FAQs for new drivers

Everything you need to know if you are thinking about racing in 750 Formula

FAQs for new drivers

Postby Steve Boother » Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:25 am

Hi

Taking Rich's suggestion (thanks Rich) I have created an FAQ's page on the website and added some initial information as a starter. Please let me have some more questions and suitable answers that you think would benefit being on this page. Please also suggest changes/modifications to what I have already put so that we can make sure the information is as accurate as possible. Any help would be great, thanks.

https://750formulachampionship.com/faqs

Steve
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Re: Rich Jenkins

Postby RichardJ » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:40 pm

Hi Steve,

The FAQ page looks good.

Thinking about what I would have liked to have known about 750F as a novice I’ve got a few suggestions for questions. Hopefully others would be able to come up with suitable answers...

What are the different engine layouts in the formula and what’s the pros & cons for each?
How often does the engine need to be rebuilt and what’s the approximate cost?
What gearboxes are used?
How many sets of tyres are needed for a season and how much do they cost?
How much maintenance is needed in-between races?
Aerodynamics and slick tyres sound complicated, how easy or difficult are the cars to set up and adjust?
Are parts easy to obtain?
Where can I get bodywork from?
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Re: Rich Jenkins

Postby Martin Kemp » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:29 pm

1. There are 4 layouts used in the formula. In order of the most common they are:
a )Front engine/in-line 4 speed gearbox/ propshaft/ live rear axle.
b) Transverse engine/ FIAT 5 speed gearbox/independent/de Dion rear suspension.
c) Mid in-line engine/in-line 5 speed gearbox /very short propshaft/line rear axle.
d) Mid in-line engine/transfer drive to in-line 4 speed gearbox alongside engine propshaft/live rear axle.

Pros and cons are a bit contentious. Generally, it is only one's own brilliant driving that overcomes the in-built advantages that all the other cars have.

Here is a first stab at pros and cons.
a) Pros.
Free choice of 4 speed gearboxes
Good weight balance
Most of the weight is in the centre
Lightweight. Most carry ballast

a) Cons
Gearbox adaptor plate required for chosen gearbox
High unsprung weight at the rear.
No rear camber adjustment
Propshaft tunnel takes up cockpit space.
Carburettor position may conflict with the steering column

b) Pros.
Transmission components can all be standard FIAT.
Free rear suspension design
Lower rear unsprung weight
More cockpit space
b) Cons
Heavy production gearbox with limited choice of ratios
Slower gearchanges
Most of the weight is at the rear.
Limited diffuser length

I don't have experience of the other types so someone else should speak for them

2. Gearboxes used that I know of;
in-line 4 Speed
Reliant road box
Reliant race box
BMC A series box
Chevette
Ford Rocket
Quaife sequential
Bedford Rascal
Modified FIAT Punto
Mini - I think - is that right Rod.

Transverse
Fiat Grande Punto
Fiat Grande Punto with 1:1 5th gear
Fiat Punto
Fiat Seicento 1108
Fiat Seicento 900

3. I use 1 set per season but if I were in danger of winning the championship I would use 2. I used to use 1 set every 2 years in the Reliant days with top 6 six finishes in the championship but the cars were lighter then. They aren't hugely expensive but I make a point of forgetting as soon as possible.

4. It is not so much maintenance that is required as checking. Almost every nut and bolt on a race will come loose sooner or later. Rod ends develop play which will make the driver feel uneasy and leaks of coolant exhaust and induction systems develop in secret. Wire connections will fray or work loose. If you don't check all these things, sooner or later they will catch you out. Don't ask me how I know this.

5. The adjustments are easy enough to carry out and getting a car basically set up is fairly easy. Refining a car to its optimum depends of the driver knowing what he needs and how to achieve it. This takes more skill and experience and is one of the reasons why some people win races and others don't.

6. Most parts are standard or slightly modified. More specialised parts can usually be obtained from other competitors.

7. Me

Martin
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Re: Rich Jenkins

Postby suebmick » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:57 pm

Hi Rich
In answer to your question 2....

My engine was in the car for 12 seasons, including a few 6-hour relays & some other non-750 races. 1 race in about the engine's 3rd or 4th season I did 5 laps with the water temp off the clock for 5 laps & I didn't touch it afterwards & it carried on for years.

