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Next Generation Engine

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  • Next Generation Engine

    While looking at the Turbo vs NA debate in the biz forum, someone noted that ALMS series has done a reasonable job trying to equalize the various engines using displacements, weights, and air restrictiors. For the next generation Indy engine, why couldn't you just specify a air restrictor of a given size and then let the manufacturers build whatever type of engine they want? My understanding is an air restricter has the effect of limiting hp because as the airspeed approachs supersonic, no matter what you do, you can't pull in more air. No more air = no more hp. Would this same size restricter for all engine types open up the variety of engines, or is there some factor that would strongly faavor one engine type (ie turbo, diesel, or na)?

  • #2
    IMSA/FIA/ACO have more than a few political problems to deal with in their equivalency formula using inlet restrictors. I think the IRL would face similar, if less intense, issues. How the rules are applied to each engine will determine which type is favored. Ultimately, inlet restriction only works when there is a single engine type as well as fairly tight restrictions on other specifications.

    Another example of how things can get out of hand is F3. Two liter production based engines with an inlet restriction. Sounds like a formula with a lot of potential to control costs in both development and longevity, right? Didn't quite work out that way. Opel chose their 1600 instead of their 2 liter block due to a lower center of gravity and better packaging. It proved to be expensive to develop at 2 liters and very fragile.
    "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
    Thomas Jefferson

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rjohnson999
      How the rules are applied to each engine will determine which type is favored.
      I think your missing my point. The restrictor is the exactly the same, it is the manufacturer who decides which route type of engine to choose. If they are wrong, no adjustments to equalize competition since the rules were set at the beginning. Your F3 example is what I'm looking for, an engine built smaller cause it fit the air restrictor while other still went with the 2 liter engines.

      Another advantage to an air restriction is it essentially kills the search for high revs which should make the motors a little more reliable.

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      • #4
        In that case, as Audi has demonstrated rather convincingly, a turbo will be the way to go. Fuel rules would have to be changed to allow diesls, but they would be at a disadvantage with equal inlet areas.

        You missed my point about the Opel. It was hogged out to 2 liters. That's why some basic dimensions need to be used. An example closer to home of not doing that is Ilmor who ultimately failed with their "compact" engine, but at great cost.

        There is a much better and more direct way to restrict revs. Several of the lower formula car classes are using spec ECU's. Enforcement is stupidly simply. Swap units.

        Originally posted by BADGER
        I think your missing my point. The restrictor is the exactly the same, it is the manufacturer who decides which route type of engine to choose. If they are wrong, no adjustments to equalize competition since the rules were set at the beginning. Your F3 example is what I'm looking for, an engine built smaller cause it fit the air restrictor while other still went with the 2 liter engines.

        Another advantage to an air restriction is it essentially kills the search for high revs which should make the motors a little more reliable.
        "I have examined all the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology."
        Thomas Jefferson

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BADGER
          For the next generation Indy engine, why couldn't you just specify a air restrictor of a given size and then let the manufacturers build whatever type of engine they want?
          My guess is that on an oval, the engines work in such a narrow part of the RPM band, it would be really tough to hit that sweet spot where everyone is equal. ESPECIALLY since everyone is using the same chassis.

          10 HP difference would really mean something on an oval, where as different HP/torque combinations might still allow two ALMS engines to be competitive.

          Just a hunch.

          Personally, I think they should go to spec block, spec supercharged, rev limited inline 4s, with different supercharger boosts for different types of circuits.

          All of the money is in the development, not the actual costs of the parts.
          "The problem with internet quotes and statistics is that often times, they're wrongfully believed to be real." - Abraham Lincoln

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          • #6
            Set displacement limits based on a maximum displacement for normally aspirated engines, both stock blocks and pure racing engines.

            Say a straight race motor is 209 ci, and a stock block is 355 just for simplicity's sake.

            If someone wants to run a two litre engine, which is 122 ci, 209/122, they are allowed 1.71 atmospheres of boost, based on 29.55" of mercury being an atmosphere, that would be 50.6" of boost. The larger the engine, the lower the amount of boost allowed. A maximum amount of boost would be set at say, 51" for this factor so there would be less reward to going to a small motor with insane amounts of boost, and a minimum pressure of say, 37" of boost to make it so turbo motors of roughly the same size as they always were can run, but as mildly boosted as they had gotten to be by the end of their lifespan. Really, 51" is not that much boost, for example the ALMS Audi R8 was allowed to run 55" although it had to breathe through air restrictors.

            With all the goodies that NASCAR has paid to develop on the stock block end, all the roughly 3.5 litre V8 racing engines developed out there, and the fact there would be some flexibility to running different sized engines and turbos, you could make for a whole bunch of different ways to skin a cat.

            I think that the most interesting fact of this combination of rules is that the stock block might have enough jam to overcome its weight disadvantage, especially seeing as with the way the rulebook is and technology has advanced, 10,200 rpm and 900 or more horsepower could be attainable but how long that power would last is the other question.

            At 10,300 rpm the 3.5 litre, methanol fuelled IRL engines in 2003 were putting out 730 or more horsepower.

            Balancing it out would be tough but the boost factor could simply be scaled depending on how much of an advantage it provided, the challenge would be in displacement limits between the two types of engines.
            "I kill for the code to disarm this mess..."

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