Monoposto Racing Club F3 Class – Engine Regulations
This document is to start a process, and discussion, on creation of a power unit roadmap for the Monoposto F3 Class. It currently only covers the Mono F3 class, it is envisaged that further documents are created to cover the other Monoposto classes.
We have seen a golden era for the Mono 2000 / Mono F3 class over the last 16 years. The rules that have been in place for this time have given us a choice of reliable, competitive engines that have been easily and cheaply available. We have seen 2000cc engines from Vauxhall, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen win Mono races outright in this period. Other than a relatively small change to the regulations in 2010 to allow fuel injection, the stability of the regulations has been seen to be very beneficial to the membership.
This availability problem has not yet become critical, we should use this time we have available to look at the future regulations for the class. This time gives us the possibility to formulate, discuss and implement a regulations roadmap for the largest of the Mono classes without the need for emergency measures.
What do we want?
When developing this roadmap we should bear in mind what we, the racers, want from these regulations, what does an ideal engine(s) look like for a current or potential member.
So all we have to do is find an engine that satisfies all of the above and we have the problem solved! Easy! Unfortunately, reality is not quite so simple.
We have declared that there will be a move to newer generation F3 chassis from the 2017 season onwards, this means that we will be able to use the F305 – 307 chassis from next year. There is a stability period planned so that the next update in chassis to the next generation will not be until 2021 at the earliest. So the F308-311 chassis will not be eligible for Mono until then.
The club likes to give as much notice as possible to the members for potentially significant changes such as this. I would recommend that any changes to the engine regulations would have a 2 year notice period, and a further 5 year stability period beyond that. We must develop a very robust strategy, so this will take some time and is likely to need some investigation to validate our assumptions and ideas.
What are the facts?
There are certain parameters that are a given to us
Dallara have engineered various fitting kits for their F3 cars, in the timescales we are looking at, we expect the majority of Mono F3 class cars to be Dallaras.
It must be noted that although the Dallara parts manual list these options, in reality some of these parts will be very scarce.
Since the early 2000’s most engines for mass produced vehicles have had their focus moved from power to economy and emissions. The European regulations that mass market automotive companies have had imposed on them has meant a fundamental change in the technologies employed in the base engine design. Variable valve timing, direct gasoline injection and turbocharging has become almost standard in the last few years.
Motor manufacturers are mandated to supply spare parts for their vehicles for 10 years after the final production finishes, beyond that it is down to commercial considerations. If a part regularly wears or breaks, it was used on a wide variety of applications and is easy to store, it is likely to be made available for many years. If the call is low, it is expensive and difficult to store, then availability is likely to be significantly worse.
Continued use of existing engines
Whatever the route forward is decided, it must include a way for existing cars to remain eligible, and preferably not at a significant disadvantage in power.
Continue with what we have
We are starting to see parts becoming unavailable. For example the piston for the Volkswagen 2.0L 16V ABF engine is no longer made by Mahle. No other sources of a standard spec part has been found.
But discussions with suppliers in the industry has shown that they are confident parts are still available for our most popular engines, the Toyota and XE, though the longer term availability is unknown.
Allow more modern engines with variable cam timing and/or direct injection
This will clearly break the 200bhp requirement, this is one of the needs I feel is very important. Upping the power significantly will cause a multitude of problems with the cars breaking and wearing out. They are thoroughbred designs, they were designed to a power and torque in period and going outside these parameters will cause failures and significantly increase wear for brakes, tyres, clutches, Etc.
Use a bespoke engine specification
This gives us control of what we get. We can allow more modern engines but define exactly what parts can be used and what the likely power output of this assembly will be.
More unconventional approaches
We can take a view that there is no easy way to mandate engines that meet the requirements stated earlier, therefore a more open approach may be beneficial. If it is key that the output power is controlled, then make this the parameter we control. As seen in some race series, they take cars and ‘rolling road’ test them and the power output is measured and then fixed. If we take this view, then the engine used to achieve this max specified horsepower is free for the member to decide. It would need a controlled environment to be agreed and a series of special measures taken to control mapping and modifications in season. This would very much fit in with the traditional Monoposto values with many ways of finding an engineering solution being possible.
There is clearly no easily identifiable solution to satisfy the class’s needs for the next generation of engines.
We would like to get the feedback of the membership, and all related stakeholders, before any further work is undertaken. As always, the club is open to constructive comment and proposals.