Once you fully understand...
Once you fully understand the power of your engine you may have to delve deeper into the chassis settings to make sure you are matching the torque development of the engine to the torque application to the track. The chassis is a critical part of getting all the power your engine is developing to the track.
* What was your goal from the test, aside from seeing just what the engine would develop from a power perspective?
* What were you trying to learn?
* Were you trying out different engine components?
* Were you looking at various adjustments and how they would effect the power output?
* Were you just working to better understand the power characteristics of your engine?
We need to keep in mind that tuning is a process, a process with multiple variables and what would seem to be an infinite number of different combinations. The process of tuning is that of matching given components and adjustments to yield the best possible performance from the sum of all the components and or adjustments that you have to deal with. If we were to assign an algebraic equation to this process if would be Y= (f)X. English translation, Y is equal to a function of X. "Y" would be equal to the output of the process, or in this case the performance of the car on the track. "X" would be equal to all of the various components and their respective adjustment settings (i.e. engine, chassis, gear selection, etc.). Quite simply, X is the product of every adjustment and component on the car. Remember the engine is just one of the variables in this equation. Contrary to popular opinion the engine is not the center of the universe on a racecar.
With the data in this format...
With the data in this format it is a bit more difficult to really see what is going on. Most people will scan the columns and look for the biggest numbers. (Come on, you were looking for the big numbers weren't you?) But taking the same data and placing it into a graph we can get a better idea of what is going on with the power production.
Sounds simple enough-just plug all of the various parameters into the setup and go out and start racing. While this is easy to say, or in this case write, the proof is in the pudding-so given the idea that the performance of the car is tied to a variety of different factors. Why do we place so much emphasis on the performance of the engine? The simple answer is that the engine provides all of the power required to move the car. It is our ability to adjust the engine to a given condition or conditions that will be a significant part of the winning equation.
This is not to say that the chassis provides a minimal contribution. In reality the contribution of the chassis is probably more significant than the engine, but you have to have all the components working together to build a winning car. You can place a very strong engine in a poor handling car and you still have a poor handling car. But place a good engine in a chassis tuned to accept the power the engine is making you will have a race winning combination. The power characteristics of the engine will help to govern the way we adjust the car. We use the dyno to quantify the power characteristics of the engine. The adjustments we make to the engine and the components we use as part of the engine package determine the power of the engine. There are a great number of factors that have a great deal of interactions and as tuners we have to integrate the whole package.
Graph A - Taking the data...
Graph A - Taking the data and placing it into a graph we can get a bit better picture of just what is happening with both the torque and the horsepower. The torque peaks at about 5,200 rpm and the horsepower peaks 6,100-6,200 rpm on this run.
Let's spend a bit of time talking about rpm. We all have seen the in car telemetry from the tier one series on TV and the announcers seem to get pretty excited when the RPM levels start to exceed 9,200 in Cup cars while Formula 1 cars can rev well past 19,000 rpm! For the Saturday night racer it is very rare to see engines running over the 8,500 rpm level, and even that is more of the exception than the norm. For the most part the Saturday night racer will have engines that operate from 6,000 to 7,500 rpm. In the classes that are heavily restricted, the rpm levels will be biased to the lower part of that range. Just because an engine will rev to a particular level does not mean that you need to spin it that fast. There will be points where you will be able to rev past the usable part of the power band. Remember that more rpm is not always a good thing.
With the data in the form of a graph, we can see the shape of the horsepower and torque curves. Remember we are not trying to see the big number but we really are looking at the areas underneath the curves. The analysis of the data is going to focus on understanding what the engine is doing from a power perspective. In order to better see just what is happening we need to look a bit closer. In the original graph (Graph A) the horsepower and torque ranged from 0 to 450. If we change the horsepower range from 300 to 420 (Graph B) we will expand the definition of the curve and get a clearer picture of the power characteristics.