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Rotary engines at Indy?


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#1 biercemountain

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 13:13

It suddenly struck me the other day that I've never heard of anyone trying to bring a rotary engine to the Indy 500. We've all heard about the turbines of course, but nothing about a Wankel. Am I mistaken?

If I'm correct in thinking they've never been tried, is there some technical reason they didn't make sense, or a rule barring their use?

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#2 kayemod

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 13:45

I suspect that the "Not invented here" rule would have been invoked.

#3 jcbc3

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 14:04

Can you put an OHV top on a Wankel engine?

#4 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 15:22

I thought it was in the rule book (previously), but the equivalency factor that was used put the engine at a great disadvantage.

#5 MoMurray

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 16:51

Not the Indy 500...but rotary engines did race at Indianapolis Motorspeedway just last year. As a support event for the Brickyard 400, the Grand Am series ran last august and the Mazda RX8 teams became the first rotary powered entries to race at the speedway. Those same teams will become the first to race a diesel at the Daytona International Speedway later this month when the new Mazda6 and it's SKYACTIV D powerplant compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

#6 Henri Greuter

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 18:27

Well, Rotaries have been permitted!
For a piece about the use of equivalency formulas used at Indy I looked on wat was permitted and, citing from the eventual article was that in 1967 among otheres the following engine option was permitted:

9: Rotating combustion engines, not supercharged, 256.284 CI (4200 cc) or less based on maximum volume minus minimum volume of one rotating chamber

From 1968 however the option was no longer admitted.

I have no idea (didn't look that one up in which year the option was introduced and if rotaries were ever re-admitted again. But the rules of 1967 specified them as eligible.


Henri

#7 RStock

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 19:18

I'm pretty sure I recall reading that Andy Granatelli tried to put together a rotary engine program for Indy years ago, but it didn't pan out, for what reason I cannot recall.

#8 biercemountain

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 19:28

I'm pretty sure I recall reading that Andy Granatelli tried to put together a rotary engine program for Indy years ago…


Why am I not surprised by this.

#9 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 19:49

Not the Indy 500...but rotary engines did race at Indianapolis Motorspeedway just last year. As a support event for the Brickyard 400, the Grand Am series ran last august and the Mazda RX8 teams became the first rotary powered entries to race at the speedway. Those same teams will become the first to race a diesel at the Daytona International Speedway later this month when the new Mazda6 and it's SKYACTIV D powerplant compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.


GAWD, are those things ever loud!!! Some years ago when Jim Downing ran his Camel GTP Light Kudzu chassis with a Mazda rotary, the exhaust entered the side pod ahead of the rear wheel and exited behind the front wheel. Basically the muffler ran most of the length of the side pod and it was STILL Loud!!!

Edited by flatlander48, 14 January 2013 - 20:55.


#10 Henri Greuter

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 20:32

GAWD, are those things ever loud!!! Some years ago when Jim Downing ran his Camel GTP Lite Kudzu chassis with a Mazda rotary, the exhaust entered the side pod ahead of the rear wheel and exited behind the front wheel. Basically the muffler ran most of the length of the side pod and it was STILL Loud!!!




I recall that car too! It ran in the Daytona 24 hours in 1999. Indeed, so loud...

But that wasn't the car that scared me the most of all if it cames to being loud. That is the 1997 Panoz GT1 I saw and heard at Le Mans.
There were three of those contraptions and thankfully enough two reitred rather early on but the third one made it through the night ant you could hear that crate miles and miles away, either leaving or getting back to the finish area.
That was the most frightening car I ever heard and for health reasons alone (hearing protection of the drivers and people in the area) that engine should have been banned.

Henri


#11 flatlander48

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 20:54

I recall that car too! It ran in the Daytona 24 hours in 1999. Indeed, so loud...

But that wasn't the car that scared me the most of all if it cames to being loud. That is the 1997 Panoz GT1 I saw and heard at Le Mans.


Was that the production-based coupe with the front-engined chassis designed by Adrian Reynard, as I remember? I saw it run twice at Watkins Glen. One year it was all silver and the other year it was white, but I can't remember which was first. It had a Ford V-8 and one year it was done by Roush, the other year by Yates. When you saw it, I wonder it it had a flat crank installed? That might account for the different sound.

#12 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:59

Was that the production-based coupe with the front-engined chassis designed by Adrian Reynard, as I remember? I saw it run twice at Watkins Glen. One year it was all silver and the other year it was white, but I can't remember which was first. It had a Ford V-8 and one year it was done by Roush, the other year by Yates. When you saw it, I wonder it it had a flat crank installed? That might account for the different sound.


