Racecar Engineering October 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
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
switch craft

In the interest of fairness and accuracy I want to correct a comment I expressed in last month’s column. This referred to F1 race director Michael Masi having considerable influence on penalty decisions awarded by the race stewards. A chat with my extremely knowledgeable colleague, Dieter Rencken, has assured me that the stewards do operate fully independently. I am grateful that he could assure me of this. My other comments stand, however! Having watched a couple of entertaining NTT IndyCar Series races recently (12 different race leaders during the Indianapolis Road Course event) I was interested to see how drivers recently departed from F1 have been able to race for podiums and wins in IndyCar, something largely denied them since their junior racing careers due to the far-from-level F1 playing field. After…

13 min
power politics

It became abundantly clear during the FIA conference that electricity is not the only alternative for future mobility, and that the internal combustion engine will be around for decades to come Consider the plight of the FIA when formulating future power unit regulations for its various international series. Where once power units were restricted to internal combustion engines powered by fossil fuels and the only options apart from ignition – spark (petrol) or compression (diesel) – were reciprocating or rotary pistons, configuration and two or four strokes, the choices have of late multiplied exponentially. Indeed, the FIA’s secretary general for sport, Peter Bayer, runs out of fingers as he lists the number of potential options: fossil-or synthetic-fuelled spark, compression or rotary internal combustion engines (ICE); ditto with hybrid elements and/or powered by…

2 min
the powers that be

There are already quite a few alternative energy solutions at play in the wider motorsport world, including of course Formula E. Scepticism abounded when in 2011 the FIA conceived of this, its first alternative energy championship. Yet the series has gone from strength to strength, this year holding world championship status and boasting seven manufacturers – three more than Formula 1 although Audi, BMW and Mercedes have all cancelled their FE programmes recently. There’s even Extreme E, a rally series for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, from this year F1’s support Porsche Supercup series and the European Truck Racing Championship have switched to petrol and diesel biofuels respectively, with Porsche reporting the former required only software updates to co-optimise engine and fuel performance, with output of the GT3 remaining unaffected. The 2022 World Rally…

15 min
hyper tension

For much of Sunday, August 22, the Toyota team in the pit was worried that its two cars could stop at any moment, denying them of the chance to secure the overall win at Le Mans, its fourth in a row. A problem with picking up fuel from the collector threatened to eliminate the two GR010s from the 24 hour race and hand the win to a grandfathered LMP1 car run by a private team. But that team, Signatech Alpine, was under pressure itself, from the Glickenhaus 007Cs, both of which made it to the chequered flag, defying pre-race predictions that they would not be reliable enough. It was then, for various reasons, quite a dramatic Le Mans 24 hours. There were some clear signs that all was not well with…

2 min
artificial intelligence at le mans

The LMP2 class at Le Mans has taken huge strides in the last two years as the top teams seek a lucrative LMDh project. At Le Mans this year the category had pretty much sole chassis supply with the ORECA, the engines are all prepared by Gibson, gearboxes by Xtrac and tyres from Goodyear. The difference is the drivers, and the teams, and with the latter it has turned into a spending war. And teams are making extra efforts to find an edge. For instance, this year the JOTA team arrived with a new AI software partnership with Monolith, designed to increase the speed of data analysis for their two cars. It signed up with Monolith at the start of the year, and is continuing to evolve how to use its…

10 min
going the distance

In place of the usual 1600cc turbocharged engine are a pair of electric motors, one front, one rear, powered by a 52.6kWh battery pack Currently, much of the conversation around electric motorsport focuses on short sprint events such as rallycross, which can work within the limitations of current battery technology. For longer events, hybrid is still seen as the next logical step from pure IC engine propulsion, as will be demonstrated next year in the WRC. It therefore may come as a shock that an EV recently completed a full-length national event – Rally Weiz in Austria – and even secured a podium finish. Even more surprising is the fact this wasn’t a no-holds barred special, but a conventional looking car that had been performance-balanced to match existing Rally2 equipment. The car…