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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...


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The primary objective of any race engine is to produce power – preferably lots of it – but to do so a number of factors need to be in place. Clearly it needs a plentiful supply of oxygen, so the engine should be designed to gulp as much air as possible and retain it inside the cylinder. However, that is not the only supply of oxygen available, for lurking inside most gasoline fuels these days is another source, and although it is ‘locked’ up in the fuel in the form of...

On-demand fuelling

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The best businesses, so we are told, are those that provide customers with precisely what they want at precisely the time they need it. ‘Just in time’ was the mantra of the 1990s automotive industry, and with it came the complexities of scheduling and the task of ensuring things turned up at the production line at the correct time and in the correct order. But the supply side of modern manufacturing is not the only place where the supply needs to be matched to demand. Another...

Plumbing the depths

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Readers of my recent RET-Monitor on electrics will know of the trials and tribulations of the fuel system on a certain track car. Having solved that particular issue, and with the season coming to a close, the owner thought it advisable to review the whole fuel system and perhaps, following that, update the vehicle to run on fuel injection in place of rather ancient current carburettor technology. In renewing the fuel system these are some of the issues to be faced. Fortunately, and for...

Carburettor progression

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Back when petrol in the UK cost the equivalent of about 30p in current money and the Beatles were top of the music charts, the fixed-choke carburettor – particularly that of the DCOE – was most definitely king. Affectionately known as ‘Webers’, and more often than not a replacement for the constant depression SU or Stromberg, the throaty induction roar of the single-choke-per-cylinder device was the thrill for many, even it often yielded no more engine power....