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Most powerful engine used in four wheel competition?


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#1 Jimisgod

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 17:21

http://www.topgear.c...utus-2011-07-11

Having been enthused by reading about that fabulous car, I was wondering. What is the most powerful engine ever used in a car for competition?

I suppose you could break it down into:

Circuit racing, Drag racing and Rally (including hill-climb). This kind of excludes speed record attempts

And I suppose you could also measure the "power" of an engine in brake-horsepower (bhp) or kilowatts. Although aren't they pretty much interchangeable, not in value, but as measurements?

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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 17:37

Any of a number of top fuel dragsters have developed so much horsepower they easily surpass that unsightly heap's capabilities, allegedly developing anything from an effectively unmeasurable 8,000-10,000bhp (for a few fleeting moments). But for my mindset, unimpressed by drag racing, so what?

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 05 January 2013 - 17:41.


#3 AAGR

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 18:23

Any of a number of top fuel dragsters have developed so much horsepower they easily surpass that unsightly heap's capabilities, allegedly developing anything from an effectively unmeasurable 8,000-10,000bhp (for a few fleeting moments). But for my mindset, unimpressed by drag racing, so what?

DCN



Backing up the deeply respected DCN, may I suggest that if we bar dragstars from this thread, it could develop into a fascinating discourse.

Me, I know very little, but I suspect BMW's 1.5-litre turbo qualifying figures of 1,200bhp-plus from the 1980s may not be the ultimate ....

AAGR



#4 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 18:52

Backing up the deeply respected DCN, may I suggest that if we bar dragstars from this thread, it could develop into a fascinating discourse.

Me, I know very little, but I suspect BMW's 1.5-litre turbo qualifying figures of 1,200bhp-plus from the 1980s may not be the ultimate ....

AAGR



Honda never announced how much power their engines ever produced. The best that I can recall is that a Williams man once told that he had seen 1000 hp on the dyno but that was the end of the scale and the V6 wasn't at top rpm level yet...

Other candidates, the best of the turbocharged Offies in Indycar in 1973, the final year of unlimited boost in that series. According Mark Dees (The Miller Dynasty) there was talk of 1200 hp being confirmed as possible but the top teams never revealing how much they used.

And then there is of course the 1973 Penske Sunoco 917/30 Can-Am. They talked about 1100 hp, but was that a conservative estimation yes or no?


Henri


#5 h4887

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 20:32

Well. I've only been to a couple of drag meetings, but I thought the top fuelers were easily the most impressive racing machines of any kind I've ever seen (and heard!) The sound and fury was quite overwhelming, and I would strongly recommend a visit to any race fan, whatever their own predilection. I'm so broadminded I even went to a bike meeting at Snetterton once! Seriously though folks, it beggars belief how they manage to dump 8000bhp on the track with no wheelspin and hit 100mph in about a second...hey, I might have to visit the Pod again this year!

#6 kayemod

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 20:43

Well. I've only been to a couple of drag meetings, but I thought the top fuelers were easily the most impressive racing machines of any kind I've ever seen (and heard!) The sound and fury was quite overwhelming, and I would strongly recommend a visit to any race fan, whatever their own predilection. I'm so broadminded I even went to a bike meeting at Snetterton once! Seriously though folks, it beggars belief how they manage to dump 8000bhp on the track with no wheelspin and hit 100mph in about a second...hey, I might have to visit the Pod again this year!


I agree, I'll admit to being a bit of a purist where motor sport in concerned, but I'm convinced that every fan should try to visit Santa Pod at least once, those machines have to be seen to be appreciated. I remember when a couple of American drag stars came to Woodvale near Southport some time around 1960. Just a big block Chevy back then, Dad was dismissive and I was too young to be allowed to go on my own, but I can still remember the sound from 15 miles away.


#7 E1pix

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 21:00

... And then there is of course the 1973 Penske Sunoco 917/30 Can-Am. They talked about 1100 hp, but was that a conservative estimation yes or no?

Henri

1,100 in race trim is commonly quoted. I've heard 1,500 with full boost from some pretty good sources. And this in 1973! :eek:

Still the greatest race car ever, IMHO.

#8 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 21:28

1,100 in race trim is commonly quoted. I've heard 1,500 with full boost from some pretty good sources. And this in 1973! :eek:

Still the greatest race car ever, IMHO.



IIMHO, I preferred the coupé 917 Endurance racers, the CanAm spyders were impressive but the long distance cars were so gorgeous.

As for being impressed about 1500 hp in 1973, may I once promote the Offy of that year another time? With only 1/3rd of the cylinders, a little less then half of the capacity and yet not that much less powerful then the 5.4 flat twelve of the Porsche....
Also in 1973....



Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 05 January 2013 - 21:29.


#9 Tony Matthews

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 22:16

...hey, I might have to visit the Pod again this year!

I have GOT to go this year, I cannot understand how I've failed to get there yet, it's only a few miles up the road...

#10 E1pix

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 22:39

IIMHO, I preferred the coupé 917 Endurance racers, the CanAm spyders were impressive but the long distance cars were so gorgeous.

