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Kyle Boatright

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Does anyone have insight into how the O-200's in Formula One are prepared? I'm curious about how they prevent the engines from grenading at the high RPM they run? I know they balance all of the components and assemble the engines with tight tolerances, but <for instance> how do they prevent valve float at 4,000 RPM?

Obviously, nobody is gonna give away all of the secrets, but someone here must be able to share something...
 

TFF

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Stiffer springs. They are not doing any thing special that someone building a race car engine to class spec would not be doing. Local Porsche performance shop does race car engines, and one time, the owner who is an A&P commented on the difference. He said he wished the Porsche engines lasted as long as airplane engines. The race engine was good for 20 hours before rebuild. Thats about 5 years of recreational racing. The F1 engines are not 2000 hr engines. I bet they are opened every year. Maybe some might go two in the competitive range. How much flying do the F1 guys get at Reno 2-3 hours total for the week?
 

cheapracer

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Kyle, nothing special about it these days, mostly off the shelf parts or the well known major suppliers will make custom as well, Carillo Rods, Mahle Pistons for example.

4000 rpm for valves these days isn't even warming up, again all over the counter stuff. Kids in backyards now build Chevs, Fords, Chrylser V8's with monstrous valves and spin them to 7000 rpm all day long. Speedway, Nascar etc spin to 9000 +. They actually bought in rules when Nascar got to 10,000rpm.

It's not simply stiffer springs, in fact in the quest for HP they try to stay as soft as possible to reduce frictional losses, it's a combination of spring metal quality, valve and retainer weight (Ti is quite common now), and some very accurate cam ramp profiles.
 

Kyle Boatright

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Kyle, nothing special about it these days, mostly off the shelf parts or the well known major suppliers will make custom as well, Carillo Rods, Mahle Pistons for example.

4000 rpm for valves these days isn't even warming up, again all over the counter stuff. Kids in backyards now build Chevs, Fords, Chrylser V8's with monstrous valves and spin them to 7000 rpm all day long. Speedway, Nascar etc spin to 9000 +. They actually bought in rules when Nascar got to 10,000rpm.

It's not simply stiffer springs, in fact in the quest for HP they try to stay as soft as possible to reduce frictional losses, it's a combination of spring metal quality, valve and retainer weight (Ti is quite common now), and some very accurate cam ramp profiles.
Generally, the articles I see call out the engines as "near stock" O-200's. I always interpreted that as carefully selected and tuned factory parts - pistons balanced and lightened to within a gnat's whisker. Cam modestly profiled to the most favorable limits of "stock", etc. I didn't realize you could substitute parts or materials.
 

Pops

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Old friend of mine that lived in Columbus, OH used to build Formula One 0-200 engines. He built a stock 0-200 for Dallas's C-150 and I never seen a C-150 with that much power with a 0-200 engine. He said everything was legal in the engine.
 

BJC

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Does anyone have insight into how the O-200's in Formula One are prepared? I'm curious about how they prevent the engines from grenading at the high RPM they run? I know they balance all of the components and assemble the engines with tight tolerances, but <for instance> how do they prevent valve float at 4,000 RPM?

Obviously, nobody is gonna give away all of the secrets, but someone here must be able to share something...
I would think that every allowable mod has been tried. WRT valve float, any springs can be used. See what is allowed here: http://www.if1airracing.com/images/Documents/IF1_Technical_Rules_Rev2011.pdf

edit: Turd has a link to the same document in his post above.


BJC
 

Kyle Boatright

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Great information. Thanks, gentlemen.

I don't see specific requirement around compression ratio. I guess with "custom forged pistons" you're allowed to monkey with compression ratio?
 

Winginit

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Great information. Thanks, gentlemen.

I don't see specific requirement around compression ratio. I guess with "custom forged pistons" you're allowed to monkey with compression ratio?
You might be able to change the shape of the combustion chamber somewhat with the piston crown, but the swept volume vs the minimum combustion chamber size is going to dictate the compression ratio.They have pretty well limited every mod to taking things to minimum or maximum allowed tolerances. Exhaust system might be a source of power, and whatever might be done to make the fuel atomize better. More efficient combustion chamber shape, and hotter spark. Maybe some zero gap rings and piston coatings. Seems to be some latitude in the ignition area. Maybe eliminate power robbing magnetos and replace with newer electronic ignitions. Maybe an electric oil pump ?
 

radfordc

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Does anyone have insight into how the O-200's in Formula One are prepared? I'm curious about how they prevent the engines from grenading at the high RPM they run? I know they balance all of the components and assemble the engines with tight tolerances, but <for instance> how do they prevent valve float at 4,000 RPM?

