Racecar Engineering April 2020

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
unholy smoke

Nicotine and caffeine have been my drugs of choice for a very long time now. Being a drug addict is not an easy life. I now have the effects of over five decades of smoking coming home to roost; my shortness of breath and yellow stained teeth attest to my stupidity in smoking. Another drawback is being forced to stand on the corners of buildings in the freezing cold or rain to satisfy the nicotine cravings. Racing has the same addiction. Tobacco appeared as the first major sponsors in the late ’60s, soon covering a big percentage of the grid, especially in F1. To my knowledge the first one to appear was in South Africa, in 1967. I will not mention any of the brands, they have damaged enough lives, so…

5 min
gift from the gods

During the winter months, when motor racing action is scarce, some publications fill the empty news spaces with articles such as the ‘Top 50 Drivers of 2019’, claiming in-depth analysis from correspondents across the globe and ranking drivers from over 15 disciplines. It can be mildly entertaining to briefly scan and argue over– although best indulged in the pub with a few mates over beers. However, once any analysis extends beyond the top 10, it really becomes a pointless exercise. Apart from how to evaluate drivers from extremely different types of competition given the specific sets of skills required, does being number 47 versus number 48 have any meaning? Okay, such page-fillers are not to be taken seriously, even if they are presented as such, but it does lead me on…

11 min
wr three

The general consensus is that the current WRC rules provide exceptionally tight competition and visually spectacular cars The 2020 World Rally Championship got underway in Monte Carlo at the end of January. Though the current rule set, which arrived in 2017, is now entering the mature stage, the three remaining WRC teams – following Citroen’s withdrawal at the end of 2019 – Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport/ Ford, are still bringing in updates to their cars. Due to the joker system governing updates both between and through seasons, the introduction of any new part must be carefully assessed to ensure it provides the greatest possible performance gain. In this respect 2020 is actually a slightly unusual year as teams have five jokers to play, rather than the usual three. This is the result…

3 min
surface tension

Even by rallying standards, Rallye Monte Carlo 2020 was characterised by hugely unpredictable conditions. Though a mix of snow, ice and dry tarmac is usual on the event, relatively warm daytime temperatures, that dropped come nightfall, made it a challenge for both drivers and ice crews. During the opening stages, which run over the first night, sections that were damp tarmac when the ice crews ran through 90 minutes before the start had turned to ice by the times cars were on the stage. Monte Carlo Casino Teams had to gamble as to the correct tyre choice, choosing between a mix of super soft, soft and studded tyres, searching for the best compromise. According to Chris Williams at M-Sport: ‘Each of our cars took six tyres, two soft, two super soft and…

16 min
the shape of things to come

It is widely known that Formula 1 had assembled a group to conduct its own aerodynamics R&D during 2018-19, seeking a solution to the thorny problem of enabling the cars to race closely and to overtake more easily. In late 2019 that work was presented in outline, along with the FIA’s regulations for 2021, which encompass major aerodynamic changes to create a package that is intended to allow reasonably high downforce with a more benign wake. The nature and intent of the changes were detailed in January’s issue (V30 N1), but in essence the new regulations outlaw the complex multiplicity of devices ahead of and behind the front wheels that, in the creation of downforce and the control of wheel wakes, were deemed simultaneously to be causing excessive disruption to the…

9 min
under the skin

The performance gain has really come from the electronics within the car, particularly in the area of engine management, traction and braking Unlike the newer cars of many of its rivals, the difference between Ferrari’s GT3 Evo version of the 488 and the 2019 version is not immediately obvious. In fact, a squint at the front bumper and front wheel arches will give the only external visual clues that this is a new car, a dive plane inserted into the recess in the bumper ahead of the front wheel while at the rear of the front wheel arch there is some wind tunnel-inspired trickery that was designed to increase frontal downforce. Other than that there is little to give the game away. The reason for this curious lack of external change is…