I recall that the car was purpose designed and initially intended to be a Chevrolet Corvette GT1 though it had nothing in common with a Corvette other than being front engined and stock blok powered. The midengined Corvette GTP of the mid 80's had more lookalike details with a Corvette then what eventually became the Panoz.
There were three of them at Le Mans, two whites and one black car. I don't know how to post pictures over here. I'm still haunted by that awful noise they make and the loudness of it. Sound can be nice, noise is often less positive so I refuse to talk about anything else but the noise of the Panoz. For me, with my own hearing problem, it was awful.
I have heard that one of the Panoz drivers of that era nowadays has a loss of hearing and that it was traced back to his days with the Panoz; Closed coupe and that bellowing engine in front of him.
They were silver and longtailed in 1998 and from 1999 on they were open top Roadsters that also drive in IMSA against the BMW V12.
Would not be at all surprised if they had NASCAR technology engines like cranks etc.


Ugly as sin and built only because Don Panoz insisted on running a front engined car at all costs instead of go for a mid engined GT1 sportcar that would have been more efficient. The open top cars were more successful because the rear wing was no longer blocked by the `greenhouse`and became much more efficient which did result in better speeds. These Roadsters were quite competitive in IMSA for a while as I remember...
But since I didn't like either the looks of the Panoz (and its noise) or the BMW I never followed the series.

Early in the 00's they built new chassis with fourcam Zytek engines but kept the front engined lay-out. These cars were (at least at Le Mans) even more of a failure then the Detroit based engine cars. And even more ugly.

henri

Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 15 January 2013 - 09:01.


#13 biercemountain

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 13:37

I've seen numerous posts about the discomfort caused by the sound of the Mazda rotary engines at LeMans. Back in the eighties we used to joke about the RX7s at Road Atlanta sounding like giant vacuum cleaners.

#14 BRG

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 13:47

Even the basically production based RX7s that dominated the British Touring Car Championship in 1980/1 were horrendously loud.

#15 Magoo

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 14:58

I suspect that the "Not invented here" rule would have been invoked.


Indeed, that is the first-order explanation from middle distance about everything that ever happened or failed to at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At some point one begins to wonder if perhaps this point has been overstated a little.

#16 biercemountain

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:14

Indeed, that is the first-order explanation from middle distance about everything that ever happened or failed to at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At some point one begins to wonder if perhaps this point has been overstated a little.


I agree with your thought Magoo. Indy was too prestigious and too profitable not to try "whatever it takes" to win.


#17 kayemod

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 15:45

Indeed, that is the first-order explanation from middle distance about everything that ever happened or failed to at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


My "not invented here" comment wasn't really meant as criticism, more an observation on what appears to be Indy's innate suspicion where anything "furrin" is concerned. Years ago I worked at Lotus, and almost ten years after their debut there, tales still abounded in the Lotus racing department about the obstructiveness and prejudice they encountered when their rear-engined cars proved to be in a different league to the time-honoured front-engined roadsters.




#18 flatlander48

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 20:45


Found one:

Posted Image

#19 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:33

Found one:

Posted Image



That is the 1998 version, The ones I saw at Le Mans in 1997 had a bit less overhang front and rear. Panoz did something similar that year as did McLaren with introducing the "Longtail" F1 car. One of those was the homologation streetlegal car, the other ones were for racing only.
I als recall that the 1997 cars did not have rear wheel arch extentions as massive as on this version (thus more narrow) but I have to look that up. But this is a car that ran in the FIA GT World Championship that year. If my memory serves me well, the must stunning achievent of the car was a front row qualifying position at Silverstone that year. Race results I can't remember. Mercedes won just about everything that year with their new 1998 CLK GT1, the V8 version. Can't recall that car ever being offered for sale, unlike the 1997 V12 powered version.
How many of these Panoz'es have been built, let alone sold?

Did some searching on the internet, this page has some images of ine of the 1997 Le Mans cars, there were two of them in these colors.

http://www.lemans-mo...97/1997LM55.htm

The third car was black, though the number was different it looked pretty much like seen here.

http://en.wikipedia....Panoz_GTR-1.jpg

In the paddock there was also a street version of the car, a odd yellow colored one, you can see that car in the article you see using this link.

http://www.blenheimg...-gt1-stradales/


OK, back to rotaries again?


Henri









Henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 16 January 2013 - 07:57.


