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          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  Racing cars 3

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So far we've come to the conclusion that

1. the influence that racing technology has on serial production is limited.
2. for the performance, the racing car engine is not the most important component.

Nonetheless, one cannot examine this technology more closely, without starting at the engine. Of course, the performance- and the reliability is indeed important. To once again, cite one of the many differences to the serial production: it is not necessary to worry too much about their changing from one partial load area into another, because basically, these engines are only operated in the acceleration- or deceleration mode.

Of course, a relatively small engine must be more often strained to the limit and of course, high-speed courses increase the maximum RPM periods. It is debatable, whether the existence of a dry sump, depicts a larger or only a smaller difference to the serial car. One could also count the extremely different bore- and stroke ratios, e.g., in the F1-engines, to these differences.

The decisive differences would have to be the RPM level and the ability to handle a much higher strain, which on the other hand of course, can sometimes lead to a drastically reduced engine life. Thus, the performance, in relation to the capacity can differ up to the factor of 5. The racing engine actually only needs a high torque, which Is so highly valued in everyday cars, at the start of the race, once the car is moving, it can be held at constant high revs through the suitable transmission ratios.

Racing car engines have always had, apart from the few turbo-charged exceptions, a greater number of cylinders. One only has to consider the 1,5 litres distributed over 12 cylinders in the 1948/50 Ferrari 125. The 2014 F1-rulebook also stipulates 1,6 litres distributed over 6 cylinders. Where would you find this in serial production, and then also with a turbo-charger? A large number of small cylinders simply provide smaller moving masses per cylinder and more favourable combustion chambers. 300 to 350 cm³ for the individual cylinders is considered to be ideal.

In this range, a racing car engine has an optimal gas-flow. The Cosworth Company, whose F1-engines have been used for many years by a number of teams, has provided a key-service. The mixture, which is still made up from air and fuel, should be supplied to the combustion chambers in as straight a line as possible. If one were to apply this to a vertically mounted standard engine, then the bonnet would have to be built higher. The V-shaped racing engine, lying in front of the rear axle, doesn't have this problem. In the F1, this can all be combined with an airbox, which generates a certain amount of turbo-effect.

Different from the serial engine, we're talking about very high injection pressures, also in the case of indirect-injection, and if permitted by the regulations, a slightly rich mixture, a sliding- instead of a throttle valve, possibly a twin ignition and a valve drive which is laid out for high RPM. This can lead to an air-reservoir which maintains the air-pressure exclusively for closing the valves, very distant from the serial engine indeed.

At least the fuel used in the racing field, fundamentally has the quality of premium-plus (98 octane), whereby however, with the high compression ratios used, more can be achieved from this. Even the underside of the sometimes very different piston is given attention. Too much back-pressure would be harmful here and is eliminated by a vacuum pump. A huge amount of effort is taken, e.g., as far as the engine's centre of gravity is concerned, even though it's weight is miles away from that of the respective serial engine. 04/14

To be continued ... . . .               Top of page               Index
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Translator: Don Leslie - Email:

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