Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Champ Car Going to E85 in 2008?

From Gordon Kirby’s – The Way It Is -

[Forsythe laid the groundwork by commissioning Cosworth to conduct a technical review of what's required to switch to ethanol. "I made the investment on my own in research and testing to show them what the facts are," he commented. "It cost me $350,000 with Cosworth and they did the due diligence on running the engine on ethanol. They did some dyno testing to see if their theories worked."

Cosworth's chief engineer Bruce Wood designed the XD turbo V-8 and oversees the XF series Champ Car engines. Wood documented the work Cosworth did in researching a switch to ethanol. "The biggest thing we felt might be an issue were the cooling circuits because ethanol doesn't have the same latent heat vaporization as methanol so it doesn't cool things down as much when you evaporate ethanol," Wood explained. "So we spent some time looking at the cooling circuits to establish that they were going to be big enough. Somewhat to our surprise, that turned out not really to be a big problem, although our testing was finally cut short by an overheated exhaust valve seat.

"We put a different piston in to be more comfortable with the characterstics of ethanol and the increased the boost was needed to recover the power loss with E85. That was really the bulk of the changes, as well as re-mapping the fuel system and introducing a different injector spray pattern. But essentially, it was not a huge amount of work."

Cosworth ran an ethanol-fueled XFE engine on the dyno for 980 miles before the valve seat problem. "We were aiming to run 1,400 miles," Wood commented. "Although we fell short of this, we were fairly comfortable we could fix the seat issue and make the engine completely robust at 1,400 miles.]

I believe Gerry is correct when he says E85 will dominate the future. So it makes sense for CC to change to E85 as their fuel. Perhaps some big oil might eventually pony up a major sponsorship.

I would hope that CC doesn’t try promoting a change as a “Green” thing, leave that to the politicians.

Will it happen, who knows, I think it makes sense!


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