Obviously, nobody is gonna give away all of the secrets, but someone here must be able to share something...
Is 4000 rpm all they do? My VW engine would turn nearly that fast in level flight. NASCAR engines turn over 8000 rpm for hours at a time.
 

Kyle Boatright

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Is 4000 rpm all they do? My VW engine would turn nearly that fast in level flight. NASCAR engines turn over 8000 rpm for hours at a time.
I dunno if that is all, but they have to balance rpm vs prop size. Also, since they do a standing start, they need "off the line" acceleration given how difficult passing is in pylon racing. Really small props (that spin at crazy RPM) are not generally a recipe for good low speed acceleration.
 

Little Scrapper

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Well, I have all the Cassutt newsletters and they definitely talk about it. The real "secrets" are in drag reduction.

On my 67 Chevelle my valves don't float because I have performance heads with performance springs and rollers. Balance is key, lots of money to have balanced assemblies.

4k rpm in a 0-200 isn't float territory really. The fun part about Cassutt racing is the constant fine tuning trying to get another 5 mph.

I'm on vacation but when I get home I'll type some things they talk about in the newsletters.
 

TFF

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Engine limit is useable propellors. Money and magic is spread all over propellors. The 0-200 like all aviation engines are designed to turn a prop in efficient range which is usually in the 2200-2700 RPM range. Running it 4000 is not that much of a stretch at race prep. The sacrifice of running a four foot prop at 4000+ RPM is climb sucks at anything but race speeds. I have only seen one F1 race, not at Reno, back in the mid 2000s. At 300MSL, those 4 foot props takes 1500 feet roll. Normal 2500 rpm prop would be off in 600 ft. Probably 100 mph different in props between 2500 and 4000 rpm. Back in the 80's Showroom Stock Road Racing was real popular with the SCCA. The factory supported teams would get a load of parts. 100 pistons, 10 cams, 10 cranks, and on. The teams would get out the scale and micrometer and find the best parts. Then they could assemble one engine to the perfect "production" engine. They would return the rest. The F1 engines seem closer to the good old SCCA Production classes when MGs and Triumphs hit the tracks.
 

Victor Bravo

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I notice that Raceair has not weighed in on this thread :)

The engine rules have changed significantly since I participated in F-1 racing, and I was not the engine builder. I also was not ever in the "top 10" so my engine did not have any "magic" stuff.

My engine ran 4000-4200 RPM using stock magnetos and 34 degrees BTDC timing. I was told we were approaching valve float but had not reached it.The timing was required to be fixed, that may have changed now. My engine was built and balanced by a highly experienced engine builder.

I used Total Seal rings.The "piston clearance" in the F-1 engines was enormous. Some of the guys reportedly used plastic or Micarta "buttons" on the piston skirt to prevent the pistons from rocking in the cylinders with those huge clearances... something like .025-.030 clearance. The 10 foot streak of oil that you saw on the bottom of Jon's Nemesis by the end of the race was not there because of poor engine workmanship.

Many of the big modifications and cleverness in engine building was effort to simply keep the engine alive at the RPM and temperatures they were experiencing. Several of the guys machined out the oil pump housing and cover, to use the GO-300 oil pump gears that were taller (thicker) than O-200 gears. By increasing the oil flow in GPH, you could reduce the pressure (by way of loose bearing clearances) and recover a little lost HP.

Back in my day you could not raise the compression ratio and you had to use all stock parts. No aftermarket NFS pistons, no Carrillo rods. All that may have changed recently. My engine builder wanted very much to use Timken needle bearings on the rockers, we never got around to it. He swore there was a few HP in that alone, as well as reduced heat.

In my day the cam profiles had to be stock. There was a lot of talk among the enginepeople that the ideal cam profile was actually smaller in some areas than the maximum. I was told about the difference betwen compressionr atio and "trap" compression ratio.

Jon Sharp's magneto guy Don Sanford (Aero Mag-lectric at Orange County airport) once told me that increasing the amount of energy that actually got to the spark plugs was a big part of Jon's success. He didn't tell me how they accomplished that, but he did tell me they had built a magneto testing rig, sort of a mag dyno, at their shop.

I never got to experiment with the exotic coatings, ceramic piston tops, bake-on moly coating, etc. I'm sure they provide some measurable amount of help.

