Thursday, March 30, 2006

Formula 1 in Singapore

Seems that the motorsport world is abuzz with talk about a new F1 track in Singapore.

Ironic then that Tim, most decidedly a non-petrolhead, managed to find plans for a proposed street circuit.

If you click on the image, notice the name Tilke on the bottom right. For the uninformed, Hermann Tilke designed the Sepang, Bahrain, Shanghai and Fuji Speedway F1 circuits... While it remains to be seen whether the plans will become reality, at least there is some evidence of planning work, not just paying of lip service.

NB: I disclaim ownership nor any rights to the image, and it has been linked to for informational purposes only.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Closed minds

A minor controversy has erupted over the girls appearing on the New Paper... apparently the sticking point is that Shireen says that she did 240 kmh-1 on Sepang, while some guys totally write off the claim, and using some unkind words to the effect. e.g. "bullshit", "my foot" etc

Ignoring driver ability, let's do some quick calculations to see whether it's really possible to do 240 kmh-1 at SIC.

Based on personal experience and datalogs corroborated with 3rd parties, a realistic corner exit speed out of T15 is about 80 kmh-1. The Sepang website gives the longest straight into T1 at 927.543 meters. Let's just say 925 m for the sake of simplicity. Let's also assume that the driver intends to make T1 safely* and so let's pick an arbitrary but reasonable braking point at 150 m, giving 775 m as the available distance for acceleration.

From these figures, a car needs about 17.5 seconds at full acceleration to go from 80 kmh-1 to 240 kmh-1, given a distance of 775 m, or an acceleration rate of 2.55 ms-2. About 0.26 G's.

How fast does 0.26 G's feel? About as fast as a 270 whp Evo in 4th gear, which is not fast at all. I'm sure many of you have sat in vehicles that accelerate in top gear about as hard as a stock Evo in 3rd or even 2nd. Now those are real monsters.

Besides, I'm assuming the vehicle is a full-weight street car on street-legal tires. Hell even I'm getting a Vmax of around 225 kmh-1 when my underpowered car's driven in anger.

There's no doubt that a 240 kmh-1 Vmax is definitely possible.

In closing we should avoid making sweeping statements and hasty generalizations without having an appreciation of what it really takes to accomplish certain objectives or we might be branded as jealous, jaded, bitter old men, reminiscing about the times when "real men" didn't have electronics to help in the driving. But that's another blog entry. Heh.

* Since peak velocity is the focus, no mention is made about lap times. It is very likely that peak velocity can be achieved but the vehicle may not be settled enough to take T1 at the traction limit, resulting in lower segment times but possibly overall higher lap times. Quick proof: T1 can be taken at 80 kmh-1, which means the car has to brake at 13.17 ms-2 or about 1.34 G's.

Update: I'm grateful to Shaun for pointing out some flaws. I have since gone through the calculations and found an error in calculating the deceleration forces.

As for the braking aspect, here I made a major boo-boo. Reviewing my datalogs, deceleration from 215 kmh-1 to about 80 kmh-1 of 1.07G was achieved using the standard Brembo calipers and rotors, Ferodo DS2500 pads, RE070 tires and stock suspension. The car travelled a distance of 134.1m while all this is happening. Unfortunately I lack data on aftermarket brake and suspension setups to get an idea of what sort of deceleration forces are possible.

Just for the sake of the discussion, let's assume a 1.07G decelerative force applies; that means the car actually needs to brake at the 188m marker to make the corner, which means the available distance to accelerate should be reduced by 188-150 = 38m. This would mean that acceleration would need to be 0.27G's to make up for the shorter distance.

Comments and critique welcome as always.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bangkok trip

Just got back from the great nation of Thailand and enjoyed the trip!

It had been many years since I'd last visited, and modern-day Bangkok is very different from what I remember. For one, the streets are very clean. Singapore makes a big deal out of having clean streets; Bangkok is more populous yet its streets are immaculate.

The other thing is that they've got the world's longest elevated motorways that go on for at least 50km in both directions, and it's getting extended all the time. Totally mind-blowing.

Didn't get to see that many nice cars though... mostly the usual Toyotas, Hondas etc. Saw only 1 Subaru, a red GC8 WRX, stuck in traffic. And no Evos. Did catch a suspiciously fast 4th Generation Corolla (circa 1979) doing close to 160kph on the freeway though, and I know there's no way in hell that's stock cos I almost killed myself driving the same-model POS while trying to negotiate a right turn at 45 kph a few years ago. Bloody wheels almost came off.

Neither did I see see any demonstrations calling for the resignation of the Thai PM. Guess the media as usual is blowing things up beyond proportions.

With airline tickets at an all-time low, it's definitely worth a repeat visit.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kung fu remix

Spotted this link on where they give the 70s kung fu movies a decidedly hip-hop flavor! Fricking funny... broadband connection and good speakers recommended.

Friday, March 10, 2006

MoTeC v3.3 software released!


After a long time in beta, MoTeC has finally released the v3 software. This is the ECU software to end all ECU software debates.

Let's talk about the basics first: fuel and spark tables. Pre-v3, you could have 40x21 tables. Total of 840 points, more than enough for most. With v3, you can have 40x24 for fuel, and 55x35 for spark. That's only for 3D tables.

You can now specify 4D tables for fuel and spark. In a "classic" EFI setup you get 3 dimensions, usually RPM vs load (spark)/efficiency (fuel), and the tuner specifies the third dimension which is the actual spark advance or amount of fuel injected. With a 4D table you have one more parameter to work with. This may be gear, throttle position, MAP, MAP/EMAP, so on and so forth. You can even use your own user-defined channel.

For 4D fuel, you can have up to 11 points for the 4th dimension, with 3D tables of 16x11. For spark, you can choose either 11 sets of tables of 16x11 (just like fuel), or 6 tables of 40x16(!). The downside to the latter is that the spark resolution is in steps of 0.2 deg.

You also get to decide not just the number and resolution of sites ("breakpoints", in AEM parlance) in practically any table, but also get to assign channels to either x- and/or y-axis. I'm unaware of any other mass-market ECU software on the market that does this right now.

You can also perform ref-sync capture in the software, obviating the need for an oscilloscope when working on unknown crank-trigger systems.

Major enhancements in the input setup screens.

Major changes in boost-, lambda-, traction-, idle-, nitrous- and cam control. 3D RPM limit maps. Revamped accel/decel fuel and spark maps. The list goes on and on.

This software is going to remain the gold standard by which others are judged for the forseeable future.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why We Fight

Was surfing the Apple movie trailers website and stumbled upon the trailer for Why We Fight. The film explores the rise of the military industrial complex, and how the American economy and society is strongly shaped by it. Definitely sounds like a film worth watching.