I had a premonition after 12 year's worth that something might be amiss & too right, the crank had a small crack. But that was it. & it's all back together for another 12 years (well, maybe 6 with Himself driving it).

Now this doesn't mean that all engines will last that long. But
a) there are no gismos/gadgets/ding bongs or doodlebugs on or in my engine & the head has not been skimmed to within a nanometre of its life. What is the point as blown engines are costly & annoying
b) every year the engine has an oil & cambelt change & a bit of a paint on the rocker cover
c) over the last 10 years or so I have deliberately done speed comparisons on track with a variety of other cars, even if they don't know it!! Billy Albone, Bill Cowley, Peter Bove, Bob Simpson, Chris Gough & even Mick.
None of these people can get past me unless I lift. Or until a corner comes up (!).
Perhaps therein lies the answer.
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Re: Rich Jenkins

Postby Martin Kemp » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:39 pm

I missed out the engine question.
My engines haven't lasted as long as Sue's but I still have got several years from them without rebuilds.

The present engine in the Falcon came from a scrap yard a couple of years ago, no work was done to it and it was fitted with our prepared 108 cylinder head.
Of course a professionally rebuilt and prepared engine is likely to be more powerful, but ours still managed fastest lap at Silverstone so it cannot be too far behind on power.

The reason I don't recondition the engines is that they are robot assembled and I believe that they are selectively assembled to be closer to optimum clearances than would be likely with standard machining processes. The basic engine is designed for higher power outputs than in the Seicento, so low mileage engines are nicely run in.

The only problems I have found are that some road engines have had leaky head gaskets and the cam belt drive sprocket key is not strong enough - this should always be strengthened as it is very likely to fail.

So the short answer is: the engine is as cheap as chips, lasts for years and it is cheaper to get another one than to recondition it.

Martin
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Re: FAQs for new starters

Postby pbove » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:38 am

Dick Harvey prepared my first Fiat engine which stayed in the car until 2010 when Robin had it rebuilt. During that time we did work on the head, changed to the mandated cam, changed to Polestar ignition and various inlet manifolds, but the bottom end stayed the same through three championship wins and it is still - to this day - the same head with the same amount skimmed off.

As long as you take the usual precautions they are, typically, quite reliable. Usual problems are sealing the sump - which takes a lot of care and very good sealant, oil pressure when the engine is hot (there is a very simple mod for this which is legal) and making sure that the cooling system works (you need to compensate for the thermostat being removed by using a restrictor in the head outlet).

One positive aspect to running a data logger is that they record the engine vital statistics and so you can keep an eye on what is going on without having to check the gauges all the time. I also run a conventional oil light on the dash in case there is a problem on track. Oh and use anti-freeze to stop corrosion..... and a reasonable quality oil.......
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Re: FAQs for new starters

Postby Martin Kemp » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:57 am

oil pressure when the engine is hot (there is a very simple mod for this which is legal)

That is useful, what is it?
The Merlin's engine runs very well but has hardly any oil pressure at all,
Data loggers are very useful for logging the cars vital signs and in particular the lambda sensor which is difficult to look at while you are driving.
The cheapest data logger is a camera that can see the gauges although you might get flicker from digital instruments.

Martin
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Re: FAQs for new starters

Postby Steve Boother » Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:12 pm

Martin Kemp wrote:
oil pressure when the engine is hot (there is a very simple mod for this which is legal)

That is useful, what is it?
The Merlin's engine runs very well but has hardly any oil pressure at all,
Data loggers are very useful for logging the cars vital signs and in particular the lambda sensor which is difficult to look at while you are driving.
The cheapest data logger is a camera that can see the gauges although you might get flicker from digital instruments.

Martin


Hmmmm, come on spill the beans :-)
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Re: FAQs for new drivers

Postby Steve Boother » Wed Oct 21, 2020 4:47 pm

I have updated the FAQ's page on the website https://750formulachampionship.com/faqs, please have a look and make any comments or suggestions.

I have also updated the main image on the website and the 750 Drivers Facebook group to reflect our new 2020 champion Peter Bove.
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Re: FAQs for new drivers

Postby pbove » Wed Oct 21, 2020 7:50 pm

You can increase the pressure that the relief valve opens at by slipping a washer between the housing and the spring. Very simple but very effective. And legal!
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