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Le Mans transmission development

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The Le Mans 24 Hours is one of the toughest tests of racecar endurance in the world. Nowhere else are components and personnel presented with the same combination of relentless racing, an unforgiving circuit and ever-changing track conditions. In the past, transmission reliability has proved particularly troublesome and, while the current generation of Prototype and GT gearboxes are generally reliable, constant r&d by manufacturers is required to ensure they stay that way. The internals...

Dual-clutch transmissions

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For many years, sequential transmissions using dog engagement have been the standard fitment for most serious racing machinery, thanks largely to their durability and short shifting time. However, Seat’s latest Leon Cup touring car features a dual-clutch, semi-automatic transmission as an option, similar to those found in many new roadcars. Beyond this latest manufacturer effort, there are also a number of racers at club level successfully running cars equipped with Porsche’s...

MotoGP – the chain

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In the cutting-edge world of MotoGP, coverage of technical developments tends to focus on game-changing technologies relating to the chassis or powertrain. However, less glamorous components are also subject to constant evolution, including the humble chain. So what differentiates a factory Honda or Kawasaki chain from one found on a lowly CB125 road bike. ‘Roller’ chains have been the universally favoured means of transmitting drive on motorcycles for many years. While belt and...

Clutch materials

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Regardless of the racing series, almost every racecar in the world will feature a clutch. However, the friction materials used in these clutches will differ radically depending on the torque and power delivery characteristics of the engine. So what are the materials available and how to they vary? Organic So-called ‘organic’ clutches have been around for the best part of 50 years. Organic is something of an outmoded term now, as it harks back to when asbestos was used in the...

Top Fuel clutch construction

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Drag cars such as those found in Top Fuel and Funny Car classes produce such prodigious torque that traditional gearbox-based transmission systems would be instantly torn apart on launch. These cars therefore rely on a complex multi-plate clutch system to transfer power progressively from the engine to the rear wheels. At first glance, the clutch system on a Top Fuel car does not look all that different from any other multi-plate racing clutch, except that it is considerably larger and is...