The story of Moog’s product development for Motorsport involves a long-term intimate knowledge of the application, close collaboration with the customer, and advanced expertise in product development. One of the key features of motorsport engineering is designing for the absolute minimum of weight, which creates demands for Moog’s design engineers when creating high performance valve product for this application.
The issue of weight is a complicated one in motorsport. A leading designer once postulated that if a racing car was correctly designed and not over-engineered, then it should disintegrate immediately after passing the finishing line! This ‘weight watching” culture is particularly prevalent in the arena of Formula 1, where much effort is expended to shave a few grams of mass from even the smallest component. Bizarrely all of the current F1 cars have to carry ballast to achieve the minimum allowed weight of 600 kg. (1,326 lb). However, there is considerable competitive advantage to be gained, by maximizing the quantity of ballast and placing it low and central in the vehicle. This gives advantages in the car’s handling and facilitates the on-track set-up procedure, as moving the mass fore and aft can alter the center of gravity.
The first products supplied to the F1 industry by Moog were custom versions of its specialist miniature aerospace product range. Typically these components were in use on commercial and military aircraft as well as missiles and spacecraft. However, it soon became clear to Moog’s engineers that even these tiny components were not truly optimized for the demands of F1.
Therefore at the beginning of 2001, Moog began the development of the smallest 2–stage Servovalve in the 50-year history of the company called the 024 Series ‘Microvalve’. Within 6 months, prototype valves were being tested on F1 cars around the circuits of Europe. The ‘Microvalve was soon adopted for all of the proportional hydraulic control functions on F1 cars.
Since then, a range of complimentary hydraulic control products, designed specifically for F1, has joined the Microvalve. These include:
- E050 ‘Microsolenoid valves, used for reverse gear selection and fuel flap actuation
- E085 Miniature actuators, used for throttle control
- E050 Rotary Power steering valves
Currently Moog is developing valves customized for use in other areas of Motorsport such as Moto GP and WRC Rally Cars. Additionally a tiny 27gram (0.96 oz) fuel pressure regulation valve is now available for the high-pressure F1 fuel systems currently under development for the ‘V8’ F1 engines of the future.
Martin S. Jones is responsible for the Motorsport business around the world. He has worked for Moog for 25 years in sales and applications engineering for a range of industries including mobile equipment, marine and offshore, blow molding, and rolling mills. He studied Physics and Economics at the University of East Anglia.