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Old 02-10-2016, 02:00 PM   #1
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What can we learn from Motorsport?

Been thinking of starting a topic like this for a while. There are many things we can learn from Motorsport, what saves time on the track can save fuel on the open road. Whether it's mechanical, technical or cosmetic, there are many links between cars made for racing, and those designed for effeicncy. Let's start;

Aerodynamics: One of the biggest fuel eaters going. The smaller and lower your car, the faster/more efficient. Consider lowering your cars stance to increase airflow. A front or rear diffuser/spoiler can help deflect air over certain parts of the cars body making it more aerodynamic, but beware a large spoiler can also generate more drag. Car Manufacturers are spending lots of time and money recently on aerodynamics.

Wheels & tyres: in racing, large wide tyres are used for extra traction. On a normal passenger car, a smaller diameter wheel with narrower tyres will have less rolling resistance, and a narrower tyre will also cut through the air better than a wider one. Also, consider a more efficient A rated tyre for economy, they may offer less grip and be noisier at speed so be warned. Aftermarket wheels can be lighter too.

Weight: the power to weight ratio is the best way to compare performance cars, a Veyron might have 1000 HP, but it's extremely heavy. A Caterham R500 has a fraction of the power and weight too, so the 0-60 times are equal, as is the power/weight ratio. Consider removing any unnecessary weight in the car, it will be lighter, faster and more efficient. Car Manufacturers are always developing ways of saving weight, using plastic body panels, spaceframe style chassis parts, perspex windows and even cutting out circles in the glass you don't see behind the doors!

Suspension: As well as lower, in most Motorsports, cars have very rigid suspension, this allows the cars to corner at a higher speed than usual. On the open road, cornering at a higher speed will mean less braking is required and less energy is lost, less fuel will be used to accelerate back out of the corner. Fitting a roll cage will not only make the car safer in a crash, but the cars structure will be more rigid too, meaning less bodyroll. Same with a strutmount.

Engine tweaking: The electronic mapping on your cars ecu controls the engine fueling (amongst other things) consider having your car's electronics altered. A car with increased horsepower will be more efficient too, as less effort is required to accelerate, overtake or go up hills etc. Eco mapping is also very popular, it can increase your cars economy by a fair chunk! Certain aftermarket exhausts can also help the flow of the engine too, as factory fitted items can be restrictive due to noise and pollution regulations.

Gearboxes: With a manual, consider fitting a short shifter, it will increase your cars 0-60 time, but also make acceleration from a stop easier and quicker. Double clutch gearboxes can be remapped too for much faster changes.

Just scratching the surface here. Anybody else, feel free to add thier own ideas/theories
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Old 02-12-2016, 11:34 PM   #2
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I am interested in ECU remap, but probably not till my warranty expires! Another chap experimented with one for the same model as me and noticed no improvement though. Similarly, I hear lowering is an out of warranty mod - and may affect insurance. I have almost 3 of my 5 year warranty left. I was originally looking at 4 aero chrome moonie hubs, but was unsure they would fit or not get pinched, and certain they would affect the stock look of the car! As for weight, I carry a spare,carrier bags and cleaning kit in the boot and a glovebox full of maps. I do have the best rated eco tyres fitted (B for my car is the highest available). Best eco mod I have is the ScangaugeE.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draigflag View Post
Aerodynamics:Consider lowering your cars stance to increase airflow. A front or rear diffuser/spoiler can help deflect air over certain parts of the cars body making it more aerodynamic, but beware a large spoiler can also generate more drag.

Wheels & tyres: in racing, large wide tyres are used for extra traction. On a normal passenger car, a smaller diameter wheel with narrower tyres will have less rolling resistance, and a narrower tyre will also cut through the air better than a wider one.

Weight: the power to weight ratio is the best way to compare performance cars......even cutting out circles in the glass you don't see behind the doors!

Suspension: As well as lower, in most Motorsports, cars have very rigid suspension, this allows the cars to corner at a higher speed than usual. On the open road, cornering at a higher speed will mean less braking is required and less energy is lost, less fuel will be used to accelerate back out of the corner.

Engine tweaking: Eco mapping is also very popular, it can increase your cars economy by a fair chunk!

Gearboxes: With a manual, consider fitting a short shifter, it will increase your cars 0-60 time, but also make acceleration from a stop easier and quicker. Double clutch gearboxes can be remapped too for much faster changes.
Lowering cars for less air drag causes cars to be less safe. Still remember a popular teacher in high school in a car, who was killed by a drunk driver in a pickup, the higher pickup slicing off the top of the car. Rather than lowering cars, Americans are shifting to higher pickups & other higher riding vehicles, now.

Agree with you about narrower tires. Problem is, Americans keep buying the optional wider, but lower aspect ratio tires to fit larger wheels.

My Elantra, advertised to have higher power to weight ratio, still gave dramatically lower mpg than the heavier Chevy Eco Cruze, with its tiny 1.4 liter turbo, higher gearing & other wind-cheating tech. However, our 2016 Elantra was purchased for under $13,000, while the Eco Cruze sold for $20,000 plus(no dealing allowed).

