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What would Can Am look like today?


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#1 GregY

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 19:06

So, let's say they announced the rebirth of Can Am for the 2007 season and that the rules were essentially the same as they were in say 1969-1970.

What do you think the cars would look like? What would they run for motors? Would they be faster than modern day F1 cars? What kind of technology might an "innovative" car have compared to a "typical" 2007 Can Am car?

I hope people find this exercise interesting, I am trying to get through a cold, snowy, gray day here in Rochester, New York!

Greg

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#2 beighes

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 19:20

Greetings.........How's this for a starter. Take a 7/8th scale, aerodynamically modified Shadow DN4, all composite of course. Add a moderate displacement, all alloy (or something??), computer controlled motor & electric shift gearbox. Give it the biggest set of aero tunnels under the chassis, a rear wing merely the size of a "Gurney" flap. Then go race for too little money. Given current technology, along with what is coming down the pike, what could be considered "innovative" now? ..........Cheers!

#3 Cirrus

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 19:28

A very interesting question...

It all depends on how much money could be enticed into the series. If CanAm was seen as a showcase for engineering excellence, unfettered by rules, and was therefore attractive to "The Manufacturers" then it could conceivably be quicker than current F1.

I'm not familiar with the period regulations, but if it was pretty much anything goes, then I would imagine that a full ground effect car, maybe with suspension mounted wings (adjustable, of course), active suspension, skirts, ABS, traction control, active diff, adaptive setup, (and anything else the necessary huge team of engineers could dream up) would be quicker than current F1, and probably test the limits of what the human body could stand.

The trouble is, that everyone would test their ideas using computer modelling, and quickly find out the best route to take.

Result...... cornering on rails, and boring racing.

I feel happier knowing that the M8's were great cars, and that a snowmobile engine at each corner was not the right way to go (but you actually had to cut some metal to find out)...

#4 Rosemayer

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 20:56

Unfortunately with upcoming enviroential concerns it may very well be based on something like this.

Posted Image

#5 canon1753

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 21:26

6 wheels- back 4 driven.

Turbine engine

Active suspension with full and active ground effect tunnels (maybe even a fan car system)

Biggest road racing tires anyone can build.

All carbon, no wings just a flap.

Horrendously fast. But boring.... unless you can find a new Bruce and Denny Show

#6 TIPO61

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 22:00

A Chaparral benefit.

#7 scags

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Posted 14 February 2007 - 22:11

the original Can- ams were faster than F1's due to enclosed wheels(plus an extra 4 or 5 liters of engine). You couldn't do a no rules , everything goes series now, because of the speed and the cost.

#8 dretceterini

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 03:22

Knock off about 30 seconds off a LeMans LMP1 lap time, and that is what you would have...

#9 zac510

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:06

Originally posted by Rosemayer
Unfortunately with upcoming enviroential concerns it may very well be based on something like this.

Posted Image


Not even with environmental concerns, that's still the current pinnacle of closed wheel, open roof sports racer despite the tight ACO restrictions these days. The fundamentals of Grp 7 are more or less there.
Certainly it would have wider wheels and active suspension as canon suggested.
If it were Can Am and not racing at La Sarthe it may have a slightly shorter wheelbase?

#10 mariner

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 12:34

Well there is one potential source which is a article by Peter Wright ( of ground effects and FIA fame) on his vision of the ultimate GP car. I can't remember all the details but basically a 1500 bhp turbine car with ground effects and fans. Given Mr Wright's technical track record I cetainly would deeply respect his crystal ball. Maybe Can Am would be similar but with the turbine possibly sucking in from under the car.

One slightly tongue in cheek observation in his article was the point that the frequent pit stops to refuel a thirsty turbine would be needed anyway as the driver would be subject to a steady 6g cornering force. That is actually a serious point in its own way as if you really did unleash the rules then cornering speed would rise so fast as to make the driver forces a serious limiting factor. Hello G suits

Paul van Frankenburgh once made an interesting proposal which I find deeply attractive - link Can Am style " no rules" with a total ban on sponsorship on the cars. This encourages innovation but then limits sponsorship money so it avoids the "turbo Panzers which killed Can Am.

