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Connecting it all together

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Weight is the enemy of the performance car – how many times do we hear that in motorsport circles? But if we are paranoid about the weight of the chassis, engine, gearbox and all the other ancillary bits and pieces – even the paint on a car – then we need to consider the wiring loom as well. One way of course to rid ourselves of this parasite (for that’s what it is) is to dispense with as much wiring as possible – shorter wiring ‘runs’, thinner...

The ECU – the holistic approach

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I don’t know about you but whenever I hear someone talking about the ‘holistic’ approach I tend to recoil with concern. Perhaps it is a reminder of my youth and the hippy 1970s, a time of much promise but little in the way of ultimate change. Or, more likely, it’s the arguably misplaced belief that individual parts of a system can only be explained by reference to the whole. So when somebody explained the concept of the ECU in a Formula One vehicle as holistic in...

Formula One’s new powertrain control

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2013 will bring in a new ECU to control the Formula One powertrains. Provided to all teams via McLaren Electronic Systems, the TAG-320 is the first step towards the major change in powertrain rules for 2014. As a method of controlling costs and driver aids, the FIA elected to introduce a Single ECU (SECU) supplier into Formula One in 2006. With suppliers invited to bid for the contract, it was McLaren Electronic Systems (MES) who won the tender process; MES duly introduced its TAG-310B...

The Downshift

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One of the skills of a race driver, indeed any driver, years ago was that of changing gear. Being able to change gear quickly and accurately, taking into account the vehicle speed and the ratio being selected, and doing so time after time without any unruly noise or damage to the gears/dog rings was a skill to be proud of - and not only prevented damage to the gearbox but won races too. Indeed, engineers who regularly stripped and maintained the gearboxes of the great but only two-times...

Combustion analysis

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To even begin to understand the processes within the internal combustion engine, knowledge of the pressure in the combustion chamber relative to the crank angle position is surely an absolute prerequisite. Knowing how the combustion pressure as applied to the piston crown changes throughout the engine cycle can give an insight into fundamental gas dynamics, from which, for example, optimum engine efficiency can be established or the magnitude and nature of the loads inside the engine...