Nerd’s Eye View: SEMA 2013 – Part I

Nerd’s Eye View: SEMA 2013 – Part I

by Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

I believe Ricky Bobby best summed up the SEMA show for me when he spoke the words, “I wanna go fast!” Sure, SEMA has booths full of… all kinds of automotive stuff that I pass over and don’t really pay much attention to. But a whole big part of SEMA caters to us folks who wanna go fast. In Part I, we’re going under the skirt of vehicles to see what makes them go fast.

It’s tough to beat a carbon fiber land speed streamliner for going fast. A motorcycle racer is a good bet for finding someone crazy enough to pilot such a vehicle so Jason Disalvo fills the role.

It’s a good thing Disalvo is a small guy because there’s not much space in the cockpit. The controls for steering are like an old school tank.

The hand controls are connected to the steering linkage rods on each side of the front wheel. Three Ohlins (apparently pronounced closer to Oooooh-leans, and not Oh-lins) shocks control the motion of the front swingarm and wheel. I’m guessing those are typical rear motorcycle shocks.
One of our editors spoke to an Ohlins representative in the booth and they explained that the constraints of packaging the swingarm in the body resulted in about a 2.5 to 1 motion ratio for the suspension. The motion ratio combined with the desired 4 inches maximum of travel meant they couldn't use a single or double shock as the beefiness of the spring required would result in coil bind. Three was the magic number of coilovers required to adequately damp the suspension's motion.

It appears more motorcycle parts in the form of steering dampers are used to help control the steering while traveling a few hundred miles per hour.

Powering the Castrol Rocket are a pair of Triumph 1,485cc engines force fed with Garrett GT28 turbos. A combined 2,970cc of engine size, a pair of turbos, and methanol fuel result in 1000hp at 9000+rpms. That’s just a wee bit more power than Disalvo has on the sportbikes he normally races.

All of that power is transferred to the rear tires through a driveshaft. Two Ohlins shocks control the rear swingarm.

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