BTW you can now buy a 572 in (9.4 litre) chevy big block crate engine good for 720bhp on a carb. from your nearest frindly chevy dealer for about $10,000. So Can Am is still possible!!

#11 JSF

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 13:34

I could build a 12 litre Big Block Chevie with the parts currently available. :lol: Sadly the rules dont allow us to use that size of engine, max is 8.8 litre now. Probably a good thing as the gearboxes struggle with the current torque levels already. There is one M8F that could technically put out a lot more torque than the rest, as that was the in period Turbo car, if they put turbos back on that it would be quite something, if a little expensive and undrivable in it's pre electronics boost control spec.

The simple answer is the car would produce higher loads than a human could endure over a race distance (or even a lap). The main original rules were that the car had to be a two seater with doors, pretty much anything else went. The advances in technology from a 1966 to 1970 CanAm car are quite astonishing, you can see the aerospace influences increasing year on year.

#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 15:17

To be successful it would have to be loud, powerful maybe even squirrelly. Look what popular in the States today, NASCAR, Drifting and in a emerging sense ALMS and DP. Personally, OWR and IRL
are a shadow of their previous selfs (what a awful string of written words!) In other words, I wouldn't do anything without a serious fan survey and qualifying marketing study, even then I'd be terrified, i.e. the hand job of a survey by AMD and the FIA...look what that got us!!!

Frankly, these days I watch GP2, Formula Mazda and Daytona Prototypes because of the action.

Wouldn't another Rothman's 50,000 be nice or something like that?

#13 rl1856

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 15:24

Well starting in 1969 you had limitations in effect on wing size, location, mounting and mobility. CanAm cars in 1969 were grandfathered in, but in 1970 had to ahere to the regulations. And we all know that in 1970 the Chapparal 2j was banned due to the interpreation that it's ground effect package was a "movable aerodynamic device". Since the original post specified the period of 1969-70, these limitations should be taken into account.

Without a limitation on engine type or power, I think you would see a combination of a large US V-8, but with turbocharging and very sophisticated engine management. 1500+ hp would be the norm. Active suspensions would be banned (see above and further interpretations during the 1980's). Chassis and bodywork would probably be very closely related to F-1 design, adapted for the 2 seat, enclosed wheel specifications. The drivers seat would be just offset from the centerline for example.

One point to consider would be the releative size and impact of the series. Would it be big enough to support purpose built component parts, such as tires, transmissions etc ? If not, then for economic reasons component parts would be adapted as need from off the shelf supply. Looking at American LeMans and International GT-P, there are vast sums of money being spent, but key components (tires, transmissions, engines etc) are drawn from what is in use in other series and thus readily available. IE- even with the money being spent, the ROI is not enough to justify ground up, clean sheeet purpose built parts.

With that in mind, I don't think you would see something as exotic as a turbine engine.

As to speed, they would be breathtakingly fast and as other's have pointed out, utlimately constrained by the physical limits of the driver. For a clue, take a look at pre-restrictor plate superspeedway Nascar and pre IRL Indycar. At the faster tracks, the drivers were reporting blurred vision and in some cases momentary blackouts. Av lap speeds were in the low 200mph area. While G-Suits would help, I don't think ultimate speeds would be that much higher than what we are seeing today.

Great topic to discuss BTW-

Best,

Ross

#14 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 15:37

Let's take old Champ Cars, make em single seater CAN-AM bodied; and put dual turbos on the current Cosworth motor...that would be worth over 1100bhp...and sorta cheap.

#15 JacnGille

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 16:07

Originally posted by scags
You couldn't do a no rules , everything goes series now, because of the speed and the cost.


