While some of us possess an innate and fierce sense of competition, a rare few use more extreme activities to demonstrate such spirit in action at places like Bonneville, where racing enthusiasts have been traversing the Salt Flats for over 100 years. While most of us may be more familiar with conventional, brightly decorated racecars speeding down the pavement of circuits around the globe, Bonneville offers a unique racing environment on the dry plains of Utah, near the Nevada border.
Those hoping to drive at Bonneville don’t need millions of dollars to get involved, but they do need a vehicle designed for high performance and speed. This requires some resourcefulness in engineering and production, along with the ability to try new techniques and new technology. 3D printing is a perfect fit for those designing automotive parts, as it offers self-sustainability in creation and production, speed in making prototypes and parts, and, best of all, quality combined with affordability.
At Bonneville, whether you are jet-powered, rocket-powered, racing in a futuristic car or a high-speed motorcycle, it is all about the engine. NASCAR champions, women motorcyclists, and many of the greats have enjoyed the challenges of Bonneville, with a total of 12 engine classes that range from 30 to 501 cubic inches.
As Victory Motorsports geared up for their race at Bonneville, CRP USA worked with the team on development of parts for their Streamliner, specifically the 3D printed NACA duct. They have now released a case study regarding the experience, which resulted in a win for Burton Brown and his team from Dale, Wisconsin.
“Getting into the 200MPH club was always a general goal,” said Brown in the case study released by CRP. “My dad and I always talked about someday getting a ‘red hat.’ I promised him I’d get him one someday, so that had always been something I intended to do.
“We knew from the start our Streamliner would be capable of running 300mph, so we had a few goals during Speed Week 2017 we hoped to accomplish. The first one was to break the long-standing F/DS record at 199.015mph from 1979. Additionally, we hoped to not only break the record, but go 250+mph and obtain an AA License, which would have allowed us to take a shot of going 300mph (you need different licenses to go higher speeds).”
The team named their latest venture ‘The Junkyard 300,’ with the moniker inspired by all the parts which came from salvage. They added the following:
- Borg Warner S300 Turbo
- OM606 Fuel injection pump by Dieselmeken AB Sweden
Budget constraints meant that parts came from a variety of discounted venues, from eBay to yard sales. Brown points out a quote from experienced Bonneville racer Jack Costella that inspired him: “Go as fast as you can for the least amount of money.” They also had to budget in funds for their trips back and forth to Bonneville from Wisconsin—which they were motivated to do as the trips were such a source of enjoyment for all involved.
In readying the Streamliner for the race, the team enlisted David Woodruff from Design Dreams LLC to create a new intake duct. With less than a week to go before the race, however, the team was aware that this part would not be ready via their initial plan to create a standard mold. They had to consider other choices, and turned to CRP again, as they had created velocity stacks for Burton’s record-setting 240Z, which they were not planning to use in the upcoming race.
“Stewart Davis from CRP USA had called to check on the progress of the Z engine and I had to tell him we wouldn’t make it with the 240Z and that we had switched our complete focus towards the Streamliner. I explained we were struggling with the duct and asked if Stewart and his team could help us with that challenge,” said Brown.
“So, we talked more about the possibility of CRP making the ‘Naca-Scoop.’ Without hesitation, Stewart asked for the model and CRP USA produced an absolutely perfect piece.”
Davis and his team understood the complexities in 3D printing a NACA duct, making it easier for them to fabricate the 28-inch part with the required smooth surfaces leading to optimum flow.
“The design has some extra complexity to help the air flow at the base of the Turbo inlet, and it looked a bit daunting. We had to build it in 3 sections, but our finishing team was able to apply their knowledge and skill to give an expert polish,” said Davis.
As race time drew closer and closer, the team prepared to head to Utah. Another last-minute glitch arose though as they discovered some imperfections (due to miscommunication with the original designer) once the fairing arrived.
“The fit to the engine was great but the curvature to the body from the scans must have been off a little and this created some challenges getting it to fit to the body,” said Brown.
Davis took a look at the Streamliner upon speaking with Brown.
“When I arrived on Friday morning, we reviewed the fitment issues,” said Davis. “Attempting to force the part was not working. Windform SP is a very tough material, so the decision was to fracture a section of the part to allow a little give, so it would match the curve of the fairing, and then reinforce it by riveting an aluminum backing plate.”
Over the weekend the team worked to get the Streamliner ready, with the NACA duct being modified and then refitted. Runs went well through Sunday, and team was optimistic about breaking a record at Bonneville with the Streamliner.
Brown relived a bit of the race, explaining:
“The track was a lot rougher than I had ever experienced at Bonneville.
“The first pass, I drove through lots of rough stuff and found about the 3.5-mile mark that the track got smoother. The Streamliner withstood some damage to the fiberglass due to the roughness of the salt/silt surface and with how rough parts of the track were, we ended up doing a little salt plowing. Our exit speed at mile 6 was 234 MPH.”
Although they did qualify for the record, two runs were required, with the average of each being used. Although the engine was producing ‘plenty of power,’ Brown saw that the rough surface at Bonneville was causing challenge and traction issues.
“The Windform SP part performed extremely well, and held up to all of the abuse, even being heavily modified while on the salt flats, with limited tools and time,” said Brown. “I am still completely amazed at the strength of the Windform SP. It gave us no issues withstanding the speed and the rough track and vibrations. It is a very light, strong material that can also take the extreme heat generated in the very tightly-fitted body. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of having something like this on the Streamliner.”
As Davis and the team at CRP congratulated Brown and his team on their record, they immediately began looking toward more races, especially with completion of the engine for the 240Z too.
“We are fortunate to work with teams that are dedicated to their sport, and the Victory Motorsports Team is a great example of the hard work and determination it takes to be successful,” said Davis.
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Source / Images: CRP USA]