Racecar Engineering May 2021

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.

United Kingdom
Chelsea Magazine
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12 Issues

in this issue

4 min
subjectively sustainable

Sustainability is a word that’s thrown around a lot these days. By definition, sustainable means ‘able to be maintained at a certain rate or level’ or ‘conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources.’ Across motorsport and the automotive industry in general, there is a lot of discussion about sustainability, which primarily revolves around synthetic fuels and alternative powertrain solutions. However, its definition seems to mean different things to different people, and the delta between the most sustainable and the least sustainable is vast. If one just looks at renewable fuel production, hydrocarbon fuels and, in particular, alcohols for use in internal combustion engines, can be made from organic matter that can be grown and harvested. But consider the rate of consumption per kilogram of fuel is significantly higher than…

4 min
the age of conflict

In the 1980’s IndyCar, two British companies, first March and then Lola, introduced production racecars to the premier US open wheel motorsport world. Previous to the successful Indy 500 forays by Lotus and Lola with F1-inspired machines, the traditional front-engined ‘roadsters’ dominated USAC. Constructors such as Kurtis Kraft produced limited numbers, but not on a series basis. Other engineering shops would design and manufacture components – chassis, suspension parts, gearboxes – which teams could purchase and around which they would build their own-named ‘specials’. The clear superiority of the mid-engined British makes led to copies being made in the US and individual designs based on the development of these concepts were commissioned. Lola’s 1978 Indy 500-winning T500 persuaded makes such as Parnelli, Watson and Vollstedt to again follow, with Penske and McLaren…

13 min
claw back

The broad consensus… was that floor and associated aerodynamic changes amounted to a loss of a second per lap at the Bahrain circuit. Tyre loss was estimated at 0.3 seconds per lap, meaning teams faced a deficit of 1.3 seconds. Some put it at 1.5 seconds Formula 1’s pre-season testing conundrum – how best to recover approximately 1.5 seconds lost due to aerodynamic restrictions and tyre sidewall construction changes – has its roots in decisions taken by the sport’s collective executive exactly a year apart, in June 2019 and June 2020. The earlier decision, an agreement by simple majority to carry over that year’s tyres into what would have been Formula 1’s final season under the prevailing formula, in turn had a knock-on effect after the sport elected to roll over the…

12 min
fuel for thought

F1’s 2025 engine format could conceivably play a pivotal role in pioneering ‘clean’, non-electrical mobility Honda’s exit announcement – ostensibly to fund future electrification research and development mobility projects – sent shockwaves through Formula 1. It was the first such withdrawal since Liberty Media acquired the sport’s commercial rights in 2017, and immediately set alarm bells ringing amongst investor communities. ‘Who will be next?’Wall Street analysts asked, sending the FWONK share price tumbling. The fact that Honda uttered the ‘e’ word made the announcement doubly ominous for the implication was that F1 was motorsport’s dinosaur, reliant upon brash noise and dirty fossil fuels. That put it squarely at the mercy of ‘green’ brigades. If Honda was prepared to walk, despite recent victories with Red Bull – a top three team employing Max Verstappen, one…

2 min
bespoke fuel or ‘drop-in’ fuel?

Pat Symonds, F1’s technical director, says Formula 1 considered bespoke fuels to maximise performance before deciding on ‘drop-in’ fuels, which replace existing fuels with minimal modifications required to the existing power units. Why, and what are the benefits, disadvantages and differences? ‘Initially, our thinking for 2026 was that we would go through a co-optimisation process, because when you start to make synthetic fuel what you’re effectively doing is combining carbon and hydrogen atoms. You’re no longer reliant on what you’re drilling out of the ground, instead you’ve got a big chemistry set in front of you. ‘Within limits, you can do what you like with the chemistry set, and it’s certainly possible to get around some of the disadvantages you can have with fuel drilled out of the ground and upscaled through…

11 min
glick bait

The 007C has already shown promising form, beating the Vallelunga outright track record Jim Glickenhaus has taken the next step in his commitment to endurance racing and signed up to take a Hypercar to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, and compete in rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship. His 007C, a ground-up design that features a twin turbo V8 engine from Pipo Moteurs and a chassis from Podium Advanced Technologies, has completed its first track running and passed its crash tests in advance of the start of the FIA WEC. However, the car is not yet finally homologated as, with the Covid pandemic continuing to cause havoc in Europe and to European racing schedules, and with a five-year fixed homologation by regulation in the WEC, the American is in no hurry…