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When to hit the red button!

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The author well remembers the first time he was given sole charge of overseeing the running in of an engine on the dynamometer of an un-named race engine manufacturer. The engine in question was the first ever example of a Le Mans Prototype V8 and the author’s role was to do nothing other than warm the engine up on a base map which would be followed by a check over before the real mapping work commenced. For around five minutes (no-one ever went through the data in much detail)...

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...

Ending the bend

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Although Funny Car engines get torn down from top to bottom end between 1000-foot NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series passes, it’s easy to overlook pushrods “because they are that good,” according to 2008 series runner-up and 2009 Countdown to One participant Tim Wilkerson. He’s been using “nothing but Manton pushrods” in his engines for many years citing, “Terry’s got a good product and he’s quick to fix something if it’s...

Going custom for longevity

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The overhead cam Suzuki engine campaigned by 2007 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Matt Smith in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category “pretty much controls the valves,” according to engine builder Steve Tartaglia. “Because we don’t run pushrods,I think the biggest weak link we have is in the camshafts and cam chains. It’s not anything that significantly flexes; it just varies the valve timing more than we’d like.” The solution Tartaglia has found...

Poppet valve materials

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Thus far we have examined the application of titanium in the production of racing valves, and seen how the properties of this material may be tailored to the application by either specific heat treatments, or by combining materials with different mechanical properties within the same valve by the use of friction welding. We reflected on the fact that titanium, compared to steel and most of the other materials that we would traditionally use for valve manufacture, offers a lower mass valve...