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Chapter Excerpts

An Introduction to Race Car Engineering

3rd Edition

This book provides the reader with a basic overview of the racing tire, the science of kinematic motion and the science of performance characteristics related to a vehicle in motion. The book walks the reader through a large number of kinematic and dynamic performance examples while using the accompanying software packages to help clarify each component discussed in Book One. The software also allows the reader to work beyond the confines of the book. The first book, together with its four companion books, have two primary themes: (a) an understanding of the basics of race car dynamics and (b) an understanding of how to use that theory.

Why This Book Was Written

Though a team may hire us to develop a test program, too many times when we arrive at the shop, we find ourselves spending far too much time helping the team get up to speed with the needed fundamental aspects of vehicle dynamics rather than being able to move right into the test design and implementation process. The book is our attempt to help teams begin their learning process before we arrive on the scene. Though only the first in a five book series, if an individual spends sufficient time working through Book One in conjunction with the various software packages, his knowledge of race related vehicle dynamics should be expanded considerably. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view it, many of today’s race engineers and crew chiefs are operating with a vehicle dynamics knowledge base much lower than that presented in Book One. The book has been developed from seminar and workshop materials compiled while working with teams over the last eight years.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is intended for anyone who is interested in understanding vehicle dynamics and hopes to improve race car performance. It is meant for both the entry level racer and the more experienced engineer. It is a basic book, not necessarily an easy book. Even the most basic concepts involved in race car dynamics can be pretty daunting for the racer who is just beginning his or her journey on the road to understanding how that darn race car works. Hopefully, this book will enhance your journey.

Who Should Read This Book

This book is intended for anyone who is interested in understanding vehicle dynamics and hopes to improve race car performance. It is meant for both the entry level racer and the more experienced engineer. It is a basic book, not necessarily an easy book. Even the most basic concepts involved in race car dynamics can be pretty daunting for the racer who is just beginning his or her journey on the road to understanding how that darn race car works. Hopefully, this book will enhance your journey.

Companion CD

WinGeo3

A renowned program used by many of the world’s top race car designers and teams. This demo version allows the user complete access Included with the book ''An Introduction to Race Car Engineering'' - Warren Rowley to the program. However, new co-ordinates cannot be saved. WinGeo3 is used extensively throughout the kinematic chapters.

Wan31

This purpose-built, Microsoft® Excel based statics and dynamics simulation program has been thoroughly tested by numerous individuals and race teams. Though the reader does not have to understand the formulas to use the simulation model, the mathematical analysis of this one program covers 67 pages alone. The various Wan31 models are used extensively throughout the dynamics chapters.

Press

Review from International Journal Racecar Engineering - April 2004 - Vol 14 No 4:

At nearly an inch and a half (35mm) thick in paperback, you know Warren J Rowley's An Introduction to Race Car Engineering is going to be a serious tome. So it's difficult not to be overwhelmed when you spot this is Book 1 out of five. However, that is not to say the work is impenetrable. It just attempts to cover an enormous amount of ground.

Quite rightly it starts with tyres and over three chapters covers everything from the basics of tyre construction and how they generate grip right through to complex models and use of tyre data. But the structure is such that the readers can read as much as they can absorb and then, once they find themselves out of their depth, move on to the next section, Kinematics.

This section is written with reference to William C. Mitchell's excellent WinGeo3 suspension geometry software, a demo version of which comes with the book. It enables readers to experiment with the principles being taught in the book but prohibits saving of new data. This part is not purely theoretical, though, and looks at the practicalities of suspension adjustment on various different types of car.

Finally it moves into the Dynamics chapters and this is where the math kicks in with a vengeance. However, simulation models in Wan31 are also supplied on the CD. Their function is fully explained in the eight chapters on dynamics, but if your grasp of algebra and matrix formulae is not equal to the task, then the models can be used blindly, without an understanding of their operation.

The resulting volume is impressive, all the more so when you discover Rowley's background is as a music professor - though his success engineering racecars meant that he has finally relinquished his academic career.

His first book in this series is both accessible and thorough and would offer a great deal to both the newcomer, or the experienced engineer who never found the time or opportunity to establish a formal basis for his experience. A very worthwhile work on a difficult subject.