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The Spun Bearing: BMW M12/13 F1 Engine, and Bangaluru Through the Eyes of a Car Guy

Interesting | April 30th, 2012 by 3
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BMW M12/13 F1 Engine Formula is supposed to move to a 1.6 L V6 turbo engine recipe for the 2014 season. F1 has been down …

BMW M12/13 F1 Engine

Formula is supposed to move to a 1.6 L V6 turbo engine recipe for the 2014 season. F1 has been down the turbo road before and of course, the winning BT52 was powered by the remarkable BMW M13 engine. The M13 was an inline 4 cylinder, displacing 1.5 liters and a HUGE turbocharger.

The interesting piece of the M13 engine was the use of well used M10 cast iron short blocks to underpin the engine. BMW wasn’t the only engine builder to search out well worn (but not worn out) engine blocks. There was at least one American racing engine builder that actively scoured sources of well worn cast iron blocks from school buses to build cars around.

The seasoned M10 short blocks proved to be remarkably resilient given the tremendous horsepower the M12/13 racing engines produced. And Paul Rosche’s team of engine wizards ensured that the internals were capable of handling the 50 to 60 psi of boost.

The bore and stroke were 89.2/60 mm – making the engine oversquare by a considerable margin. It helps when you want high engine speeds to restrict the stroke to limit piston travel. A motor designed with a longer stroke, all else being equal, will produce more torque at lower RPM (thanks to the longer lever arm that a connecting rod journal that’s further away from the centerline of the crankshaft provides – which is a trick BMW is using in its current undersquare street engines). But, F1 isn’t about a 60 ft time, so the tremendous boost and sufficient RPM produced an engine that could deliver at least 1300 HP.

In reality the full up qualifying spec (read, ‘hand grenade’) HP figure was probably closer to 1500, but BMW’s engine dyno at the time was pegged at 1300. The downside of such a huge turbo on a 1.5 liter four cylinder is turbo lag. But a good driver would know how soon to jump on the throttle to spool it back up coming off a corner.

The engine had some initial teething problems with the injection and ignition systems but those were sorted out in time for Brabham to win several races in 1983. The BT52 chassis was designed by Gordon Murray and it the image of the radically pointed nose and rear sidepods seem to be echoed in the DeltaWing – which is soon to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 1.6 liter four cylinder making some 1000 less HP than the BMW M12/13.

Bangaluru Through the Eyes of a Car Guy

I’m in Bagaluru, India for a couple of weeks on business. This is a driving environment that defies description. It is a combination of an incredibly diverse fleet of vehicles, infrastructure that is in urgent need of updating, and traffic densities that, for most, are unimaginable.

The city has a population of over 8 million. The income range is very wide, wider than most realize. The roads are shared by trucks of all sizes, buses, cars, three wheeled taxis (two strokes – the incessant buzz and odor of which linger long after they’ve past), bikes, scooters, people pushing hand carts, cows (yes, sacred cows – the first time you see one in the city you’re gobsmacked), and pedestrians.

Bangalore is located in Karnakata state, and it is primarily a rural state. They have to weigh the cost of bringing the cities infrastructure up against a much needier rural infrastructure. So road maintenance and building in Bangaluru has to wait its turn. To offset some of the problems, a metropolitan S-Bahn, U-Bahn train system is being deployed.

Traffic is incredible during peak hours. There are no stop signs, and traffic signals are located at major intersections only. Speed is kept in check by numerous ‘sleeping policemen’ (speed bumps). And it’s interesting to see a swarm of traffic come off a traffic signal and slow down in unison to tackle the bumps. Lane discipline is non existent, yet there are signs in the traffic islands that ask drivers to maintain lane discipline.

Horns are used as proximity sensors. In fact trucks often have the following painted on their tailgates, “Honk OK Horn”. As drivers jostle and jockey for position, they alert the soon to be overtaken that they have company. And it’s close company – having someone literally less than a few inches away overtaking is not uncommon. Uncontrolled intersections are another spot where horns are used as signals of intent to enter. I would like to have the car horn concession in India.

The bulk of the vehicles are small, as would be expected, a popular car is the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Swift DZiRE ( a four door swift with a shrunken E65 7 series lookalike trunk). The Swift DZiRE is available with a 1.3 diesel or 1.2 liter gas engine. The 1.3 diesel is the hot rod of the two since it utilizes common rail injection and a turbocharger. But the Swift is about as big as the cars come.

However, there are the odd Skoda sightings, the Superb being a favored model and yes, even BMWs. I’ve seen an older X5, newer 3 series, and a couple of new F10 5ers, including a 525d (a car I’d like to see in the United States).

India may be a developing nation with a ways to catch up (inadequate infrastructure and the impact of extreme income disparity) but if you see how young, bright, and eager the people are you’ll understand why this is a market to be in. India is a country on the rise.

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