Remember my 1973 tiny Subaru & its super simple rear suspension, yet helping to give a 4 wheel independent suspension. Why any car is built with a solid rear axle is beyond me....ugh, like my Elantra.

Many cars have an Eco button, which as least gives two mapping choices. However, my Elantra Eco button doesn't give better mpg till the temperature is above 60 degF.... & really LOSES mpg below 40degF. Plus, the Eco button is really sluggish.....at the time you really need power.

As for good, affordable manual transmissions, just get a Mazda. I love the idea of CVT & DCT...'cept for the huge repair cost if either expensive tranny goes out. The new 2017 Elantra, with 1.4 liter turbo connected to a DCT.....won't be connected to my payments.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:17 AM   #4
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I'd disagree about the lowering makes your car unsafe, there a million circumstances involved in each and every accident, you're not necessarily going to go under a pick up when/if you crash. Raising suspension, especially on a pick up, would raise the center of gravity and make the vehicle less stable when cornering or in strong winds. Rolling a vehicle can result in big injuries as the heaviest part of the vehicle is pushed down onto the lightest part.

Yes I am still experimenting with my eco button too. My last tank was an entire tank without the eco button pressed, and it happened to be my worse tank ever. Could be a coincidence. But you're right, the extra torque (in my case 20%) when eco is OFF is better for acceleration and overtaking etc. You will find though that when in eco mode, it may alter how your ac works, which can reduce fuel consumption dramatically.
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:04 PM   #5
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The best tune for your money you can do to your car is tuning the ECU. All my motorcycles in the past either had a tuned ECU or I used a racing ECU. For my Yamaha R1, I paid $450 to have the ECU reflashed, I had to specify what hardware modifications I had and then they loaded in a new map. By reflashing the ECU I got 10-15hp more, the rpm redline went from 13,500 to 14,750rpm, the speed limiter was removed, and the throttle response is buttery smooth now instead of being abrupt. The only downside is that the bike is a lot louder, and fuel economy is about 10% worse. I track my bike a lot, so these mods make sense. I usually take it easy in the city and around cops so that I don’t get pulled over for having a loud bike.

I could get the ECU tuned on my C55 and go from 362hp to 450hp, but I barely use the 362hp as it is. My brother tuned his ECU in his GTI and went from 205hp to 275hp and had no reliability issues since (150,000kms). There is a misconception that tuning your ECU affects reliability, but none of my friends had any issues with this. The only downside is that if your car is still under warranty, tuning the ECU will void it most of the time. And getting more horsepower usually increases fuel consumption by a small percentage. My brother uses the speedometer reset button to change the maps, and he can reset it to factory setting any time. Tuning company Dinan offer a retuned ECU that is covered under the factory BMW warranty.

Another example is the new Kawasaki H2 bike. The road version bike makes 220hp and it costs $26,000. The race only version makes 300hp and costs $53,000. If you pay ECUnleashed $450 there will retune the H2 ECU and go from 220hp to 280hp without any hardware modifications. I don’t know why you need that much power, but you can save about $26,500 in the process.

I was always a fan of lowering cars too, it has way more benefits that drawbacks. Benefits are: lower center of gravity for better handling, less frontal area for air drag, less wind noise. Drawbacks are: safety – taller cars have more advantage in a crash, you have to be careful around curbs since the bumpers will not go over them when parked, harder to get in and out. Most high performance cars like BMWs, Porsches and AMGs are lower from the factory; so you have to pay more attention when you park them.

My ’03 Buell Firebolt XB-9R ECU, I bought it used and it already came with a race ECU. They don’t test for noise or exhaust gas during inspection where I live, so having these mods is not a concern.



The below hardware is for my Yamaha R1, the pipe eliminates the catalytic converter, there is a high flow race air filter, and the black ECU that I shipped to ECUnleashed for tuning. They cut the ECU open, do the changes and then reseal it.
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Old 02-25-2016, 06:34 AM   #6
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Has anyone ever looked at what these tunes do to emissions? Not whether they pass or fail a state inspection, but whether they change the actual emitted amounts.
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Old 02-25-2016, 07:17 AM   #7
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My previous car failed emissions twice on the MOT test, and had a piggy back tuned ecu. Whether they were related, who knows? The car had passed previous annual emissions tests fine, so could have been a coincidence.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:37 AM   #8
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I should add that it was tuned for power, not economy, although I did see an increase in economy overall, and that my car tuning friend has sold tens of thousands of these tuning boxes Worldwide and never had any issues regarding emissions etc. I still have the box here, I'm considering sending it back for a map for my current car, once the warranty is up of course.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:14 AM   #9
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Here, I believe the emission tail pipe sniff test is against the highest limit allowed for a pollutant. So a car with a cleaner rating, could be worse with a tune, but still pass.
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