As for being impressed about 1500 hp in 1973, may I once promote the Offy of that year another time? With only 1/3rd of the cylinders, a little less then half of the capacity and yet not that much less powerful then the 5.4 flat twelve of the Porsche....
Also in 1973....

Henri

Yes the 917s are so beautiful... but give me a 512M any day. :love:

Agreed, the Offys turned remarkable power. One must wonder, if not for the unfortunates Pollard and Savage, and even Walther, might the engine rule have stayed the same? Took a ton more gusto to drive those mothers, on crap tires and aero, than anything at the Brickyard since (or ever again).

#11 Duc-Man

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 22:51

The '73 Shadow can-am car put out 1250 horse with the turbo engine. A shame it was a problem child.

#12 Henri Greuter

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 22:58

Yes the 917s are so beautiful... but give me a 512M any day. :love:

Agreed, the Offys turned remarkable power. One must wonder, if not for the unfortunates Pollard and Savage, and even Walther, might the engine rule have stayed the same? Took a ton more gusto to drive those mothers, on crap tires and aero, than anything at the Brickyard since (or ever again).


My favorite 512 is the `Coda Lunga` version of Le Mans 1970.

The rule change at Indy was inevitable for at least one other reason then the 1973 nightmares: Fuel consumption redcution inspired by the Arab Oil crisis of late '73 early '74! Being a bit more enviromental friendly and sympathetic to the American citizen who had all of a sudden to pay so much more for gasoline.

Another reason I think that USAC also used but there is no direct approval of that: Their darling AJ Foyt had difficulties to remain competitive with his own V8 engine against the Offys. The V8 couldn't stand the boost levels of the Offy and gradually Foyt became less successive. Now he was USAC's most favourite driver so when fuel consumption had to be achieved USAC selected to do so by installing turbo boost limits. Now, `by chance` the level they selected was about the maximum boost leverl that Foyt's engine could toleratate and work well on. For an Offy that boost level was a piece of cake to deal with yet it had 50 to 75 hp less then Foyt's V8!
All of a sudden Foyt had the andvatage that the Offys had had on him in the past, given to him on a silver plate by USAC. If it was intentional by USAC I don't know but given the fact that there were also the special Foyt pop-off valves in the yers that followed, I can't help but feel that USAC knew all too well that they were assisting Foyt big time and they had no problem with that. Maybe not intentional, it suited USAC well that it helped their idol so much....

Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 05 January 2013 - 22:59.


#13 Allen Brown

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 23:35

Didn't somone once libellously claim that the Foyt V8 had a supply of nitro in a fake fire extinguisher. I'm sure that can't be true but a fun story.

#14 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 00:31

Backing up the deeply respected DCN, may I suggest that if we bar dragstars from this thread, it could develop into a fascinating discourse.

Me, I know very little, but I suspect BMW's 1.5-litre turbo qualifying figures of 1,200bhp-plus from the 1980s may not be the ultimate ....

AAGR

Dragsters make more power than anything else. Even alcohol engines do and Pro Stockers on carbs probably com back to the best of the rest.most Drag engines make more power than any other, as they only do 1/4 mile races and are often pulled down after every run, and normally after every meeting,, that in the strong 'street' classes. 15 minute engines. But they are useable for at least drag racing.
Which will be turbo sports car engines which had more capacity than F1, though race boost and qualifying probably was quite a deal different.
Power to weight ratio is probably a 410 Sprintcar engine, 800+hp and 550kg. And they will do 14 shows normally without a freshen up.
And just for the record a Nascar engine with around 800hp and 10000rpm and that do 500mile races are probably the most reliable.
Especially the older stock block engines.
The BMW F1 engines so regularly touted possibly made 1200hp once, though from what I have been told it was more like a 1000 near useless HP for the qualifying engines and around 800 on maximum boost for the race. And like most of those engines of the period they were handgrenades, though reputedly stock block, so probably the maximum for a 1.5 stock block engine.
The old story, dynoo engines can make massive power, but often totally useless for any real application.
The dyno shoot outs at some car shows are exactly that , useless engines designed to make huge HP numbers before they inevitably explode!

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 06 January 2013 - 00:36.


#15 crooky369

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 01:13

According to an old book I've had for years:

"...Renault's V6 went off the dial of the test dynamometer at Viry-Chatillon, which read up to 1400bhp."

That was from the 1986 season so I guess either the Renault or the BMW had the most powerful engine ever used in F1?

#16 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:43

How much horsepower did this have? The Triangle Flying Saucer Special at Ramsgate on 7th July 1953

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The RR Merlin engine ultimateyly developed about 2000 HP according to Sir Stanley Hooker.

#17 xj13v12

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:52

The rule change at Indy was inevitable for at least one other reason then the 1973 nightmares: Fuel consumption redcution inspired by the Arab Oil crisis of late '73 early '74! Being a bit more enviromental friendly and sympathetic to the American citizen who had all of a sudden to pay so much more for gasoline.