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#20 Graham Clayton

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:15

I'm pretty sure I recall reading that Andy Granatelli tried to put together a rotary engine program for Indy years ago, but it didn't pan out, for what reason I cannot recall.



RStock,
A 1973 "Sports Illustrated" article by Brock Yates called the "Little Engine That Couldn't" had the following:

In 1968 he [Granatelli] approached Curtiss-Wright with a proposal to purchase four specially built, 240-cu.-in., four-rotor racing Wankels for Indianapolis. Thanks to a loophole in the rules (since closed), Wankels of this type could have produced over 800 hp fueled by alcohol-methanol blends. Granatelli's plan was conceived to encore his fabulous turbine cars, but something went awry. "Curtiss-Wright dropped the ball," says a former employee. " 'Some-body at the top couldn't see the value of such a program, and the whole thing fell into a crack somewhere along the line."




#21 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:02

RStock,

A 1973 "Sports Illustrated" article by Brock Yates called the "Little Engine That Couldn't" had the following:



In 1968 he [Granatelli] approached Curtiss-Wright with a proposal to purchase four specially built, 240-cu.-in., four-rotor racing Wankels for Indianapolis. Thanks to a loophole in the rules (since closed), Wankels of this type could have produced over 800 hp fueled by alcohol-methanol blends. Granatelli's plan was conceived to encore his fabulous turbine cars, but something went awry. "Curtiss-Wright dropped the ball," says a former employee. " 'Some-body at the top couldn't see the value of such a program, and the whole thing fell into a crack somewhere along the line."



Whow,

I have heard a number of plans that Granatelli had in mind for 1968 and I tell you: if every one of them head been realized and resulted in an actual car being built and haveing qualified for the race, about 1/3rd of the starters would have been Granatelli entries.
A sea of day-glo cars....

Perhaps this plan also fell fool because of Wankels no longer permitted in 1968 anymore, at least if we can believe the rules for eligible engines as listed in the entry list of the 1968 Clymer?


henri

#22 flatlander48

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:58

The major problem with rotary engines is that people jacked around with how they viewed the displacement of a given engine. This made it very easy to put the engine at a real disadvantage. I think there are 2 reasons for this:

  • Trying not to put piston engines at a disadvantage so they would be obsoleted very quickly
  • You can adjust displacements to get a power equivalency, but how do you factor in very small size, very light weight and free revving?

I think the result is that the rotaries were often shorted on displacement relative to other engine technologies.

#23 davegess

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 22:21

I think that figuring out some way to allow different tyoes of cars and engines to compete in the 500 is the only way the race can return to the status it once had. People certainly were not happy with the rear engine revolution BUT they did let it happen. The rules were reasonalbly onpen back then.

it woudl be fun to see fields liek LeMans with diesels and hybrids and who know what else but they are going the opposite way; making it a spec class and trying hav enrtaining raicng. I think that is a dead end. You end up like as part of the large entertainment pool with no compeling reason to pay attention.

#24 flatlander48

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:19

You end up like as part of the large entertainment pool with no compeling reason to pay attention.


I'd lay low for a while as The Faithful are sure to come looking for you...

#25 biercemountain

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 17:23

You end up like as part of the large entertainment pool with no compeling reason to pay attention.


I'm afraid A.J. Foyt might smack me up side the head just for readin' that. (Not that I don't disagree with it)

Edited by biercemountain, 17 January 2013 - 17:23.


#26 racinggeek

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 19:30

GAWD, are those things ever loud!!! Some years ago when Jim Downing ran his Camel GTP Light Kudzu chassis with a Mazda rotary, the exhaust entered the side pod ahead of the rear wheel and exited behind the front wheel. Basically the muffler ran most of the length of the side pod and it was STILL Loud!!!


Well, what about the non-Lights, 4-rotor Mazda GTP that ran in 1992? I remember standing along the run from the spectator bridge down to Turn 5 at Road America (the fastest run on the course) for the IMSA race there that year, and that thing was screamin'!

#27 Sisyphus

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 20:07

Well, what about the non-Lights, 4-rotor Mazda GTP that ran in 1992? I remember standing along the run from the spectator bridge down to Turn 5 at Road America (the fastest run on the course) for the IMSA race there that year, and that thing was screamin'!


SCREAMING IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! Sorry, my tinnitus dates from the mid 80's 6 hour at Riverside when those Mazda Lights were running.

One of the (few?) things that the Indy rules makers got right was banning Wankels from the 500, IMHO. They are a very impressive design but far too loud.

