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Oil coolers

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The design of oil-air coolers in motorsport has not changed drastically in the past 60 years, with the basic design harking back to World War II. As with so many technological developments, the generally available ‘modular’ style of plate and bar oil cooler owes its existence to aero engine development, in particular the legendary Merlin V12. There are many similarities between race engine and aero engine development, with designers of both striving to find the most efficient and...

Oil aeration

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Oil aeration can be a major problem in high-revving race engines. The presence of oil bubbles in significant quantities in an engine’s oil can lead to pressure loss and damaging cavitation in the oil pump. Controlling the issue is a multi-faceted task, requiring that all aspects of an engine’s oil system are optimised to combat it. The sump, oil pump, oil tank and even the oil itself can be engineered to minimise aeration, and thus improve both and engine’s performance and...

Flat tappet engines and their oil requirements

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It is easy to forget that not all modern race engines are double overhead camshaft, lightweight alloy wonders. There are still many series, notably in the US, that rely on the use of pushrod-actuated valvetrains and solid mechanical valve lifters, the most high profile of these being the NASCAR Cup championship. This presents some unique challenges from a lubrication perspective, not least in the area of oil selection. Modern emissions legislation has seen the make-up of engine oils change...

Turbocharger lubrication

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Thanks to the constant push from legislators towards greater fuel economy and lower emissions, turbo-supercharging is back in vogue with mainstream vehicle manufacturers. The result is that forced-induction engines such as the Ford EcoBoost range are seeing a growing use in production-engined competition vehicles, providing (relatively) low-cost power in a compact package; thanks to the fact most of these new-generation motors follow an I4 configuration. The use of turbo-supercharging...

Lubrication: nanotechnology

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As has been mentioned before in these articles, transmission losses are of great interest to race engineers, especially those in series where power outputs are closely matched. NASCAR is a case in point; at restrictor plate races such as the Daytona 500, a few hp can mean the difference between running at the front or the back of the pack. With engine development increasingly stymied, other avenues of investigation are needed to gain a competitive advantage. Parasitic losses, particularly...