Another reason I think that USAC also used but there is no direct approval of that: Their darling AJ Foyt had difficulties to remain competitive with his own V8 engine against the Offys. The V8 couldn't stand the boost levels of the Offy and gradually Foyt became less successive. Now he was USAC's most favourite driver so when fuel consumption had to be achieved USAC selected to do so by installing turbo boost limits. Now, `by chance` the level they selected was about the maximum boost leverl that Foyt's engine could toleratate and work well on. For an Offy that boost level was a piece of cake to deal with yet it had 50 to 75 hp less then Foyt's V8!
All of a sudden Foyt had the andvatage that the Offys had had on him in the past, given to him on a silver plate by USAC. If it was intentional by USAC I don't know but given the fact that there were also the special Foyt pop-off valves in the yers that followed, I can't help but feel that USAC knew all too well that they were assisting Foyt big time and they had no problem with that. Maybe not intentional, it suited USAC well that it helped their idol so much....

Henri
[/quote]
I believe that the top Ford Turbo engines ultimately had more power than the Offy Turbo, 1100-1200 is often quoted. The interesting technical feature is that the V8 could rev much higher than the Offy and this was a major part of the advantage they held. I had a recent conversation with Eldon Rasmussen who was the gun exhaust builder at the time. His pipes could add 30-40 h.p. He mentioned several times the Foyt advantage simply being able to "spin" the engine to much higher r.p.m. than the privateers or less well financed teams. Remember Foyt had taken over the Ford program. I think Eldon mentioned 11,500 rpm and someone here will surely be able to explain better than I can how extra revs and ultimate horse power are correlated. Torque is not the issue or question here. The other person of note I spoke to was Sonny Meyer who did development work on the Offy, then the Ford, then the Turbo Offy and then the Turbo Ford. No one could possibly know more. The Turbo Ford had more power. Maybe talk about sleeves and air speed is another topic but ultimately I think the Ford Turbo got the highest pure power readings. Graeme McRae was told his Vince Grantelli qualifying engine (not Indy but another race) was 1300 h.p. He said it was certainly much more than the Offy Turbo he had driven. This is not to say that the Ford Turbo was the most powerful engine ever but probably more powerful than the best Turbo Offies. Who knows what the best of the F1 turbos used to get for qualifying using special fuels etc. 1500 hp is often quoted.

#18 john aston

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:09

Any of a number of top fuel dragsters have developed so much horsepower they easily surpass that unsightly heap's capabilities, allegedly developing anything from an effectively unmeasurable 8,000-10,000bhp (for a few fleeting moments). But for my mindset, unimpressed by drag racing, so what?

DCN


Unimpressed by drag racing? It has a long and noble history, features terrific engineering, has machines of immense power and offers a visual and aural spectacle which is unparallelled. It is also an exteremely accessible sport - no prima donnas and everybody will talk to you.- which is certainly not the case in some other arenas . I know it started in the Colonies but I for one adore it...

#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:10

What was the most powerful unsupercharged engine and what was the greatest bhp/litre?

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#20 Henri Greuter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:49

I believe that the top Ford Turbo engines ultimately had more power than the Offy Turbo, 1100-1200 is often quoted. The interesting technical feature is that the V8 could rev much higher than the Offy and this was a major part of the advantage they held. I had a recent conversation with Eldon Rasmussen who was the gun exhaust builder at the time. His pipes could add 30-40 h.p. He mentioned several times the Foyt advantage simply being able to "spin" the engine to much higher r.p.m. than the privateers or less well financed teams. Remember Foyt had taken over the Ford program. I think Eldon mentioned 11,500 rpm and someone here will surely be able to explain better than I can how extra revs and ultimate horse power are correlated. Torque is not the issue or question here. The other person of note I spoke to was Sonny Meyer who did development work on the Offy, then the Ford, then the Turbo Offy and then the Turbo Ford. No one could possibly know more. The Turbo Ford had more power. Maybe talk about sleeves and air speed is another topic but ultimately I think the Ford Turbo got the highest pure power readings. Graeme McRae was told his Vince Grantelli qualifying engine (not Indy but another race) was 1300 h.p. He said it was certainly much more than the Offy Turbo he had driven. This is not to say that the Ford Turbo was the most powerful engine ever but probably more powerful than the best Turbo Offies. Who knows what the best of the F1 turbos used to get for qualifying using special fuels etc. 1500 hp is often quoted.




My source of info is "Design and Development of the Indycar" by Roger Huntington, that book describes nothing like what you mention here.
That doesn't mean that I don't believe you. But I do wonder how a respected writer as Huntington was never mentioned anything like this. The Top Ford brigade definitely kept it a secret for him for sure, while he had a reputation for being well informed. Shines a new light on Indy engine history documentation for sure.
The other wonder that I have is, if the Ford still had the edge then why did it almast fade from the scene, other than AJ Foyt hanging on to it, since he owned them. Did Foyt kept the remaining engines so much under control that he didn't made them avaialble anymore after the boost rules of 74? Which gave him such an instant power advantage that he didn't want to share with others anymore?


Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 06 January 2013 - 08:51.


#21 Tony Matthews

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:50

What was the most powerful unsupercharged engine and what was the greatest bhp/litre?



