand engine characteristics. A passive dyno usually consists of a power absorber - a water brake, hydraulic brake or eddy current...

Le Mans transmission

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Le Mans places abnormal demands on almost every component in a racecar, with the suspension and engine taking a relentless pounding on every lap of the 13.629 km circuit. Also subject to the same war of attrition is the gearbox and driveline. In the past, gearboxes were a regular source of problems for competitors, either thanks to simple fatigue failures of parts, or driver fatigue leading to missed gearshifts. In recent years, transmission problems have become far less commonplace; this...