BMW engine breaks 19,000rpm barrier

BMW enters a new stage with its Formula One power unit Engine speed breaks through the 19,000 rpm barrier Monza -- BMW has entered a new stage of engine development. During Saturday's qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the ...

BMW enters a new stage with its Formula One power unit
Engine speed breaks through the 19,000 rpm barrier

Monza -- BMW has entered a new stage of engine development. During Saturday's qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the BMW ten-cylinder units of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya passed the speed threshold of 19,000 revolutions per minute for the first time. Both drivers of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team achieved engine performance of 19,050 revs. In BMW's debut race at Melbourne in March 2000, marking its return to Formula One, engine performance was clocked at 17,000 revolutions a minute.

"With this record figure we have once again raised the threshold in terms of our engine performance," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen after qualifying. "For an engineer it is thrilling to see figures which not so long ago were considered unattainable, suddenly becoming reality."

Werner Laurenz, the man responsible for the development of the P82, added: "During the race at Monza the rev counter won't yet hit the 19,000 rpm mark. But in principle we don't develop special qualifying engines. Each development stage is ultimately destined for the race, following its successful deployment in qualifying and the completion of endurance testing."

Since BMW's Formula One comeback, engine speed - and with it power output - has been steadily increasing - from 17,000 rpm (at the start of the 2000 season) to 18,000 (start of 2001) and 18,500 (start of 2002), all the way to the first figure in excess of the 19,000 rpm mark at Monza. BMW assumed the leadership in engine performance with the P80 in 2001 and has not relinquished it since.

19,000 revolutions a minute means 9,500 ignitions a minute per cylinder. That translates to 158 ignitions per second for each cylinder, or one ignition every six thousandth of a second. The fuel/air mixture is drawn into the cylinder, compressed by the piston and ignited by the spark plug; then the flame front travels through the entire combustion chamber, the combustion gas expands and, by means of the pistons, provides the engine's power before being discharged through the exhaust ports. All this happens 158 times a second in each of the 10 cylinders. Awesome statistics. By way of comparison, a production engine achieves around a third of this engine speed.

-williams-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams