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Keeping piston skirts happy in a small, heavily boosted engine

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In Time Attack, a popular form of road racing in the US, the objective is not to compete wheel-to-wheel but rather to set down the fastest lap possible. According to Rob Cardona, manager of WORLD Racing, Toyota's Scion brand official team, "It has a bit of road racing with a bit of a drag-racing element to it, going for a time slip without racing each other." While cars in any particular class will be on the track at the same time, the organisers try to pace each car so that...

Sealing the Wankel engine

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If you think sealing the gap between the piston and cylinder bore of a conventional reciprocating engine presents something of a challenge, then spare a thought for the problems facing the Wankel engine. Once heralded as the rightful successor to the humble piston engine, the rotary Wankel unit gave a smoother power delivery in a more compact form, but early examples suffered greatly from combustion gas sealing issues between the rotor and its housing. And if you examine the dynamics of it...

Changing the combination

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When Bob Vandergriff Jr decided to take his operation full-time in the National Hot Rod Association Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel category, he also made the commitment to change his tune-up combination in order to run with the balance of the field more readily. According to crew member Rob Hauser, "We're trying to adapt to a newer, more late-model tune-up for 2011 than we used in years past; we're going with what a lot of the other teams are running." When...

The two-stroke ring

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Love them or loathe them, and despite being virtually outlawed in international motorcycle racing, two-stroke engines are still the main form of propulsion in the world of karting. With far fewer moving parts and power:weight ratios that most four-stroke engine designers can only dream about, the piston ring in a two-stroke engine has an altogether greater task than those in its four-stroke cousin. Not only does it have to seal the combustion chamber at much higher engine speeds and cope...

Pistons that work

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When Rhys Millen Motorsports (RMR) decided to field a car in the 2010 Pikes Peak Hillclimb, it upgraded its Formula Drift engine to compete in the rarified air of the famous Colorado mountains and built an all-wheel-drive closed coupe, the RMR PM580, to contain it. The car and engine were completed in four months; there were only two tests before the climb. Using Hyundai's Lambda 3.8 litre naturally aspirated V6, as found in the production Genesis coupe and sedan, Millen's team took...