Blimey - you sound just like Jeremy Paxman! :)

Edited by Tony Matthews, 06 January 2013 - 08:52.


#22 Henri Greuter

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:56

What was the most powerful unsupercharged engine and what was the greatest bhp/litre?



Normally aspirated engines....
I can't speak for most powerful engine, that depends on whch category you look. But I presume that the highest bhp/liter ranges must be gained with the not rev limitor restricted F1 engines of a few years ago. I don't know if the 3 liter V10's got higher ratios than the 2.4 liter V8s. But I tend to believe that one of the 20000+ rpm screamers of those years has the highest bhp/liter ever. But which one?


Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 06 January 2013 - 08:57.


#23 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:59

Unimpressed by drag racing? It has a long and noble history, features terrific engineering, has machines of immense power and offers a visual and aural spectacle which is unparallelled. It is also an exteremely accessible sport - no prima donnas and everybody will talk to you.- which is certainly not the case in some other arenas . I know it started in the Colonies but I for one adore it...

And Drag Racing has the most athletic drivers too,, John Force, Victor Bray here in Oz. But they are very succesfull.
While I am no real drag racing fan I do watch it on TV. And there is some characters, not the PR speak that most of the other 'Professional' racers tend to be. Though they still back off when the first corner comes up!!

#24 GeoffR

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:19

On the subject of drag racing, when a top fuel dragster launches it is a 3 dimensional experience, you not only see and hear it, you also feel a physical shock wave from it. And no matter how much you prepare and anticipate the launch, the actual event will still make you jump!

#25 Andrew Kitson

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:49

I concur all enthusiasts should visit a top level drag race meeting at least once. I first went to the Pod in 1971 and have been most years since, except the last two, usually at one of the FIA European championship events. These are the ones where you will see, hear, smell (and feel) top fuel nitro power. Drag racing should be treated as a completely different discipline from other forms of motorsport. For example you cannot compare a close karting scrap around Kimbolton with a rally stage on the Monte...completely different forms of motoring sport. Perhaps this thread should be called 'Most powerful engine used in competition around corners', if drag racing is excluded.

From my experience, I can only suggest you will never ever 'get' drag racing unless you attend first hand. The TV broadcasts, youtube or any film or photograph cannot begin to do the experience justice. Moving pictures do not catch the speed or noise or the sense of drama. Two top fuellers or funny cars ready to race really is gladiatorial, spectator banks and stands packed, every pair of eyes on these two projectiles awaiting the green light. And when it comes, just an explosion of power, noise and so fast you can hardly keep track...infact if you are standing near the finish line, when they are doing 300mph, very hard to focus on them as your chest and eyeballs are vibrating! Then there is silence, the commentator mad with excitement, everyone around smiling and car alarms going off in the car parks behind the bank. No other form of motorsport is so dramatic in my book.

But you have to pick the right meeting and good weather! It is a challenge here in the UK. So many racing events clash for a start and you have to have fingers crossed that the day is pretty much shower free. There is nothing worse than sitting around whilst they attempt to dry the track, hanging around the paddock for two hours, ready to run again then another downpour. I have been at the Pod all day before, rain on and off, with racing finally getting underway at 6pm. They have a 9pm curfew. It is simply not possible to run on a modern drag strip with any moisture on it with the BHP they produce.

As has been mentioned, other lower classes easily outstrip other forms of the sport from a BHP level too. The 'division 2' dragsters and hot rods, as seen at the Festival of speed, are 3500 bhp, even some bikes have more power than that turbo BMW F1 engine these days...but they are designed to only run for a minute at most, including burn-outs etc, before a rebuild for the next run.

The end of May is round one of the European championship, at Santa Pod 'The Main Event' with the final round in early September. If you have not been before you'll be amazed at the variety of whacky cars & bikes racing, including the jet car. I always try and go on the final qualifying day, when most of the top times are recorded, as drivers try to get into the final 8 that will go though to the racing eliminations stage. Sometimes during the racing eliminations, if one car fails on the line, the other will back off and cross the line slowly, as he only has to cross the line to win, saving the motor for the next round. Qualifying is full on speed to get into the next days eliminations. Give it a try...
http://www.santapod.co.uk/e_main.php

#26 Nick Savage

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:16

I am with Andrew K and John Aston here. Doug - I am just a bit surprised, but you have to try a Top Fuel meeting at least once. I saw the Americans visit the UK in the early Sixties, then went (pilgrimage, really) to the Nostalgia Drags at Bakersfield in 1989 and just a couple of years ago to the FIA Top Fuel Finale at Santa Pod.

Nothing prepares you for the extraordinary impact of a Top Fuel dragster - as another poster said, it is a multi-dimensional experience ... and just when you think you cannot withstand the sound and internal vibrations any longer .... they are through the traps. Thank heavens it only lasts 4 and a bit seconds.

DSJ (quick pause to unfurl worship mat and face East) could see the appeal and I think probably had high regard for George Brown and Ian Ashwell when they dragged bikes in the Sixties. Ands it must be the last FIA-organised event where you can wander through the pits and see a crew rebuilding the motor between rounds, talk to the pilots and etc. Fantastic !

