Hi-tech components will allow Warren Stean to run his Formula 1 car with a skeleton crew, compared to the army of technicians required in period
This car is really starting to come together and we are planning final assembly in late January or early February. The gearbox for my Jordan-Peugeot 195 is in the final stages of measurement and re-engineering. Metal should be being cut as you read this, and with any luck we will have a gearbox full of fresh components by Christmas, as well as a pile of CAD/CAM files.
In anticipation of this we have now turned our attention to the chassis electronics and control systems. In 1995 the gearbox was controlled by hydraulics that allowed for gearshift times of about 30 milliseconds. The hydraulic system was complex, courtesy of extremely high pressure and the need to reduce component size and weight.
Later V10-powered Formula 1 cars included a variety of systems that put demands on the hydraulic system, from the steering right down to the fuel flap popper. On a mid-1990s car such as the Jordan, the only areas that require this type of control are the gearbox and the clutch. Technological improvements in the intervening years mean we can now achieve this with a modern pneumatic system. The cycle times of the two systems are the same, but pneumatics are significantly less complex. That means less maintenance and better reliability.
We will be installing a Shiftec GCU800, which will allow fine control of all stages of the gearshift. Pneumatic power for the gearshift will be provided by a Shiftec air power source, which integrates a compact, lightweight direct-drive compressor with an air accumulator and control electronics into one package.
The engine control will be provided by a Life Racing F90A ECU, which will permit full sequential control of the 10-cylinder Peugeot engine along with protection strategies for oil and air-valve pressure. The ECU will also function as the data-logger, recording chassis parameters such as damper position and steering angle. Alongside the gear shifter will be a Shiftec clutch control unit which uses pneumatic power to drive a conventional master cylinder and in turn operate the clutch. By utilising these updated modern controllers, we can now reasonably expect to be able to run the car with two or three technicians rather than the 20 or 30 they had back in period.
The chassis wiring loom has been designed from scratch to support as many original components as possible and integrates with the original Peugeot/Jordan engine loom and Jordan chassis sensors. The loom is being constructed to F1 specification from Raychem Wire and DR-25 heat shrink, with all terminations via Deutsch Autosport or Amphenol connectors as appropriate.
Finally, we are servicing the original dash, cockpit switches and potentiometers. We will be integrating this display with the new electronics to retain the period feel. The steering wheel is being made from scratch, as a reconstruction of the original, and will have the hand clutch and shift paddles on the back.
Next month: Simplifying complexity – the next stage of a rewarding challenge
Thanks to: Tour-de-Force Power Engineering, Bedford; Engine Developments, Rugby