Those are my thoughts on the subject.
You can "what if" all day long........but as soon as you factor in the realities of the day you're just dreamin. :cool:

#16 JSF

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 16:44

If they were running even to 1970 spec CanAm on a full oval, one of those cars is confined to a top speed based on the physical size of the gear you can fit inside an LG600 casing, 235MPH (fastest the car will do based on current gear/tyres available) is easily achieved. Building the car to a more modern design with higher gearing i see no reason why 300MPH wouldnt be an achievable speed on an Oval circuit. The main issue with blurred vision in that environment is in tyre, damper and aero design issues causing vibrations, thats where the real challenge would be faced.

Just think, if they can make Thrust SSC go through the sound barrier with a small team of dedicated engineers and a small budget, imagine what you can achieve with no rules worth pointing a stick at and a full budget. :eek:

#17 Darren Galpin

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 16:58

The main issue would be building a tyre would could race at a sustained speed of 300 mph - there is no one who currently builds anything capable. They build tyres which can reach those speeds for a few seconds, but not for minutes or hours.

#18 JSF

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 17:06

Thats because there is no demand for it. If there was, they would build it without much of a problem.

#19 ray b

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 17:28

:clap: I demand a real no rules CAN-AM return
unlimited car are more fun
maybe use super tight tracks
to limit speeds
like a super auto-X ?

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#20 fester82

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 18:10

Several mentions of G-suits, but they only work with a vertical load - increasing blood pressure to the head. They would only work if one could design an articulated pod for driver and controls that would swing with increasing G-loads just as a centrifuge does that are used for fighter pilot training.

I could see where vision would become quite difficult at the speeds we are talking due to vibration from the suspension and track surface. Remember the onboard video of the turbo, ground effects days? One would have to look at possibly dual suspensions systems like Lotus attempted as ground effects requires very stiff suspensions. You could have aero devices attached to the suspensions as Jim Hall developed them, but they cause considerable drag compared to ground effects (which he and Mercedes used for braking by making them moveable).

#21 zac510

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:58

Originally posted by ray b
:clap: I demand a real no rules CAN-AM return
unlimited car are more fun
maybe use super tight tracks
to limit speeds
like a super auto-X ?


Off Topic, but would the best governing regulation that consideres safety, speed and free tech for this hypothetical series be to limit fuel tank capacity? 30 litres for a 300km race?

#22 steeveX

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:15

Originally posted by JSF
[ imagine what you can achieve with no rules worth pointing a stick at and a full budget. :eek: [/B]

yeah, with unlimited budget for instance Toyota formula 1 achives...ummm...sixth places ;)

#23 steeveX

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:47

well as mentioned above bysome posters CanAm never was an "no regulation" series but anyhow, if it was today,cars would be something like the following i guess:

all composite materials, maybe four wheel drive, automatic gearshifting/electronically controlled differentials, ABS, traction control. maybe if the materials could handle it a DAF-like CVT (some mabye remember the williams f1 beeing tested by david coulthard in the mid 90ies)

it would have a fan-car/wing-car-of-sort design. no wings neccessary due to the fact a fan produces enough downforce already. no wings=ultra fast on straights. active suspension too.

the negines would be ovwer 2000HP i bet. thats probably the upper limit todays materials can handle. taken into consideration a 1500cc f1-turbo engine from 1986 had 1200HP with primitive engine-managment systems 2000HP semm easily possible.

the limits of those cars would be the drivers and the tyres.

apart from the technical aspects i think the safety issue is a major problem here. imagine the energy a car has running at maybe 300 mph and gets off the track for whatever reason. the impact would be like a bomb.

those cars would be incredibly fast, yet i bet the races would be DEAD boring.

