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Composite prop shafts

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GT racing is one of the most challenging motorsport disciplines in terms of the demands it places on components, especially transmissions. These need to be able to deal with a wide range of conditions, from those experienced during short sprint races to full endurance epics such as the Le Mans 24 Hours. One area that is often overlooked though is the means for transmitting drive from the engine to the gearbox, specifically in front-engined, rear-wheel-drive cars. The generally accepted way...

Touring cars

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In 2011 the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) introduced the Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC), which is based on a regulation package aimed at reducing costs in the series. Part of this package is the requirement that a 'spec' gearbox be run in all cars; previously, gearbox manufacturer choice had been free. Mandating spec components is the route taken by many touring car championships, so here I want to look at some of the transmission types and technologies used in touring...

WSB quick shifters

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The regulations governing transmissions in the World Superbike Championship require engineers to stick relatively closely to the design of the homologated units, on the production machine. Materials and ratios can be changed but the layout of the main components must remain the same, ruling out the possibility of using systems such as a seamless shift. The addition of quick shifters is allowed, however, and their operation and functionality can be a key factor in a bike's overall...

Formula One gearboxes

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Formula One transmissions are the most advanced in the racing world, with an unparallel combination of performance, weight and packaged size. A key part of the gearbox is the casing, as it forms not only a housing for the gearbox internals but also acts as an integral part of the car's structure. Here I will look at some of the construction methods and materials used to create these casing. Magnesium:Magnesium has long been a favoured material for gearbox casings, thanks to its useful...

NASCAR and the gearbox of tomorrow

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It is hard to imagine that a current-generation racecar, in a leading race series, owes its gearbox design to a unit that first appeared in a roadcar in 1957. However, this is the case in NASCAR Cup, where the only approved gearbox designs still have to resemble the venerable Borg Warner ST10, first used by General Motors in the 1950s. The external appearance is where the similarity ends though, with the internals, provided by a number of manufacturers, bringing the design right up to...