What goes into an Eff Wun engine?

F1 race engines are probably taken a little for granted. We expect them to deliver several corrals of horses, and be absolutely bullet proof. When we see one blow up on TV, we say rude words about the engine’s manufacturer (but probably not half as rude as the words the drivers and team managers say). So here’s a little piece on the background to a race engine, in this case, the ones in the tails of the BMW Williams, known as the P83.

BMW Williams F1

This engine was on paper as a concept from November to December 2001, and having been approved was then designed in four months. 1,950 CAD drawings were made for this engine. Printed out and laid end to end, they would cover a distance of 1.3 kilometres.

BMW race engine

Between May 2002 through to July 2002, all the components were manufactured and it first fired a shot in anger on the test bench on 31 July 2002.

The engine was then put through a series of tests, including running in a race chassis, right through from September 2002 to mid-February 2003, when it was considered to be race-ready. This development has been continuing all this year, and this engine, the P83 will be phased out after the Japanese GP on October 12.

In the meantime the test phase for the new BMW P84 engine has already been launched. Following successful bench tests, it was being track tested in its 2004 season specification at Monza in September this year.

The total production of the BMW P83 was 200 units, and the BMW Williams team take 10 to each grand prix. Each engine has around 5,000 individual components, with 1,000 of them completely different. During its racing life of eight months, the engine has received 1,388 upgrade modifications. Each engine also does 500 kays before being stripped down and rebuilt.

The engine delivers more than 900 bhp and weighs less than 90 kg. This weight figure is reached by using many alloy components, with a special thin-wall casting done at the BMW foundry at Landshut. The maximum revs from this V10 is 19,250, though during the race, the limiter is set on 19,000 rpm. For interest sake, the idle speed of this engine is 4,000 rpm, an engine speed at which your average family Japanese shopping trolley is starting to get breathless going down Sukhumvit Road!

An Eff Wun race engine is also subject to some high stresses. For example, the ultra-high speed 130R turn at Suzuka (Japanese GP) with its lateral load of 4G poses the greatest challenge to the oil system. The last place you need your oil is splattered up the inside of the crankcase! (This was the reason the external oil tank and ‘dry sump’ oil systems were designed. These are de rigeur on race engines, but rarely seen in road engines, other than in cars such as the Porsche 911 series.)

How long do you think you can run an engine like this on full throttle? The Monza circuit sees the engine at full noise for 73% of the entire lap, and neither Montoya or Gene had a problem, while at the Monaco GP, the transmission and engine have to withstand an average 3,100 gear changes.

Other interesting snippets for the engineers - the air intake volume is 1,995 cubic metres per hour. Maximum piston acceleration is 10,000G. Piston speed peaks at 40 metres per second and averages 25 metres per second. Exhaust temperatures of up to 950 degrees are reached. Maximum air temperature in the pneumatic system is 250 degrees.

The engine block and cylinder head are made of cast aluminium. BMW Munich handles the manufacture of the crankshaft (steel), camshaft (case-hardened steel) and camshaft covers, as well as processing of the cylinder head and crankcase. The oil system and engine electronics also come from BMW Munich.

Perhaps now you can see why these F1 engines are so horrendously expensive!

Aussie V8’s line up for a Chinese Takeaway

The Chinese motor industry is one of the most active in the world, and with their successful bid for an F1 event (you’ll see it on September 26 2004), they are also trying to attract other series to come and experience their race tracks.

Australian V8 supercars

One of the latest to agree to go over is the Australian V8 series, which will hold the first round of an Australian national sporting competition to be held outside Australasia, when the V8 Supercars also race in Shanghai in November next year. These are the vehicles that run at the famous Bathurst 1000 km race in October, with the Sandown 500 in Melbourne being the dress rehearsal.

The other overseas round for the Australian series will be held in New Zealand, but the Australian race fraternity have been making the trip across the Tasman Sea for many years.

The photograph was taken at Oran Park Raceway this year, one of my favourite fun race tracks - and take a look at the crowd! The local promoters at Bira would go berserk if they got crowds like that.

Autotrivia Quiz

Last week I asked about the 1953 Daimler Conquest (the British one), a 2.5 litre engined saloon. All I wanted to know is why did they call it that? The clue I gave was to think history! The answer was that the price of the car, before British Purchase Tax was 1,066 pounds. Ten sixtysix and all that! Remember?