Even after fifty years of spectating at historic racing and making up the numbers on the grid, and seeing and hearing some sensational cars, I still rate the drag racing experience as not to be missed.
Nick

#27 mariner

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 15:30

Firstly , I concur with everything said about seeing a top fuel race live. I've seen several in the USA and WOW, your teeth and stomach do actually shake!

Ignoring drag cars Cummins once claimed the "most powerful" prize for one of their truck engines - a real 1,600 bhp on the dyno. Strictly the trucks have six wheels but still only two axles

#28 fbarrett

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 23:35

Don't forget the old wheel-driven land-speed-record cars. The original poster's question reads "engine" in the singular, so are multi-engined cars ruled out?

#29 jj2728

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 00:26

Used to go to the NHRA Springnationals near Columbus and it was a quite a treat. I remember a top fueller hand grenading right in front of us as it launched off the line. The heat wave alone from the detonation was something else indeed.

#30 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 00:26

I would've thought some of the Pikes Peak cars have to be pretty powerful. I'm sure at this year FoS, Rod Millen told me his car started at 1400+bhp at the bottom and had around 800bhp at the top.
Not sure if his is the most powerful car there but seems a crazy amount of power to try and use on the side of a cliff!!

#31 SJ Lambert

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:43

The Thrust SSC must be pushing out quite a few ponies!!!



#32 arttidesco

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:22

The Thrust SSC must be pushing out quite a few ponies!!!


Posted Image

Soon to be topped by this Eurojet EJ200 which will produce 27,000 lbs of thrust,

Posted Image

which combined with this 750 hp Cosworth CA 2010 motor that serves as a hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene pump
for a rocket that will produce a projected additional peak 25,000 lbs of thrust, enough to power the
Bloodhound SSC to over a projected 1000 mph at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa later this year.

Has anyone else from TNF made a donation to this engineering adventure ?

Edited by arttidesco, 07 January 2013 - 03:24.


#33 Henri Greuter

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:17

As much as I kind of understand the fascination for drag racing expressed here:


At a regular track i can't stand Detrit big block technology since it gives me a headache....
And I love my hearing to enjoy soft sounds of nature and non-heavy metal music tooo...

so as for going to a dragstrip,

Thanks but no thanks.


Henri

#34 uechtel

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:58

http://www.topgear.c...utus-2011-07-11

Having been enthused by reading about that fabulous car, I was wondering. What is the most powerful engine ever used in a car for competition?

I suppose you could break it down into:

Circuit racing, Drag racing and Rally (including hill-climb). This kind of excludes speed record attempts

And I suppose you could also measure the "power" of an engine in brake-horsepower (bhp) or kilowatts. Although aren't they pretty much interchangeable, not in value, but as measurements?


Well, regarding the initial example of this thread, the question is, whether your question is restricted on 'real' cars (in histrorical sense) or also includes phantasy models (avoiding the word 'fake'...)?

When the 'Brutus' appeared first there was an article in German magazine 'Der Spiegel' which describes the story slightly different. According to that it is no WW I engine, but an airplane engine made by BMW in 1925. (The BMW company was founded after WW I and did not bother on cars until around the end of the thirties). It had served in the Spanish Civil War and then ended up on a scrp heap. When it was discovered some decades later the idea was to use it for something 'purposeful'. They decided to place it into an 1908 American La France chassis (which they regard 'historically correct' as they tell it was quite fashionable at that time in Germany. But I have never seen anything coming close to the dimensions of this appearing on a German race track in those years. IMO the biggest machine was the 7 l Mercedes SSKL and that was probably already stressing chassis technology of the twenties to its extremes...). So the whole Brutus thing was made to give the spectator some feeling how things could have been. Nevertheless if the Spiegel story is correct, it still remains a pure fantasy product.



#35 uechtel

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:04

And I suppose you could also measure the "power" of an engine in brake-horsepower (bhp) or kilowatts. Although aren't they pretty much interchangeable, not in value, but as measurements?


Indeed KW and HP are only two different units for expressing the same physical property. But to compare engine performance you would have not only to look at maximum power (in physical sense), but also at the characteristic curve over the rpm-range, torque, consumption, endurance...


#36 Bloggsworth

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:16

BMW used second=hand blocks for their F1 engines as they had been thermally cycled many times and were therefore a stable base for the turbo engine.

#37 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:23

Is there a simple conversion from the thrust of a jet or rocket engine in, say, pounds thrust, to power in, say, horsepower? I appreciate that efficiency of the propellor must come into the equation.

I think I read somewhere that the RAF started to take Frank Whittle seriously when someone calculated that the thrust from his prototype jet engine was equivalent to the power of a Merlin.

Edited by D-Type, 07 January 2013 - 11:25.


#38 kayemod

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:25

BMW used second=hand blocks for their F1 engines as they had been thermally cycled many times and were therefore a stable base for the turbo engine.


I don't think this urban myth is correct, and I'm sure I've read a denial from Paul Rosche himself. I think he said that the story was useful from an advertising point of view, but that an old stock block wouldn't have lasted more than a few minutes, I'm sure he said that their F1 blocks were specially made.


