GUN­NING FOR 300MPH

REG COOK’S 2018 AS­SAULT ON BON­NEVILLE

NZ Performance Car - - Contents -

Around this time ev­ery year, the nor­mally sleepy Ness Val­ley, south east of Auck­land, be­comes a hive of activity as a small-but-ded­i­cated team of mav­er­ick me­chan­ics work day and night prep­ping a pair of land-speed ma­chines be­fore their boat leaves for the op­po­site side of the Pa­cific. This yearly pil­grim­age to what must be the most in­hos­pitable rac­ing en­vi­ron­ment on the planet has been highly suc­cess­ful for Cook Mo­tor Rac­ing (CMR), which has claimed mul­ti­ple records each visit since first mak­ing the trip back in 2011.

This year will mark the third that CMR has made a two-car as­sault with the NX Coupe dubbed ‘Cookie’ and the stream­liner known as ‘Wairua’. Both are mul­ti­ple record hold­ers and have been pow­ered by ev­ery­thing from Honda K20s, VW diesels, to the be­spoke Syn­ergy two-litre V8s, the en­gine that Cookie will run again for 2018. While record hold­ers in their own right, both ve­hi­cles are re­ally just tools for the class­room. The sub­ject is land-speed rac­ing, and the grad­u­a­tion as­sign­ment will be run­ning north of 500mph (800kph), speeds no wheel-pow­ered stream­liner has gone be­fore. To at­tempt this, Reg and his team will be build­ing a new car, one that is the cul­mi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing they are cur­rently learn­ing from run­ning Cookie and Wairua. Sure, run­ning over 500mph is an ambitious goal, but Reg is me­thod­i­cal in his ap­proach, and the re­sults thus far are paint­ing a promis­ing pic­ture. “Is any­one in my team in their cur­rent state ca­pa­ble of run­ning it at 500mph? No, but are they ca­pa­ble of learn­ing? Ab­so­lutely. It has to be like go­ing to school; we’re play­ing with things,” ex­plains Reg.

It’s a goal that Reg and his team have had their eyes set on for five years, with each suc­ces­sive year treated as a step­ping stone. Each year, they have been run­ning a lit­tle faster, with a slightly big­ger team and, in­evitably, a more com­pli­cated piece of ma­chin­ery with which to get from point A to point B. For 2018, the stream­liner will be pow­ered by a three-litre Judd V10, a prom­i­nent en­gine of the ’90s Formula 1 (F1) era. It’s an un­ortho­dox ap­proach in a sport dom­i­nated by US low(ish)-revving en­gines, but, then again, most things this team do are un­ortho­dox. The three-litre V10 was run through­out the ’90s by teams such as BMS Scud­e­ria Italia, then, later, Judd teamed up with Yamaha and the en­gine re­ceived new heads and a re­design which was used right through till ’97.

MO­TOR COOK HOLDER - SALT RECORDRETURN V10 TO THE SPEED- A LITRE LE LAND- UP FOR THREE- A ) MULTIP GEARIN G H( IS TIME WITH 483KPH RAC­ING 300MP UTAH, THIS ING FLATS OF EX­CEED GOAL OF AND THE

The in­take on the nose feeds through a ra­di­a­tor be­fore en­ter­ing the yetto-be fab­ri­cated plenum. Fed via an ice­box, the sys­tem is prov­ing very ef­fec­tive, with air-in­take temps drop­ping from up­wards of 45°C to 15°C

An rpm value of 14,500 re­sults in some se­ri­ous speed for the valve springs to cope with, the kind of speed that no me­tal can with­stand. game-changer The for F1 was the in­tro­duc­tion of buck­ets in place pneu­matic of the springs

Re­ceiv­ing an en­gine pre-built and ready to run is not what Reg is used to; in fact, he men­tions that it’s strange hav­ing no con­trol over the en­gine pro­gramme

Judd still of­fers V10s to­day, although now they are 4–5.5 litres in ca­pac­ity, so the three-litre was a spe­cial or­der pieced to­gether us­ing new parts and com­po­nents left over from the ’90s F1 pro­gramme. Like all F1 en­gines of that pe­riod, the heads fea­ture four valves per cylin­der, which are con­trolled by pneu­matic valve con­trol, small light­weight buck­ets that re­place the springs, and see up­wards of 200psi. These al­low the mo­tor to reach 14,500rpm. Such rpm is coped with by the en­gine be­ing over­square, with a su­per short stroke and a rather large 107mm bore. As it’s a low in­er­tia en­gine there is no flywheel — or pul­leys, for that mat­ter. The wa­ter pump, four-stage dry sump, and al­ter­na­tor are all driven off the crank. All this re­sults in an ad­ver­tised 690hp (515kW) from an en­gine that weighs a touch over 100kg.