So to this week. The famous 1928 supercharged Mercedes 38/250 was known as the SSK. What did the K stand for? Should be easy for all the German readers, but you’ll have to be quick to beat MacAlan Thompson and his web-crawling spiders!

For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email [email protected]

Good luck!

News from the Frankfurt Motor Show

This year’s show was certainly pointing towards an even greater use of technology to make the auto industry appear greener than green. And like the thrust world-wide, technological advancement is the way of the future.

According to Automobile News, some of the highlights included the Mercedes SLR exhaust system. Mercedes engineers wanted to preserve the smooth, aerodynamic underside of the SLR super coupe, so they have developed an exhaust system that exits just behind the front wheel in the underside of the front guard. The system meets all noise regulations and contains a muffler and a catalytic converter. The exhaust pipes are apparently a fine example of the pipe bender’s art.

Mercedes CLS

Another new feature, and one that seems so obvious it’s a wonder nobody had done this before - an electric water pump, after all, we have had electric fans for years. The German supplier Kolbenschmidt Pierburg has developed a water pump that varies the volume of water being circulated through the engine according to the engine’s temperature. This allows the engine to warm up faster, cutting exhaust emissions, and reduces fuel consumption by about 3 percent because it is not geared to the engine. It goes into volume production in 2004.

Mercedes exhaust system

Gearboxes have gone from the primitive 2 speed boxes of yore, to today where 6 speed manual gearboxes are common. Automatics have also gone from the 2 speed boxes on the ‘50’s, to the 5 speed autos of today. However, DaimlerChrysler say they will be fitting 7-speed automatics in several of its V8 powered vehicles. The extra gears will improve low speed performance and increase fuel economy.

BMW 6 Series

Sick of dirty diesels? Trucks and pick-ups belching smoke. With the increasing popularity of diesel engines in passenger cars in the US and Europe, the answer is diesel particulate filters.

Automobiles Peugeot has developed a particulate trap that could have implications for North American diesels. The filter lasts for nearly 125,000 miles, almost long enough to meet the U.S. government’s 10 year, 150,000 mile standard. Ford Motor Co. is expected to use an improved version of the Peugeot filter when it launches its diesel engines in North America around 2006.

Shedding weight is sometimes easier than increasing power. Lightweight space frames are nothing new; however, the DB9, the latest sports car from Aston Martin, has an aluminum space frame that is bonded, glued and riveted together. The bare frame weighs just 620 pounds.

New paint technology was on display with BMW’s new 6 series coupe which uses plastic, steel and aluminum body panels. The bonnet, boot and doors are aluminum, the front guards are plastic and the rear ones are steel. Normally, the panels would have to be painted separately because paint sticks to materials differently. BMW has developed a technology that allows it to paint the car fully assembled, thereby ensuring a more uniform colour.

Mercedes displayed the CLS coupe concept car. This was described by DaimlerChrysler as a 4 door coupe, with swept-back, elongated fastback roof and pillarless doors give it a sleek appearance. Mercedes say they want to combine the passion enthusiasts have for a coupe with the practicality of a sedan. The idea is similar to that employed by Mazda with the RX8, which is sold as a 4 place sports car, with the tricky rear doors that can only be opened after the front ones are opened. This is the same as can be seen in the Ford and Mazda pick-ups here.

Multiplexing is one of those electronic techo terms, that quite frankly I do not fully understand, but it works by using wires for more than one function, so saving space and weight. Volvo engineers multiplexed the wiring for the center console in the new S40, which opened up space for storage behind the dash. The console is a thin panel that extends from the transmission tunnel to the top of the instrument panel. There is enough room behind the stack to hold a small purse, says Automotive News. Novel, but hardly breathtaking, I feel!

Audi’s 3 litre diesel is something worthwhile. The new V6, offered in the Audi A8, is the first application of Bosch’s 1,600 bar common-rail injection system and piezo electronic injectors. This new engine enables the A8 to meet Europe’s tough EU 4 emissions standard for diesel engines. It produces 233 bhp - 13 more than the new 3 litre petrol V6 also available in the A8. Who would have thought a few years ago that you could have a passenger car diesel churning out more neddies than the petrol equivalent?