Garlits’ quest for 200mph on batteries takes temporary jolt

Garlits’ quest for 200mph on batteries takes temporary jolt

By Martha Maglone: Don Garlits’ quest for a 200mph quarter-mile record with a battery-powered twin-electric-motor dragster on April 17, 2015 at Bradenton, Florida failed. Though the Swamp Rat 37 recorded a speed of 176mph, it fell short of its earlier record run of 185.6mph when it was powered by six electric motors. Both Garlits and the Shawn Lawless team who prepare the car remain upbeat. During their attempts, Garlits’ suffered brake failure, causing him to run off the end of the track. But his main difficulties were that of electric motors that wouldn’t rev beyond 4,000rpm and one motor that suffered from overheating. “Having motors that would rev to 5,000rpm or better still 6,000rpm would be perfect,” said Garlits, “but that’s hard to get in electric.” Currently they are having a special set of gears manufactured—taller ratio for the two bigger motors. The gear Garlits refers to is similar to the 11in Ford arrangement used on nitro-fuel cars. Earlier the team had replaced the six electric motors with two of greater power and similarly upgraded the battery pack. Running six motors meant employing a big gearbox which according to Garlits, “sucked up a lot of horsepower.” Reducing the number of electric motors from six to two also lightened the car. “Everything seemed better for this attempt,” he said, “only the motors didn’t rev as I’d hoped.” During the record attempt, Garlits ran off the end of the track as a result of brake failure. “Actually, I ran off the end of that track once before when a chute failed. This time was no big deal, the chute had slowed...
Certified: California approves Motus MST/MSTR

Certified: California approves Motus MST/MSTR

By Bertie Scott Brown – Birmingham, Alabama: Motus motorcycles are now street-legal in all 50 states. On April 30, 2015, Motus Motorcycles was issued an Executive Order by the California Environmental Agency’s Air Resources Board (CARB) certifying all 2015 production Motus motorcycles as compliant with California emissions standards. A few days earlier, three 53ft trailers arrived with 110 pallets of 1650cc Baby Block American V4 engines, with their striking resemblance to half of a GM LS V8 motor. Motus also announced recently that all motorcycle testing and development as well as V4 engine assembly will be performed on-site at their headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. Though production begins at 30 machines per month, plus V4 Baby Block crate engine sales, future production will be aimed at 500 to 1,000 bikes per year. In addition to their endless road test programs, they have installed a chassis dynamometer to test entire motorcycles and also an in-house power train dynamometer to test their engines and gearboxes. Motus motorcycles as well as V4 crate engines are available through their nationwide network of dealers. Motus MST prices start at $30,975 For more information visit motusmotorcycles.com or...
Winning: The racing life of Paul Newman

Winning: The racing life of Paul Newman

By Freddie Heaney: An 83-minute documentary “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” premiered in Los Angeles recently and is scheduled for nationwide distribution at select theaters, starting May 22 in Indianapolis. All screening proceeds will be devoted to charity. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FILM’S OFFICIAL TRAILER  Paul Leonard Newman, who died Sept. 26, 2008, aged 83, was an acclaimed race car driver and team owner with a 35-year involvement in motor sport, while continuing a successful film career. Extraordinarily, he didn’t begin car racing until his forty-eighth year, yet won four SCCA national titles as a driver and eight Champ Car driver’s championships as a co-owner of Newman-Hass Racing. He also finished 2nd overall and 1st in GT class at Le Mans 1979 in Dick Barbour’s Porsche 935 with teammates Rolf Stommelen and Barbour. At 70 he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, his Ford Mustang finishing 3rd overall and 1st in GTS-1 class at the 1995 Daytona 24 Hours with teammates Tommy Kendall, Michael Brockman and Mark Martin. An even greater measure of the man and, perhaps, less well known was his philanthropic pursuits. His Newman’s Own food company has donated $430 million in profits to date, to charities. He also founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children. A man of rare ability, Newman’s passion for racing began while studying for his role in the 1969 racing film “Winning.” The new film is directed and produced by Nate Adams and comedian and car enthusiast Adam Carolla, who has owned, restored and...
Clever new adjustable PCV valve–the first of its kind.

