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Racecar Engineering January 2019

Racecar Engineering is the world’s leading technology publication for the motorsport industry. From aerodynamics to engines and from handling theory to manufacturing practice, Racecar Engineering is read by motorsport’s top professionals. Only Racecar Engineering brings this insight every month.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Chelsea Magazine
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12 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

5 min.
an open and shut case

For a moment I would like you to think of tutus. That’s right, those frilly, abbreviated ballet skirts. They are more about image than necessity but are integral to the public’s perception of the art form. In fact, a collector of such things once paid a whopping $94,800 for the one Margot Fonteyn wore in Swan Lake. Why would tutus be of interest to Racecar readers? Well, think of how Formula racing cars have exposed wheels and an open cockpits, obeying Keke Rosberg’s definition: ‘Toilets have doors, a racing car you get in from the top’. There are reasons for an open cockpit, but why the exposed wheels? It is certainly not for aiding performance – those four cylinders sticking out produce massive amounts of drag – rather they are a…

5 min.
change for the better

While we march (uncertainly) towards what was supposed to be radical new F1 technical regulations for 2021, the process increasingly reminds me of the similarly-convoluted negotiations – which will inevitably end in a fudge – concerning Brexit. The old adage that trying to please everybody ends up pleasing nobody has seldom been more pertinent than in these two examples. However, as motor racing is the subject of this column, there will, I promise, be no further mention of the B word. But talk of fudges there will be, for I suspect, sadly, that where will be a dumbing-down of the massive revamp that was promised for 2021. Along with power unit revisions, the most concerning fudge is likely to be with the aerodynamics. In order to facilitate overtaking, we have been up…

18 min.
the new generation

The circle of life of a championship usually starts with restrictive rules, minimal development and a few privateer teams. The chassis and major components are therefore common between them and this equalising of performance generates competitive racing, which is designed to attract new fans. More eyes on the racing gets the sponsors interested as their investments suddenly become a lot more profitable. The consequent more money in the pot then catches the eyes of other race teams, who bring their drivers, engineers and mechanics along with them. If all goes to plan, the championship will snowball to success and only at this point will the big manufacturers want to take their slice of the pie. We are then treated to some sweet years of thrilling racing where privateers and manufacturers compete…

12 min.
where science meets art

Many of the most iconic moments in the history of the Indianapolis 500 have been overtakes; daring passes completed at the last possible second by the bravest drivers in the world. Other times, the biggest drama comes when the pass isn’t quite completed, and instead the race back to the finish line is lost by mere inches, coming up agonizingly short. There is an art and a science to overtaking at the Indianapolis 500, and mastering this skill is often the difference between glory and heartbreak. But perfecting overtaking has always been a moving target; as technology evolves and the cars change, the type of racing seen during the Indy 500 changes as well. In May of 2017 slipstreaming reigned supreme as the go-to method for passing. The suck up effect was…

13 min.
regulation issues

Formula 1’s new owner, Liberty Media, embarked on a project to fundamentally overhaul grand prix motor racing almost before the ink on the acquisition documents had dried. There was talk of making every race a Superbowl, while new types of fan engagement were looked at. The first fruits of this work can already be seen on every broadcast, with revised and more up to date branding alongside a much improved online and social media presence. But according to Liberty there is still a lot more to come, not least on the technical front. To this end it has quietly been signing up highly experienced technical staff including Ross Brawn and Pat Symonds to create a completely new set of technical regulations for the 2021 season. That work is ongoing, but soon…

14 min.
absolute power

The dynamics of making cars go fast round tracks has kept engineers busy for many years. Complex suspension systems have had to be designed to control the grip while the car undergoes roll and yaw during lateral accelerations. Differentials have been invented to allow the wheels on an axle travel around a corner without slipping. And aerodynamics have been modified to cope with cross-flows. Engineering the optimum set-up for a corner is hard, so surely racing in a straight line is easier? Wrong. As modern dragsters prove, racing down a drag strip comes with a host of problems, particularly at 330mph. Santa Pod Raceway in Bedfordshire was Europe’s first permanent drag strip. It hosts the fastest and loudest form of motorsport on the planet and for a first timer it is…