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The Pull Clutch

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The appearance of the pull type clutch in the race car world in the last decade was driven mainly by considerations of efficiency, consistency, and component life. These factors are improved by an increase in the mechanical advantage of the release mechanism. Starting with the basic operation of a conventional ‘push’ clutch, the ‘push’ that is delivered by a slave cylinder refers to the force that is required to disengage the clutch plates. Upon depressing the clutch...

Trends in Race Clutch Design

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The traditional race car multi plate clutch is essentially a friction drive that transmits engine torque into the transmission itself. Layers of plates are alternately geared to the clutch housing, which is bolted to the engine flywheel and also to the clutch hub, which is splined to the gearbox input shaft. When a heavy axial, or clamp load is applied to the assembly, the friction produced between plates prevents any rotation between them and we have a solid drive without any additional...

Sequential gearbox origins

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In previous Monitor features we have touched upon the automated gearshift of a modern race car and attempted to put it into historical context, but how many of its mechanical design features represent new thinking ? Central to its function has been the move from a H-gate to sequential gear selection, for with this it is much easier to provide powered control of the actual selection mechanism. In the modern box this normally takes the form of a drum, with a pathway machined into it, whose...

The origins of the modern race car gearbox?

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Up until the end of the 1950s, when the front engined Grand Prix car predominated, it was not uncommon to find it’s transmission attached to the engine bell housing, in classic road car configuration, with the box itself almost always in-line, and often road car derived. But it was equally the norm to find the transmission in unit with the rear axle and differential, particularly in a thoroughbred racing design, in which case it was as common for it to be aligned transversally, as...

Conventional H-Gate manual shift gearbox

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The conventional H-gate manual shift gearbox, a universal feature on all race cars until about 20 years ago, is actually a highly counter intuitive control device... Consider the conventional passenger or race car control system: First, we have the right hand ‘throttle’ pedal – if you press with your foot you go faster, release your foot and you slow down – logical enough. The second pedal, well, if you want to slow down a lot faster, or in an emergency, press this,...