Clever new adjustable PCV valve–the first of its kind.

By Ben Mozart: What would you think of a simple, effective tuning device that also cleans the crankcase of a running engine? Bear Creek, PA: M/E Wagner has invented a dual-flow adjustable PCV valve. As implied the valve features two independent, adjustable circuits—an idle and a cruise. It was pioneered to aid the evacuation of undesirable crankcase gases in a wide range of high-performance street engines and to simplify tuning. Though of little benefit to full racing engines, its effect on the larger high-performance street-engine market is unparalleled. In fact, it is the only adjustable valve for crankcase gas evacuation, functioning in engines with both stock and modified internal components. As a result it also reduces oil leaks and aids in idle air-fuel mixture tuning. Importantly, under cruising conditions its flow rate increases to accommodate additional blow-by precipitated by higher load conditions. When performance parts are added—cylinder heads, camshaft, carburetor, intake manifold—the vacuum profile of the engine is altered. The original PCV valve that once evacuated blow-by gases and acidic vapors from the crankcase can be only partially effective or may not work at all in modified engines. In contrast, Wagner’s adjustable PCV valve delivers the proper flow rate to evacuate the gases—and in the process allows fresh air into the crankcase. Astute engine builders often regard a slow idle as the hallmark of a good tune. But the original PCV valve in modified engines at idle or part throttle or light load often presents mysterious and time-consuming troubles. When a carburetor becomes non-responsive to adjustment often it’s not the fault of the carburetor at all. Excessively high idle...
Why under-drive a pulley system?

Why under-drive a pulley system?

By Martha Maglone: If under-driving a pulley system robs less power from the engine, why doesn’t Concept One do it? “We don’t under drive the pulley system,” says Concept One’s Kevin Redd, “because we are more concerned with driveability than saving a couple horsepower. When you under-drive the pulley system you slow it down and as a result you can lose performance at low rpm and at idle. Reducing the pulley speeds can also have a detrimental effect on alternator charging as well as power steering performance and cooling efficiency. For these reasons we don’t under-drive our pulley...
Cure for uncomfortably high clutch pedal on late-model street cars

Cure for uncomfortably high clutch pedal on late-model street cars

By Sam Logan: Most late-model street vehicles use an internal hydraulic clutch release bearing, sometimes called a concentric slave cylinder (CSC). Yet, unfathomably, many of them suffer from clutch engagement high on the pedal travel. For most drivers, this is not comfortable. Conveniently, Ram Clutches has introduced a pedal-height adjuster, which is situated inline between the hydraulic master cylinder and the slave cylinder. It is in effect, an accumulator in which a piston and spring are housed. When the adjustment screw is turned in to its fullest extent, the piston cannot move and the adjuster is bypassed. In fact, this is the condition in which the system should be re-bled. As the adjustment screw is turned out and the pedal depressed, the fluid flows into the adjuster and pushes the piston back. Once the cylinder is full, the remaining fluid is routed to the hydraulic bearing. This essentially introduces free-play to the pedal travel and lowers the point where the clutch engages, allowing the driver to adjust the pedal to the most comfortable driving position. A lower pedal also quickens clutch response. A bonus feature of this adjuster is its ability to control the travel distance of the release bearing. This prevents over-travel of the clutch fingers, which can lead to clutch malfunction at higher engine RPM. Applying the pedal-height adjuster’s resourcefulness to the competition clutch Also worth noting, original equipment manufacturers use pre-loaded release bearings that are in constant contact with the clutch’s diaphragm fingers while competition-style bearing makers do not. By contrast they seek maximum clutch clamping force and, therefore, require some free-play between the clutch release...