To be brutally honest, 90%+ of the "extra" horsepower made by F-1 race engines comes directly from spinning itup to higher RPM and having a good propeller that lets the engine get up to that speed.
 
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Little Scrapper

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I never got to experiment with the exotic coatings, ceramic piston tops, bake-on moly coating, etc. I'm sure they provide some measurable amount of help.

To be brutally honest, 90%+ of the "extra" horsepower made by F-1 race engines comes directly from spinning itup to higher RPM and having a good propeller that lets the engine get up to that speed.
Reminds me of when I got my azz kicked by a old guy with a 283 in a 64 chevelle. Pretty sure I was 17 years old. I thought I had all.the answers because I read magazines and all.they talked about were fancy coatings, fancy rods, fancy intakes etc. So that's what I did, I blew my money on that crap and built my first engine, a 327. And against my father's advice I tore off the Rochester and out on a Holley 650, ya know, gotta be cool right?

I got my azz kicked so incredibly bad it was embarrassing. And to make matters worse I got beat twice, because I whined like a little girl so he gave me another chance.

At 17 I was too stupid to see reality. When you're young it's easy to believe in the "hype".

The 283 that spanked my azz was pretty much stock. But the guy had a truly balanced assembly and a finely tuned Rochester carb. The heads weren't even the double hump 202's, they were the little 194's. The only non stock item was a aluminum intake, the original "Z28" intake sold by GM Performance Group as the "Bow tie" intake.

So that's it, stock 283 with a high rise intake that was extremely balanced. The key for him was the entire engine simple ran well as a complete system. An engine that runs well and is tuned well is able to spool up well; high RPM's. I'll never forget that high reving little 283 with factory cast rods. Lol

So, a little off topic I guess but often times it's the simple things that matter most.
 

Pops

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Reminds me of when I got my azz kicked by a old guy with a 283 in a 64 chevelle. Pretty sure I was 17 years old. I thought I had all.the answers because I read magazines and all.they talked about were fancy coatings, fancy rods, fancy intakes etc. So that's what I did, I blew my money on that crap and built my first engine, a 327. And against my father's advice I tore off the Rochester and out on a Holley 650, ya know, gotta be cool right?

I got my azz kicked so incredibly bad it was embarrassing. And to make matters worse I got beat twice, because I whined like a little girl so he gave me another chance.

At 17 I was too stupid to see reality. When you're young it's easy to believe in the "hype".

The 283 that spanked my azz was pretty much stock. But the guy had a truly balanced assembly and a finely tuned Rochester carb. The heads weren't even the double hump 202's, they were the little 194's. The only non stock item was a aluminum intake, the original "Z28" intake sold by GM Performance Group as the "Bow tie" intake.

So that's it, stock 283 with a high rise intake that was extremely balanced. The key for him was the entire engine simple ran well as a complete system. An engine that runs well and is tuned well is able to spool up well; high RPM's. I'll never forget that high reving little 283 with factory cast rods. Lol

So, a little off topic I guess but often times it's the simple things that matter most.
Take the 327 and de-stoke it with a 283 crank for hi-revs. Back in my drag racing days a local guy had a 55 chevy for drags only and one night a the local drag strip watched him run 2 dead heats with a 426 Dodge Super Stock hemi run by a Dodge dealer with the little de-stroked 327 to a 301 ci. Running 6.13/1 ring and pinion and shifting at 9500 rpm. QuakerCity Dragway, Salem, OH.
Buddy of mine had a 56 Chevy with a factory 2-4 carb and 4-speed, 327ci of 375 hp. Fun to drive on the street.
I was running .10 second slower than the national record in my class in 1964 with a Ford and had a very good 2 dr 58 chevy sleeper to run on the street.
 

Kyle Boatright

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My engine ran 4000-4200 RPM using stock magnetos and 34 degrees BTDC timing. I was told we were approaching valve float but had not reached it.The timing was required to be fixed, that may have changed now. My engine was built and balanced by a highly experienced engine builder.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm curious as to how long those engines lasted? Also, you mentioned temperatures. What temperatures would the engine reach towards the end of the race? Did you run an oil cooler, or was that just more drag?
 

Raceair

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Victor Bravo.......Yes,....I am not commenting. Just sitting here smiling, reading all the responses. Reminds me of the time I asked Dave Patterson (FV Champ) what his compression ratio was, and I just got a polite smile back.......
 

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