Horsepower Hide and Seek

Horsepower Hide and Seek
By Don Terrill (c) -

More power, it's there, you just have to know where to look for it. Sometimes it's right in front of you and other times you'll find it in the most unexpected places.

Look at the Raw Numbers
I while back I wrote some software for myself that showed where the piston was located and how fast it was moving. I then overlaid Cam-Doctor data to show me what the valves were doing in relation to the piston. Lastly I added airflow numbers - It was a huge eye-opener.

Look at it Graphically
I love the raw data, but sometimes the amount of information is overwhelming and can only be understood if viewed graphically. Fire up Microsoft Excel and SEE what you can learn from the numbers.

Look to Other Forms of Racing
Over at Racing Road Trip I've been documenting my quest to view every type of racing known to man. I have a long way to go, but already I've received a huge education. The Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) race in Wisconsin and the Soap Box Derby in Ohio were a couple of my favorites. The one I'm dying to see is airplane racing - It looks crazy on TV.

Look Outside of Racing
Taking it one step further, let's forget about racing all together and look to other industries for inspiration. Aviation and aerospace should be at the top of your list.

Question Conventional Wisdom
Are there things you believe even though you haven't verified them for yourself? I'll bet there are. I'll bet there are a lot of them. What widely held beliefs do you think warrant another look?

Start from Scratch
How would you design an engine if you could start from scratch? Would you use poppet valves and push rods? I doubt it. The cost of a complete redesign will probably stop you in your tracks, but it's still a worthy mental exercise.

Forget Everything you Know
Take it to the extreme, what if you could look at the task of propelling a vehicle with virgin eyes? How would you do it? What energy source would you use? Gasoline? Alcohol? I'm sure you can think of better, much better.

Talk to Non Racing Gurus
When you run across smart folks, I don't care what field they're in, ask them questions. They just might give you a fresh idea - something you've never thought of before.

Want to send off a nasty email about how wrong I am? Well, first read this and then write your own article.