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NASCAR regional touring series pistons

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In the world of NASCAR regional touring series, 'spec' or crate engines are the way of the present and the future, making it difficult for teams and drivers wanting to use open engines to compete on a level playing field. The sanctioning body readily gives advantages to the small-block crate while making it difficult for engine builders to be competitive with their own engine builds. Garrett Jacobson Motorsports in Northridge, California, is bucking that trend by using former Roush...

Shaping up!

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Numbers, I would dare to suggest, are the language of engineering. A true and simple enough statement but when used in an engineering context it can only describe the approximate size of things. In the purer forms of science and mathematics, numbers are precise. For instance, the atomic number of iron is precisely 55, or in the world of Euclidean geometry, pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is exactly 22/7. In engineering however, we are rather more pragmatic,...

Chemical processes

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There are a number of reasons why we might want to improve the level of surface finish on components for race engines and transmissions, but the chief among these are reliability and friction. By improving the level of surface finish, we generally mean reducing the level of roughness. The effect of reducing roughness on component reliability is well known, and has been quantified for a range of surface finishes from rough-cast, through machined and ground finishes to 'mirror'...

Active dynos - 2

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My previous RET-Monitor article on this subject gave a general overview of active dynamometers, and the benefits they can bring to engine development. This month, I want to look at some of the other tasks they can be used for, over and above basic transient testing. The advantage of an electric active dyno is clearly its ability to motor, allowing it to drive the engine and simulate conditions such as transmission drag, gearbox downshifts and so on. However, this capability can also be...

MotoGP transmissions

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The latest transmission development in the top flight of motorcycle racing, MotoGP, has been the appearance of seamless shift technology. Already commonplace in Formula One, seamless shifting provides a number of benefits to the rider and, more important, helps reduce lap times. Honda is currently the only team on the grid to admit to using a system, and it certainly made an impact on its debut at the Sepang pre-season tests in 2011. Honda Racing's Shuhei Nakamoto said at the time,...