#39 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:05

I don't think this urban myth is correct, and I'm sure I've read a denial from Paul Rosche himself. I think he said that the story was useful from an advertising point of view, but that an old stock block wouldn't have lasted more than a few minutes, I'm sure he said that their F1 blocks were specially made.

I raised it here a while back but the discussion took a different turn and nobody confirmed or denied the BMW story.

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#40 nmansellfan

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:41

Just to throw more doubt onto the subject...! I've read somewhere (maybe on TNF) that stock blocks were used by BMW until the horsepower level rose up beyond around 750 bhp, where they switched to purpose built blocks.

I'm pretty sure Honda didn't even build one at this level, but I did read somewhere years ago that their '87 / '88 F1 turbo engines would / could have produced 2000 bhp for qualifying if the 4 bar / 2.5 bar limits weren't introduced. But it doesn't fit the criteria of the question, so ignore my rambling! :)

#41 uechtel

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:55

Is there a simple conversion from the thrust of a jet or rocket engine in, say, pounds thrust, to power in, say, horsepower? I appreciate that efficiency of the propellor must come into the equation.

I think I read somewhere that the RAF started to take Frank Whittle seriously when someone calculated that the thrust from his prototype jet engine was equivalent to the power of a Merlin.


Thrust = "Force" (unit "Newton"), physically not the same thing as "power" ("Watt").

To calculate power from thrust for a jet engine you have to multiplicate it with the speed of the exhaust (P = F * v), which we don´t know. Or expressing it differently, you can have the same thrust by huge amount of slow air as by small amount of fast air. Nevertheless in the first case you have less power than in the second.








#42 flatlander48

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:40

And, speaking of Paul Rosche, head of BMW engine development in the F-1 Turbo Era...

He was interviewed for Motorsport magazine not long after he retired. He stated that the F-1 engine, at full boost, put out "about 1450hp". He used "about" as their dyno would only absorb approximately 1400hp. In its day, it was the most powerful F-1 engine. There were 2 reasons for the extraordinary output:

  • The ability to physically contain extremely high boost pressures
  • A fuel blend from BASF that prevented pre-detonation at the high boost levels. This blend was a variant of WW2 rocket fuel.

No one else in period had a fuel blend that avoided the pre-detonation issue, so that became BMW's advantage.

I believe they qualified with about 1200hp and raced at 900-1000hp. As there were no engine and gearbox longevity rules at the time, the complete drivetrain was replaced after qualifying. The extreme power levels would distort the gearbox casing and twist the halfshafts.

#43 flatlander48

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:44

I don't think this urban myth is correct, and I'm sure I've read a denial from Paul Rosche himself. I think he said that the story was useful from an advertising point of view, but that an old stock block wouldn't have lasted more than a few minutes, I'm sure he said that their F1 blocks were specially made.


I believe that the 1600/2002 blocks were 2-bolt mains. Without some very extensive girdling, I doubt if it could have contained the max power levels.

#44 D-Type

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:55

That's what I was asking. Basic physics definitions are Work = Force * distance moved. Power is capacity to do work or Force * velocity.

So is there a simple formula for converting one to the other. As it is speed dependent, say at 400mph (S6B or Breedlove), 600mph (Meteor, Thrust 2, or Goldenrod), 750mph (Thrust SSC), 1000mph (Bloodhound)

#45 Henri Greuter

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:13

And, speaking of Paul Rosche, head of BMW engine development in the F-1 Turbo Era...

He was interviewed for Motorsport magazine not long after he retired. He stated that the F-1 engine, at full boost, put out "about 1450hp". He used "about" as their dyno would only absorb approximately 1400hp. In its day, it was the most powerful F-1 engine. There were 2 reasons for the extraordinary output:

  • The ability to physically contain extremely high boost pressures
  • A fuel blend from BASF that prevented pre-detonation at the high boost levels. This blend was a variant of WW2 rocket fuel.

No one else in period had a fuel blend that avoided the pre-detonation issue, so that became BMW's advantage.

I believe they qualified with about 1200hp and raced at 900-1000hp. As there were no engine and gearbox longevity rules at the time, the complete drivetrain was replaced after qualifying. The extreme power levels would distort the gearbox casing and twist the halfshafts.



I wished that the same kind of details ever came out of the Honda kitchen because if there was one engine that may have matched the BMW and outdid it in race performances it was the Honda. I know they were jiggling with toluene based fuels to avoid pre-detonation.
Of course, it was nothing like in the unlimited boot days of 1986 but in 1988 the Honda V6 used a blend consisting of some 85% toluene.
So far for `the `octane` rating...


Henri


#46 Tony Matthews

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:19

This blend was a variant of WW2 rocket fuel.

Alcohol and liquid oxygen? I don't think so.

#47 Henri Greuter

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:27

Alcohol and liquid oxygen? I don't think so.


Agree.

I think the confusion comes from the fact that the blends of the years 1984-1986 and later were referred to by some writers as "Rocket fuel".
But if my memory is correct, the BASF fuel that BMW introduced in 1983 found its origins in WW2 knowledge and experiences obtained with synthetic gasoline that was produced in the War economy of Germany. And in particularly the use of such fuels in blown aircraft engines.