Another bad habit of the things is their tendancy to fart when shut off. I used to hate to have one of the sedan racers park near my buddy's Formula Ford (and they always did) because they would inveriably fire one off when they came off the track and scare me to death. They sound like someone firing off a 12 gauge right next to your ear.



#28 flatlander48

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 20:57

Well, what about the non-Lights, 4-rotor Mazda GTP that ran in 1992? I remember standing along the run from the spectator bridge down to Turn 5 at Road America (the fastest run on the course) for the IMSA race there that year, and that thing was screamin'!


I had just settled in New York State shortly before the '92 race at Watkins Glen and was probably out of town on a work assigment in '93. Sad too, because '92 was the only season for the Mazda GTP car and I never got to see it, the AAR Toyota or the Jaguars run.

EDIT: I just checked and the '92 race was about a month before I got here. Actually where I am sitting at the moment (my office) is about 17 miles from WGI...

Edited by flatlander48, 17 January 2013 - 21:17.


#29 flatlander48

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 20:59

Another bad habit of the things is their tendancy to fart when shut off. I used to hate to have one of the sedan racers park near my buddy's Formula Ford (and they always did) because they would inveriably fire one off when they came off the track and scare me to death. They sound like someone firing off a 12 gauge right next to your ear.


I would guess it was how they shut the engines down. It probably still sucked in some gasoline and pumped it into the exhaust system.

#30 Henri Greuter

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:22

GAWD, are those things ever loud!!! Some years ago when Jim Downing ran his Camel GTP Light Kudzu chassis with a Mazda rotary, the exhaust entered the side pod ahead of the rear wheel and exited behind the front wheel. Basically the muffler ran most of the length of the side pod and it was STILL Loud!!!



Was it a genuine muffler to begin with I wonder....
I ask this because at Daytona 99 I heard a number of other cars that were also very, very loud and these were definitely not muffled thought they certainly should have been.....
Some of those tube frame GTX devices were horribly loud....




BTW, When in Florida in Jan. 99 I also attended the IRL race at the Mickyard, still for the first generatio IRL cars with the 4 liter Oldsmobile engines and the Nissan was also still eligible. Used ear plugs and headphones to keep comfortable with the noise of those things. They were also very, very loud.



henri

Edited by Henri Greuter, 18 January 2013 - 08:43.


#31 flatlander48

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:49

Was it a genuine muffler to begin with I wonder....
I ask this because at Daytona 99 I heard a number of other cars that were also very, very loud and these were definitely not muffled thought they certainly should have been.....
Some of those tube frame GTX devices were horribly loud....

henri


Hard to say. I was going to post a photo of the Kudzu Mazda, but I couldn't find a real good angle of the right side of the car. There appeared to be 2 different versions. In one there was a large diameter tube running most of the length of the sidepod with a muffler at the end. The other had seemed to have the same diameter as the muffler for the entire distance. It's is unclear if it is all muffler or not. When I saw the car on track, it had a cover in place so all you could see was the exhaust exit. However, evidently they spent a lot of time running without the cover.

#32 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 22:28

Having been around most of the era of rotarys they were the main reason that mufflers became compulsory on racecars. Noisy horrid things, though as a road car very smooth though with no great torque. For many years they were 'cheap' horsepower for many tintop , and a few 'pukka' classes too. They got expensive and unreliable though when you tried to extract more power from them. That and the literal weight of mufflers required to keep them moderatly quiet have made them largely obsolete.
I have raced against a lot of them, the noise and heat was unreal, you cannot hear your own car. That and the often red hot exhausts made them a LOT antisocial!
The engines were regularly used in speedway midgets in the 80s and early 90s but the noise factor effectivly killed them. And white hot exhausts [on methanol!!] were also known to have them black flagged.
Though several very different engines, the 10A was good for the 60s, 12A and 13Bs were used for a long time, really until early this century. The 20B is loud but far more 'musical, as the triple rotor sounds a lot like a high revving 6. Though still requires a lot of mufflers. And still produces a lot of exhaust heat.
As for the Panoz's they were just a 6 litre Ford engine, I suspect quieter than your average Nascar as the power band of the engines would have had to be far greater.They were reasonably succesfull for a couple of years in the US, against far more sophisticated cars with bigger budgets.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 18 January 2013 - 22:39.


#33 jj2728

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 22:30

GAWD, are those things ever loud!!!


Horrendous. Likened to an infinite number of finger nails scratching the chalk board.