#24 kayemod

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:47

For me, having been a very minor part of the Bruce & Denny show in those days, the best thing about CanAm was the scale and intimacy, and I think some of us are forgetting that it was mostly pretty minor league stuff back then. At some tracks, especially in the early years, paddocks could be just roped-off grass areas with teams working out of the back of rental trucks, and if spectators stepped over the ropes to get a closer look, nobody minded too much at most tracks. Also, look at some old race pics, spectators were only feet from the track in many places, no armco or big run-off areas in those days, but can anyone see something like that happening today? CanAm never had a bad spectator injury accident, probably because every driver knew that if he crashed one of those cars, he had a pretty good chance of hurting himself badly, or worse. So everyone really felt part of the action, and that was a big part of the appeal, but if anything like that was tried today, given the inevitable massive leaps in performance, there would be more lawyers in the crowd than motor racing fans. Also I think we're forgetting the reality of those days, it was all pretty low-tech, and by today's standards, even the top teams like McLaren didn't spend huge sums of cash, an awful lot of development was done between races on a suck-it-and-see basis, and you can't un-invent present day technology. Sadly, that time is long gone, no way that anything remotely similar could exist today. We're also forgetting that much of the racing was pretty uninteresting follow the leader stuff, much like a lot of DFV era F1. I'm starting to hate myself for trying to bring some reality to an enjoyable discussion, but let's just ignore 2007 practicalities and enjoy the 1970s memories.

#25 Bob Riebe

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 17:59

I think some of us are forgetting that it was mostly pretty minor league stuff back then

That is a cheap shot. Minor compared to what?

Back then it was racing for the sake of racing, substance over symbolism.

If you think having to cater to snot-faced punk drivers, and their heads up their arse managers, is major league, then world you must be in is very shallow.
------------------------------
Tires would be the limiting factor, IF electronic doo-dads that turned the cars into quasi slot-cars were not allowed.
Back in the end of the IMSA, SCCA AAGT/Cat. II days, the cars had enough power to spin 19 in. tires at any time, in any gear.

Remember the Can-Am used bias-ply, I wonder how radials would react.

If the car has all the aero items, there would probably be an electronic control that would prevent the driver from exceeding the limit, which would make it a high speed, but boring procession where the first driver, into the first corner wins.
Bob

#26 kayemod

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 20:04

Originally posted by Bob Riebe
That is a cheap shot. Minor compared to what?

Back then it was racing for the sake of racing, substance over symbolism.

If you think having to cater to snot-faced punk drivers, and their heads up their arse managers, is major league, then world you must be in is very shallow.

Bob


No need to take that attitude, I was there, remember? It was a gentler age, everything but everything was very different from racing today. Yours was a pretty wild over-reaction to what I said, so maybe you should read my post again. I loved everything about it, so no way was I 'dissing' CanAm or anything else, but the fact remains that compared to contemporary European F1, it was all on a lesser, though not necessarily inferior level. The McLaren team regarded it all as a fun break from the more serious stuff, one of them described it to me as rather like English club racing, but with more spectators, vastly better prize money, and mostly better weather. Go look at a few pictures, the tracks, the crowds, the facilities, the gaps between the front and back rows of the grid, and then maybe you'll want to reconsider your 'cheap shot' jibe.

#27 Bob Riebe

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 21:10

Originally posted by kayemod


No need to take that attitude, I was there, remember? It was a gentler age, everything but everything was very different from racing today. Yours was a pretty wild over-reaction to what I said, so maybe you should read my post again. I loved everything about it, so no way was I 'dissing' CanAm or anything else, but the fact remains that compared to contemporary European F1, it was all on a lesser, though not necessarily inferior level. The McLaren team regarded it all as a fun break from the more serious stuff, one of them described it to me as rather like English club racing, but with more spectators, vastly better prize money, and mostly better weather. Go look at a few pictures, the tracks, the crowds, the facilities, the gaps between the front and back rows of the grid, and then maybe you'll want to reconsider your 'cheap shot' jibe.


I saw every Can-Am at Road Ameica from 1970-74, plus a few others. I truly regret not being there in '69.

