CHAMPCAR/CART: Hidden Action at the U.S. 500

A World of Motion Inside Mercedes’ Racing V8 MONTVALE, N.J. (July 20, 1998) -- At 250 laps and 500 miles, the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn Hills, Mich., July 24-26, boasts some of auto racing’s most impressive statistics.

A World of Motion Inside Mercedes’ Racing V8

MONTVALE, N.J. (July 20, 1998) -- At 250 laps and 500 miles, the U.S. 500 at Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn Hills, Mich., July 24-26, boasts some of auto racing’s most impressive statistics. But even last year’s pole-winning average speed of 233.857 mph pales when compared with some of the huge numbers the Mercedes-Benz IC108E engine will achieve during the course of this grueling race.

Each Mercedes IC108E V8 will undergo approximately 3,737 complete combustion cycles per lap. In a four-stroke internal combustion engine like the Mercedes V8, a full cycle involves two up-and-down movements by each piston (top dead center to bottom dead center and back again equals one movement), two full crankshaft rotations, one movement by each valve, one squirt of fuel by each fuel injector and one spark from each spark plug.

For those of you who are counting (or rather multiplying), that means 7,474 crankshaft revolutions per lap. With one fuel injector and one spark plug for each of the eight cylinders, it also means 29,896 sparks and squirts of fuel per lap. With eight pistons moving twice per combustion cycle, there will be 59,792 total piston movements per lap. And with four valves per cylinder (32 valves in all), there will be 119,584 total valve movements per lap. Over the course of the race’s 250 laps, each valve will move, each injector will squirt and each plug will spark 934,290 times. The crankshaft will rotate and each piston will move 1,868,580 times. That’s a race total of 7,474,320 sparks and fuel injector squirts, 14,948,640 piston movements and 29,897,280 valve movements.

For those of you interested in extra credit, try calculating these totals for the entire five-team, eight-driver Mercedes-Benz Champ car contingent.

Mercedes-Benz Notes:

From One Pole Position To Another Eight pistons have a long way to go to finish 500 miles inside a Mercedes-Benz IC108E Champ car V8. In fact, nearly 15 million combined reciprocations over 250 laps at speed would amount to more than 12,000 miles, or about the distance from pole to pole!

Shocking!! During the U.S. 500, each Mercedes 1C108E will produce the horsepower to generate the equivalent of about 1,300 kilowatt hours of energy. That’s enough to power an average household for more than two months.

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