#34 racinggeek

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 22:40

Horrendous. Likened to an infinite number of finger nails scratching the chalk board.


Well, I'm quite obviously in the minority on this here board, but I wasn't bothered by the rotaries. Very loud, but something different from the turbo wine or the V-8 roar. And it IS a race car motor, after all.

Still, I might have felt otherwise if five or 10 of them all screamed past me at once ... :eek:

Anyone else here who didn't mind or even liked the sound?

#35 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:11

As much as I have complained about the Mazdas, the WORST to me was a V-6 Holden that ran in the F4000 class. I believe the car is now based here in the US, but it originally came from Australia. If you take the sound of the Mazda and superimposed the brilliance (to use a musical term) of a DFV, that's a good approximation of what it sounded like. I think the car was a Reynard that was very similar to an F3000 version.

#36 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:13

Well, I'm quite obviously in the minority on this here board, but I wasn't bothered by the rotaries. Very loud, but something different from the turbo wine or the V-8 roar. And it IS a race car motor, after all.

Still, I might have felt otherwise if five or 10 of them all screamed past me at once ... :eek:

Anyone else here who didn't mind or even liked the sound?


I think there were as many as 6 RX-8's running in Grand-Am...

#37 Henri Greuter

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:29

As for the Panoz's they were just a 6 litre Ford engine, I suspect quieter than your average Nascar as the power band of the engines would have had to be far greater.They were reasonably succesfull for a couple of years in the US, against far more sophisticated cars with bigger budgets.



Lee,

I don't know what it was and why.
But in the Summer of '96 I attended an ARCA race at Michigam (part of the CART Marlboro 500 Weekend) and one week later the Brickyard 400.
Thus NASCAR and/or NASCARish cars.
In 1999 I attended the Daytona 24 hours.
And the IRL Mickyard race at Orlando.
And in 1997 Le Mans.

But the loudest, most scary engines I heard in any of those races were the Panoz engines at Le Mans. Why and what made them so different and so loud, I don't know. But those three Panoz cars at Le Mans were the most frightening, bellowing engines I ever heard and if there have been a moment that I was really scared from a car because I had to endure it passing by another time, it were those cars. I was so happy that two of them wre out of the race so early and regretted that the third didn't retire with them.
Don't ask me why and how it they could be so loud but it was frightening to have to listen to a 1997 Panoz....
It appeared as if the engine wasted fuel by being so loud instead of converting the fuel into power.

Also at Le Mans '97 there were two Ferrari 333SP's and it was a joy to hear those V12s `singing through the Esses`
But at the Daytona Bowl in '99 it reminded me of the descriptions I had read if a squadron of Stuka dive bombers with syrenes one were coming down on you.


Henri



#38 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:05

They got expensive and unreliable though when you tried to extract more power from them.


Clarify this a bit, would you? From what I know, the engines are very reliable since there are no reciprocating masses. You can buzz them pretty good, but the seal wear accelerates as I remember. When the seals wear sufficiently, the engine just quits as it can't develop compression.

#39 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:16

Don't ask me why and how it they could be so loud but it was frightening to have to listen to a 1997 Panoz....
It appeared as if the engine wasted fuel by being so loud instead of converting the fuel into power.


You know, I saw that cars run both years they came to WGI. At the time, they resurrected the title of USRRC for the series. I was there for the entire weekend both times and I don't have a memory about how the cars sounded. I wonder if there wasn't some demon tweak to the exhaust system that favored top end power?

However, what I do remember is how the cars were put together. It was almost like taking a mid-engined car an flipping it around. I believe the engine was semi-stressed and there was a significant carbon fiber structure attached to the front of the engine that carried the front suspension. It was a case of Same Thing, Only Different.

Also at Le Mans '97 there were two Ferrari 333SP's and it was a joy to hear those V12s `singing through the Esses`


Same here except here at WGI there is a big climb with the Esses. Wonderful sound as long as you didn't hit the rev limiter. Then it sounded worse than any boy-racer fart box...

Edited by flatlander48, 19 January 2013 - 12:17.


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#40 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 19:45

As much as I have complained about the Mazdas, the WORST to me was a V-6 Holden that ran in the F4000 class. I believe the car is now based here in the US, but it originally came from Australia. If you take the sound of the Mazda and superimposed the brilliance (to use a musical term) of a DFV, that's a good approximation of what it sounded like. I think the car was a Reynard that was very similar to an F3000 version.