If you compare ANYTHING from thirty years ago, to today, using the term "minor league" is asinine choice at best.
The pathetic show put on by ALMS is MAJOR league? God help us all.

The English language contains a fair number of words; that you could not find a better phrase speaks of your intent.
Bob
PS--I have read others, describe what you may have meant, and they had no trouble finding words that worked VERY WELL.

#28 JSF

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 00:25

I understood what his point was Bob, he was trying to convey the atmosphere that was about during that time, not put the people or the racing down. It's not worth arguing over something we all love because the language is interpreted diferently, i hope it's not anyway.

You point about tyres Bob, the Orwell supersports CanAm runners use Avon crossplies, most racing tyres are still a crossply construction, current Formula Ford for example still retains crossplies.

One of the bigest benefit of radials is the consistency of construction, with the crossplies i have to check the rolling radius of each new tyre to make sure the tollerance isnt out enough to cause a handling issue. The nice thing about a crossply race tyre is the way they work at the limit, their slip angle is much larger so you have a larger percentage of the tyres upper limit to play in, which allows more acute angles of attack to be maintained. A radial is far more on the knife edge when finding the limit, so is easier to spin yet looks less exciting to the spectator.

#29 CJE

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 00:55

Actually, a new "CanAm" series was announced just recently. The Hydrogen Electric Racing Federation. Before you laugh, scan thru the rules:

- Weight: 900 kg (minimum)
- Construction: Manufacturers' choice
- Aerodynamic Devices: Allowed (although they cannot be movable or touch
the track surface)
- Suspension, Steering, Brakes, Controls: Manufacturers' choice
- Power: 300kw/400 hp (minimum)
- Battery Type: Manufacturers' choice
- On-Board Hydrogen (compressed gas at 10,000 psi): Limited to 8 kg
- Tires: One size package for oval tracks, one size package for road-
racing circuits
- Fuel: One manufacturer, to specification (from renewable resources)
- Projected Lap Speed (at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway): 185mph+

Note the MINIMUM horsepower figure and near total design freedom. OK, it's a pipe dream right now, but it's got some real potential.

http://www.theautoch.../07/036418.html

#30 Bob Riebe

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 03:25

Originally posted by Bob Riebe


I saw every Can-Am at Road Ameica from 1970-74, plus a few others. I truly regret not being there in '69.

If you compare ANYTHING from thirty years ago, to today, using the term "minor league" is asinine choice at best.
The pathetic show put on by ALMS is MAJOR league? God help us all.

The English language contains a fair number of words; that you could not find a better phrase speaks of your intent.
Bob
PS--I have read others, describe what you may have meant, and they had no trouble finding words that worked VERY WELL.


My tirade is over, and I assume it was merely a poor choice of words.

As far as tires go, the bias-ply could literally be cornered on the side wall.

Whilst driving a '68 Plymough Fury several years ago I found out the hard way what happens when one over-extends the limits of a radial side-walls as my car rolled over at about twenty miles an hour and as I was upside down I thought, surprise, surprise.

John Greenwood said that the tires he used were designed to slide.
He did so at speeds over 200 mph and said it may have looked hairy to the spectators but he wa doing exactly what he wanted to.

Apparently the new 19x19 in., from Goodyear, which were designed for the 935, had some bad qualities, as Richard Valentine tried then on his GTX Corvette, at the Goodyear rep. urging, and he lost most of the season before he found out, what he thought were car problems, came from the tires.
They caused the car to skip and jump all over, making his radical trans-axle car, slower than the old AAGT car it replaced.

I wonder how wide a tire has to be before it becomes a point of diminishing returns.
I know tires of up to 21 in. were used in the last days of IMSA mod. prod. cars.
Bob

#31 JSF

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 15:34

All it needs now is a $30,000,000 prize fund and it might get a similar interest to CanAm. Minimum weight is quite high, a 1970 CanAm car with Big Block chevie weighs 100kg less than that.