Two ma­jor fac­tors drew Reg to the Judd over other op­tions on the mar­ket. The first be­ing that it’s the only such op­tion that you can pur­chase out­right — other avail­able en­gines are lease only, from the likes of Fer­rari. That kind of ar­range­ment would not have worked when the in­ten­tion was to add ni­trous to the mix. The other ap­peal­ing fact was that ad­ver­tised horse­power of 690, and that it has an ever-in­creas­ing power curve right to red­line.

The wa­ter pump, oil pump, and al­ter­na­tor are all mounted di­rectly to the block — talk about com­pact

The salt at Bon­neville is on bor­rowed time, and the run is be­com­ing shorter and shorter, with this year’s run ex­pected to be around the three-mile (5km) mark, while in the past it was 10 (16km). The team is look­ing at run­ning at Lake Gaird­ner in Aus­tralia, and even Bo­livia is a pos­si­bil­ity for the 500mph runs, as the track there is 20 miles (32km) long

The salt is in­sanely cor­ro­sive and takes a huge toll on any­thing me­tal. This year, the team is tri­alling a pro­tec­tive coat­ing on the chas­sis to avoid hav­ing to strip it each year. As you can imag­ine, it’s a su­per tight space, and fit­ting so much in­side makes it a com­plex fit-up

“I think it will take a while to get up to speed, but, at 10,000rpm, it’s mak­ing 400hp (298kW), which is enough to drive the car. Once it hits 12[,000rpm], it takes off. At Bon­neville, if you hit ter­mi­nal ve­loc­ity at, say, 12,000rpm, un­less you’ve got in­creas­ing horse­power, it will stop there. You can’t have a curve where it peaks at 10,000 and revs to 14,000 but makes less power as it will not go past 10[,000]; it’s like a dyno run,” Reg says.

Cur­rently, a dummy V10 is mounted where the Syn­ergy once was, for­ward of the front wheels. It has posed a few unique chal­lenges, one be­ing the lack of a flywheel. The re­sult is a ma­chined piece of bil­let that houses a small drive­shaft and a flywheel and starter mo­tor. This piece at­taches di­rectly to the bil­let en­gine plate, which, as with all the bil­let sus­pen­sion com­po­nents, Richard Ma­son of Ma­son Tool and En­gi­neer­ing is re­spon­si­ble for. The eight-speed Weis­man land-speed gear­box re­mains, although, this year, it will have a crown wheel and pin­ion gear­ing it to 360mph (579kph) without the need for the re­duc­tion box that it ran last year, which caused is­sues sync­ing the gear cut.

The MoTeC M150 ECU will re­main and is be­ing bol­stered by an in­crease in data log­ging in the name of not only speed but also safety. A TFX cylin­der-pressure sen­sor sys­tem, which mea­sures the pressure in­side the com­bus­tion cham­ber at the phe­nom­e­nal rate of 10 times ev­ery de­gree of ro­ta­tion, is a real game-changer for the team, ex­plains Reg: “We can now make changes to the tune and see the re­sults in­ter­nally in the en­gine, rather than just re­ly­ing on the speed of a run to gauge it. Up un­til now, it’s just been ed­u­cated guesses.” Some­thing that is ex­tremely hard to do given that the V10 will never see the dyno in New Zealand as the Syn­ergy two-litre will. In fact, it’s likely only to be fired once be­fore leav­ing New Zealand.

Dur­ing wind-tun­nel test­ing last year, it was found that Cookie was gen­er­at­ing 318kg of lift at the base of the rear wind­shield. This new rear wing with ad­justable blade brought that down to 45kg, but re­sulted in 43kW of drag. It will be run this year as the team is ex­pected to ex­ceed 200mph (322kph)

This tiny pump pro­duces 218psi of pressure to ac­tu­ate the valves. THe team have had to beef up the on-board air sys­tem used for the air shifter to sup­ply 218psi on start-up, at which point the pump takes over

300MPH FOR GUN­NING

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