It has been called cheating by BMW but, though I think it was not within the spirits of the rules, the then current rules allowed just about any kind of fuel as long as the octane rating was below a certain number: 102 if I remember correct. And the used fuels did comply to that rule. Kind of "a wolf beign rated as a sheep because of near similar size and standing on four legs"
And since the rule makers didn't change anything they opened up a new field of technology.

Edited by Henri Greuter, 07 January 2013 - 15:29.


#48 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:46

The fuel used by BMW was discussed in this earlier thread:

BMW's exotic fuel in the Brabham in 1983 - is this story true?

where the 'Nazi fuel' myth was pretty conclusively demolished by Michael Müller, who was working for an associated company at the time. According to him the only link between the fuel used during WW2 and the fuel used by BMW in the '80s was that both were synthetic fuels made using a few of the same constituents:

The story of the “Nazi rocket fuel” is pure nonsens, sorry. Their fuel was a mixture of 44 % alcohol and 56 % LOX (liquid oxygen), a blend on which no piston combustion engine would run. I also have seen similar storys mentioning a synthetic fuel from coal based on a German patent from the war years, which is similar b...s...!

Fact is that at that time the gasoline and lube oil partner of Brabham-BMW was the German refining company “Wintershall” which is the petroleum division of BASF. Wintershall was rather unknown in public, because their automotive fuels and lube oils had been sold under the ARAL brand, and the energy fuels through the VEBA organization. Btw, meanwhile they sold their refining operations to VEBA, concentrating on crude oil and LNG exploration only.

About the fuel regulations in F1 then, I don’t have available the exact wording, but as far I remember is was something like “specification must be equivalent to commonly distributed pump fuel” or similar, which meant that no alcohol fuels or high-octane aviation fuels had been allowed. Ordinary pump gasoline is no specific product, but a hydrocarbon fraction in the boiling range between 30 and 215°C, mainly consisting of the original crude oil components of this distillation range plus some additional blending components like aromatics, ethers, and alcohols to increase octane rating to 95 RON (resp. 98 in 1983). The quality of a gasoline is described by a few key data only, which are mainly
- octane rating (min)
- density (min-max)
- boiling curve (various min-max data at different temperatures)
- vapour pressure (max)
plus some minor other points and some limitations on certain components like benzene, alcohol, MTBE, etc.
The practice is that every liquid which fits into these key data is considered as marketable gasoline.

Wintershall - and later of course also the others - used a gap in the regulations - as usual in F1 still today. They researched for specific chemical components with positive effects on combustion behaviour especially in high-performance turbo engines, I remember a scientific article of that time, but forgot the details, what still sticks in my brain are some very exotic aromatic hydrocarbons with extremely high calorific values. First these substances had been added to the standard fuel, but later they changed to fully synthetic fuels, which had been mixtures of various chemicals, some of them very exotic. In order to bring the brew back into the a.m. key values, other components had been added, e.g. if the octane rating was too high, they added some low-octane chemicals, and if the stuff had a density higher than the allowed one, they added some butane gas to make it lighter. It should be mentioned that the final versions of these synthetic fuels had been very expensive, up to $ 300 per litre, and also in some cases very poisonous.

De facto these “fuels” fitted into the standard pump specifications as fixed by ASTM, DIN, BS, or other norms, but in practice they had been everything else than commercial gasoline! The strong toxicity had been kept secret for a rather long time, but after this fact got commonly known, the FIA prohibited these fuels, and introduced the legislation which is still in force today.


It really seems that this is the stuff legends are made from. I have to agree, it sounds rather good, after the 1955 withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz for the first time a German car manufacturer found its way to F1, and the unexpected successes are explained with old nazi fuel technologies. However, only a very small part of this is indeed correct. I have to explain that from 1982-88 I worked for an affiliate company of WINTERSHALL, where I was in charge for the international gasoline trading business, so I followed their F1 fuel developments of course with great interest, firstly because it was “my” company, and secondly because gasoline was my daily business, not only commercially, but also technically.

In gasoline technology this period was influenced by 2 topics. One was the 2nd “oil crisis” initiated by the Iran-Iraq war, which led to hectic research for alternative fuels, the other was the introduction of the catalytic exhaust converter in Europe, which caused intensive research on alternative octane boosters in order to substitute the lead additive. Of course such research also looked back to the 30s and 40s, where most of the gasoline in Germany had been coal-based. During WW2 Germany was cutted off from international petroleum supplies, and so a patent from the early 30s was used to produce hydrocarbon liquids from coal by gasification. This “synthetic gasoline” had an octane rating of approx 70-75, sufficient for the automotive engines of the period, but for aviation fuel an RON of 110-120 was necessary. This was achieved by blending with Methanol (also produced with coal as feedstock), and aromatic hydrocarbons like Benzene, Toluene, and others, which had been traditional by-products from coking plants which convered coal to metallurgical coke.
A similar fuel formula, enriched with additional components like Acetone and Nitrobenzene, has been used also for the Grand Prix cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. However, this brew didn’t fitted at all into the standard gasoline specification of the 80s, and additionally the high content of Methanol with its rather low calorific value would have resulted in the contrary effect, as R&D was looking for high calorific components. In other words, as much as possible burning energy concentrated in one litre or kg of fuel.

