Advancements in Supercar Engineering Aim for Cost-Efficiency and Durability

Supercar racing is on the brink of an engineering evolution as teams anticipate the rollout of a new spindle design for Gen3 Supercars. This follows recent events at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 where the #6 Tickford Racing vehicle confronted a left-front wheel detachment due to spindle failure—a second such incident after Erebus Motorsport’s setback at Sandown. Brad Jones Racing’s Head of Engineering, Paul Scalzo, coupled with team representative Brad Jones, have shared insights into the upcoming technical adjustments through an informative video released by the team.

The incoming design intends to fortify the spindle in areas perceived as vulnerable, particularly those surrounding the threaded part. Notably, this move is not just aimed at bolstering reliability but also reducing operational expenditures for Supercar teams. Currently, spindles are crafted from a high-grade, but costly, 300M material used in advanced industries including aerospace. The proposed transition to EN26 steel—a material still resilient but more economically viable—promises to balance the scales between performance and cost.

Although a seemingly minute detail, the thread of the spindle has emerged as a critical focal point, with the new design slated to incorporate additional material to reinforce it. Moreover, the bearing surfaces will also undergo slight modifications, ensuring the spindle remains cost-effective without compromising its essential role.

The proactive shift in material to EN26 steel is consequential, providing a promising future for Supercars with a cost per spindle estimated at around $1800. This comes alongside the 2024-initiated update to wheel bearing specifications, exemplifying the commitment to improve both the endurance and economics of Supercar components.

FAQs about Engineering Changes to Gen3 Supercars

1. What recent issues have prompted changes to the spindle design in Supercars?
Recent events, including a wheel detachment on the #6 Tickford Racing vehicle at the Thrifty Bathurst 500 and a previous incident at Sandown with Erebus Motorsport, have highlighted spindle failures, prompting the need for a new design.

2. What is the goal of the new spindle design for Gen3 Supercars?
The new design aims to strengthen the spindle in vulnerable areas, particularly around the threaded part, while simultaneously reducing operational costs for Supercar teams.

3. What material is currently used to manufacture spindles, and what will be the new material?
Currently, spindles are made from 300M material, which is a high-grade steel used in advanced industries. The new material proposed is EN26 steel, which is also resilient but more cost-efficient.

4. How will the spindle design improve with the new changes?
The new design will enhance the thread of the spindle by adding material for reinforcement. The bearing surfaces will also receive modifications to ensure cost-effectiveness without sacrificing performance.

5. What is the expected cost per spindle with the new design, and when will it be implemented?
The cost estimate per spindle with the new design is approximately $1800, with the implementation slated for updates starting in 2024.

6. Why is the material shift to EN26 steel significant?
Switching to EN26 steel is significant because it offers a balance between resilience and cost, making it a promising material for the future of Supercars without harming performance.

Key Terms & Definitions:

Supercar: A high-performance racing car used in specific competitions, exemplified here by the Gen3 Supercars.
Spindle: A component of the car’s suspension system that connects the wheel hub to the vehicle’s suspension, important for the integrity of the wheel attachment.
300M Material: A type of ultra-high-strength steel commonly used in demanding industries like aerospace.
EN26 Steel: A type of steel alloy that is strong and durable but more cost-effective compared to 300M material.
Operational Expenditures: The ongoing costs for maintaining, operating, and repairing Supercars.

Suggested Related Links:

To learn more about Supercars or to keep up with the latest updates in motorsports, you might visit the following websites:

Formula 1
Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)

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