Racecar Engineering

Racecar Engineering January 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.

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United Kingdom
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Chelsea Magazine
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4
pushing the limits

The trucks are now back at base and the racecars won’t run in anger again in 2020. Returning home to England feels great after what can only be described as a really odd season of racing in the US. When the IMSA season restarted after the spring lockdown, the schedule had to be compressed into a much shorter period. What this meant for the teams is nobody had a day off for a long time as it was a case of prepare the cars, travel, race the cars, travel, repeat. We returned to competition in July, had all of August off, and then finished the season in another two and a half months, so we had a total of just three and a half months of racing (the IMSA season normally spans…

5
continuation or abomination?

The revelation that a limited edition ‘reproduction’ 1958 Vanwall VW5 F1 car is being created by Hall & Hall has been followed by a similar announcement concerning BRM’s fabled 1950’s Type 15. Jaguar had already pre-empted the dash to cash with its ‘continuation’ of the Le Mans-winning D-Type sports racer, preceded by XKSS and lightweight E-Type reproductions. There will undoubtedly be more such examples, as current technology means there is virtually no limit now to what can be viably reproduced, given people with deep enough pockets to buy them, of course. Purists have no doubt thrown up their hands in horror, especially those fortunate enough to own the pur sang racers. What effect will there be on the stratospheric values of their prized investments now that just rich – rather than…

17
black arrows

The 2020 season has been like no other, with the impact of coronavirus shifting the norm in every aspect of life. However, one thing feels like déjà vu, and that is Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team securing the Formula 1 constructors’ title, this one making them seven-time world champions. That’s every year since the dawn of the hybrid car regulations in 2014, and the teams’ domination seems not to be yielding any time soon. Mercedes’ success is not thanks to one constituent part it has above the rest of the grid, it’s the combination of all the technology in the car, the drivers and the team’s gameplay all working in harmony to create an ostensibly unstoppable force when it counts. The 2020 Mercedes Formula 1 racecar, the W11 EQ Performance (W11…

14
power play

Mercedes’ seemingly insurmountable power unit output advantage over the competition at the beginning of the current hybrid era has eroded with each passing year of the current regulations, and the gap between each power unit has narrowed. However, Mercedes remains at the top of the pack in 2020, with only Honda power in the back of the Red Bull RB16 piloted by Max Verstappen seeming to disturb the two black arrows on outright pace on track. By combining live GPS data with sector time and lap time information with the FOM data streams off each car, teams can work out how much power another car is using in each sector, and therefore the energy strategy, and even the efficiency of the competitions’ hybrid systems. Using such analysis, it is hypothesised there…

2
technical directive 37

With the introduction of Technical Directive 37, multiple engine modes for qualifying and races were banned, and with it went Mercedes’ Strat 2, or so-called ‘party mode’. As qualifying is for outright pace over a single lap, considerations for the deployment strategy beyond the start / finish line go out of the proverbial window. In qualifying mode scenarios, teams would essentially leave the pits with a fully charged battery and end the hot lap with the battery completely depleted, with little consideration given to the laps that follow. There is also a damage function in such a mode that protects the power unit if exploited for more than a single lap without time to recover energy and cool the electrical systems. We have not suffered specifically because of Technical Directive 37. It…

13
the all-seeing eye

The final calls on strategy still rest with the crew chief, but they are now backed up with considerable engineering resource The traditional image of a NASCAR crew chief is an analogue one, sat atop their pit box in isolation, reliant on an accumulated internal databank to make judgement calls on race strategy. The modern reality, however, is a far more digital affair. The big, manufacturer-backed teams now utilise mission control operations similar to those pioneered in Formula 1 and, while telemetry data is still far sparser in Stock Car than single-seater racing, teams do now have some real-time feeds from their cars. Importantly, they also have data on what their competition is doing. The final calls on strategy still rest with the crew chief, but they are now backed up with…