Both historic fractions, the synthetic fuel from coal, and the aromatic stream from coking, contained chemical substances which are not found in petroleum, e.g. Cresol, Aniline, Coumarine, Cumene, Naphthaline, and numerous others. After all natural components of commercial petroleum had been extensively tested, with no real positive results, the R&D people remembered these “historical” coal hydrocarbons, and found some rather interesting components. But all these chemicals proved unsuitable for the production of commercial gasoline, because even in coal fractions only small quantities could be found, and synthetic production was much too expensive to compete against petroleum fuels.

At this point Formula 1 entered the game, with their heavy demand for more efficient fuels, and no objections concerning the costs. Most petroleum companies had suitable formulas available, and so of course also Wintershall-BASF. At that time the rather small R&D department of Wintershall joined forces with the much bigger capacities at their mother company BASF, especially in research on chemical components which are not part of commercial petroleum BASF had much more experience. Where the racing fuels finally had been developed and produced, I don’t know, but most probably at BASF because they had the capacities to produce the single chemicals with their small-scale laboratory synthesis columns. However, the project itself was put under the Wintershall banner, because at that time they had been very keen to introduce their name to the public, as their intention was to establish new marketing channels under their own brand additionally to the then exlcusive ARAL marketing.

For sure the nazi legend was feeded by the fact that BASF was one of the partner companies in “IG Farben”, the German chemical syndicate who invented the synthetic coal fuel, and who was responsible for nearly all the fuel production during WW2. Fact is also that only few components of the new BASF-Wintershall-BMW racing fuel could also be found in very small quantities in WW2 aviation fuel, but obviously this plus the name BASF was enough to create all these legends, which interestingly seem to have survived even into actual articles. Best regards to Alfred Neubauer and Tripolis 1933 ...!


Edited by Tim Murray, 07 January 2013 - 15:52.


#49 uechtel

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:15

That's what I was asking. Basic physics definitions are Work = Force * distance moved. Power is capacity to do work or Force * velocity.

So is there a simple formula for converting one to the other. As it is speed dependent, say at 400mph (S6B or Breedlove), 600mph (Meteor, Thrust 2, or Goldenrod), 750mph (Thrust SSC), 1000mph (Bloodhound)


That is what I am trying to explain. You can not directly convert one physical quantity into another one. You need at least two independent quantities to combine them for calculation of a third quantity.

Like in this case force * speed = power

The problem is, which "speed"? Power is energy/work per time, so how much energy the engine will deliver to accelerate the airstrem through the engine. Therefore you have to know how much quicker is the air behind the engine than in front of it. This I think is a different kind of "speed" than the travelling speed of the whole machine. Also (being no expert on this) I assume that this speed difference will not be constant for the whole range between "standstill" and maximum speed of the whole vehicle.

Finally, even if you would know this quantity (the acceleration of air through the engine), you would still compare the effective power of the whole set-up of a jet engine to the nominal power given for a piston engine. You could compare it emprically by attaching for example a propeller to the piston engine and then look which revs you need to achieve the same thrust like with a jet engine, but of course you would have a certain loss depending on factors like propeller dimensions or aerodynmic shape.

So I am afraid the answer to your question is "no"...

Edited by uechtel, 07 January 2013 - 16:17.


#50 Duc-Man

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:39

Well, regarding the initial example of this thread, the question is, whether your question is restricted on 'real' cars (in histrorical sense) or also includes phantasy models (avoiding the word 'fake'...)?

When the 'Brutus' appeared first there was an article in German magazine 'Der Spiegel' which describes the story slightly different. According to that it is no WW I engine, but an airplane engine made by BMW in 1925. (The BMW company was founded after WW I and did not bother on cars until around the end of the thirties). It had served in the Spanish Civil War and then ended up on a scrp heap. When it was discovered some decades later the idea was to use it for something 'purposeful'. They decided to place it into an 1908 American La France chassis (which they regard 'historically correct' as they tell it was quite fashionable at that time in Germany. But I have never seen anything coming close to the dimensions of this appearing on a German race track in those years.



Here is the website of the makers of Brutus.
The beast has an impressing engine size and surely an insane torque but 500hp in cruise mode and 750hp max are not that much.
Talking about aircraft engines in cars: how much power has actually the Napier-Bentley?

IMO the biggest machine was the 7 l Mercedes SSKL and that was probably already stressing chassis technology of the twenties to its extremes...). So the whole Brutus thing was made to give the spectator some feeling how things could have been. Nevertheless if the Spiegel story is correct, it still remains a pure fantasy product.

300hp@3400rpm and 690nm@2000rpm for the SSKL isn't bad. There were others before that were not far from that...over 15 years earlier.
And yes Brutus is a fantasy or better a funtasy product that was finished in 2006 AFAIK.