CHAMPCAR/CART: Rockingham previews Champ Cars

CHAMP CARS LOOK GOOD, SOUND GOOD, EVEN SMELL GOOD! The open-wheeled Champ Cars are powered by turbocharged, 2.65 litre V8 engines capable of producing nearly 900 horsepower at over 11,000rpm. As a result of the turbocharger they give a...

CHAMP CARS LOOK GOOD, SOUND GOOD, EVEN SMELL GOOD!

The open-wheeled Champ Cars are powered by turbocharged, 2.65 litre V8 engines capable of producing nearly 900 horsepower at over 11,000rpm. As a result of the turbocharger they give a distinctive howl, which is not as shrill as a ten-cylinder Formula One engine of approximately the same power. Many people reckon Champ Cars sound even better than Formula One!

Whatever the sound, these engines, built principally by Toyota, Honda and Ford, at their Cosworth facility in nearby Northampton, give the cars a stunning performance. As well as a top speed of close to 240mph (think about it - four miles a minute), a typical 0-100mph acceleration time of around 4.2 seconds. Fuel economy is regarded as pretty good you can get 3 laps, around 4.5 miles to a gallon!

Instead of running on gasoline, Champ Cars are fuelled by methanol (methyl alcohol), a chemically created, non-fossil fuel consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Methanol possesses an inherently high octane rating and stable combustion characteristics. This makes it ideal for the constant high revs of the turbocharged engines on an oval.

Unlike gasoline, methanol fires can be safely extinguished with water– and you will literally see buckets of water being placed in strategic places during a pitstop. However, the fuel does create a challenge, because its flames are invisible in bright sunlight. If you suddenly see a driver leap out of his car and start dancing in the pitlane, while the pit crew throw buckets of water at him, it is not a new comedy act!

The alcohol-based fuel, which actually has more in common with vodka than petrol, is also environmentally friendly as its principal exhaust emission is water. The exhaust fumes have a distinctive odour too, which one Champ Car driver referred to as 'the smell of raw speed".

-Rockingham Motor Speedway

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Series IndyCar