The Formula Holden engines are mildly modified V6 Buiks [Holdens] and are not very noisy at all. With either dual exhasts or the more common 6 into 1. Just a flat drone!! They were actually quite good race cars but never sounded the part.

#41 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 20:00

Clarify this a bit, would you? From what I know, the engines are very reliable since there are no reciprocating masses. You can buzz them pretty good, but the seal wear accelerates as I remember. When the seals wear sufficiently, the engine just quits as it can't develop compression.

The rotor turns in the housings!The more you port them the more the seals are at risk. The more you turn them the seals give up. The more exhaust heat they produce the more the seals give up. And a racing rotary makes immense amount of exhaust heat from large amounts of fuel, nothing unusual to see red hot, or hotter exhaust tailpipes 10 feet ffrom the engine!! For night racing most have a third taillight, the glowing exhausts. Which in turns caused the exhausts to fail and then they produce a lot les power.
Cars that used to race with brap braps now seem to be using turbo 4s. And go a lot faster though not nesecarily with more reliability.

#42 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 21:32

The Formula Holden engines are mildly modified V6 Buiks [Holdens] and are not very noisy at all. With either dual exhasts or the more common 6 into 1. Just a flat drone!! They were actually quite good race cars but never sounded the part.


This one must have been modified after the fact then, as it sounded nothing like what you say. It barked! I believe this one had passed through Scott Dixon, but I don't know if it was from his championship season or the one before.

Edited by flatlander48, 19 January 2013 - 22:39.


#43 Obster

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 22:26

There was a Mazda rotary engined prototype running at the Daytona 24 hour race in the early 80's-as early as 83 maybe. You could tell instantly where it was on the track just by the noise...even in the dark.
The GT RX-7's were pretty loud, too. And competitive against the 911's-at least I remember it that way.
Came home from the 83 Daytona 24 hour and went straight out and bought an RX-7, based on seeing them at that event.

#44 flatlander48

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 22:38

The rotor turns in the housings!


I know. I dyno'ed a single rotor Sachs snowmobile engine in college in '72.

The more you port them the more the seals are at risk. The more you turn them the seals give up. The more exhaust heat they produce the more the seals give up. And a racing rotary makes immense amount of exhaust heat from large amounts of fuel, nothing unusual to see red hot, or hotter exhaust tailpipes 10 feet ffrom the engine!! For night racing most have a third taillight, the glowing exhausts. Which in turns caused the exhausts to fail and then they produce a lot les power.
Cars that used to race with brap braps now seem to be using turbo 4s. And go a lot faster though not nesecarily with more reliability.


You realize that the 4-rotor that Mazda developed for their short-lived GTP car was rated at 690hp at 9000rpm in '92? That one had peripheral ports for inatke and exhaust and I think it also had side intake ports. Anyway, the main attraction of the engine was never killer horsepower. It was reasonable power in a very small and very lightweight package.

All things considered, Mazda had a decent first (and sadly only) season with the RX-792P with very little in the way of engine failures. Pretty good for a new configuration.

#45 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 20:52

I know. I dyno'ed a single rotor Sachs snowmobile engine in college in '72.



You realize that the 4-rotor that Mazda developed for their short-lived GTP car was rated at 690hp at 9000rpm in '92? That one had peripheral ports for inatke and exhaust and I think it also had side intake ports. Anyway, the main attraction of the engine was never killer horsepower. It was reasonable power in a very small and very lightweight package.

All things considered, Mazda had a decent first (and sadly only) season with the RX-792P with very little in the way of engine failures. Pretty good for a new configuration.

I am talking modified production engines, not special parts. Anything over about 300 hp they become unreliable very quickly.As too were the gearboxes. In Sports Sedans people replaced them with more modern piston engines, in one case a Chev,, in a 929 where it was faster, used far less fuel and made a lot less noise!And no heavier either, The exhausts and acillarys on a Mazda are generally very heavy. As are the engines actually, heavier than the 1600 in the Capella, itself not a light engine.

#46 flatlander48

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:17

I am talking modified production engines, not special parts. Anything over about 300 hp they become unreliable very quickly.As too were the gearboxes. In Sports Sedans people replaced them with more modern piston engines, in one case a Chev,, in a 929 where it was faster, used far less fuel and made a lot less noise!And no heavier either, The exhausts and acillarys on a Mazda are generally very heavy. As are the engines actually, heavier than the 1600 in the Capella, itself not a light engine.


Funny though, I haven't heard of folks putting that 4-cyl into light aircraft or Lotus 7 kits like they do with rotarys.