The New Zealand-designed and built Synergy V8 race engine could be the answer to the noise issues at Western Springs Speedway in Auckland.
During a recent race meeting at the Western Springs Speedway, a session of individually-timed qualifying laps allowed the accurate measurement of the sound level of all engines being raced in the midget car event.
“Not only was the Synergy V8-powered CRC midget quick with the equal fastest time with American midget star Davey Ray at the wheel, it was the quietest,” says the engine’s designer Simon Longdill.
Ray was driving the Synergy Racing team midget successfully contested by New Zealand speedway star Michael Pickens at the world’s biggest midget racing event, the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, US, last January.
Longdill says the car is now powered by the latest Synergy V8 engine which had the quietest sound level measurement of all cars recorded during the Westerns Springs qualifying session.
“The Synergy engine’s reading was a very significant 3dB lower than the average for the field — that’s a halving of the effective sound level.”
Since their triumphant return from last year’s Chili Bowl — where Pickens and Synergy team-mate Brad Mosen both qualified for and finished in incredibly competitive 50-lap Chili Bowl race — Longdill and Synergy Racing partner Luke Fisher have spent the year working on several key objectives. As well as having the cars and engines ready to compete in this season’s major championship races in New Zealand and Australia, the Synergy team has also been working hard on other areas important to their sport.
“Noise is still a serious issue for speedway, especially at Western Springs,” comments Longdill. “While all teams and competitors take the issue and restraints very seriously, as engine designers and manufacturers, we are in a position where we can apply more technology and resources to the issue. Actually we see it as a key part of our responsibility.”
Over the past few months Longdill has perfected further developments for the engine’s exhaust systems and muffler layouts, followed up with both on-track and mounted engine dynamometer testing.
The ultimate test of the engine’s sound pressure level (or decibel reading) was during qualifying for the world 50-lap race at Western Springs with top international competitors from New Zealand, Australia and USA present. Longdill says the qualifying procedure saw each driver run individually-timed qualifying laps.
“During these individual laps, accurate noise measurements can be taken in relative isolation from other cars. Davey Ray powered the Synergy CRC car around the Springs’ quarter mile (0.44 km) dirt track in the equal fastest time of 13.838 seconds.”
Ray finished the hotly-contested 50-lap race in fourth place.
“Our engine configuration has different sound characteristics to a more conventional midget speedway engine. It has more cylinders and operates at a higher speed. However each cylinder is smaller, which means certain types of muffler design can be used very effectively, although these need some development and testing to perfect.”
The unique Synergy V8 has attracted considerable attention from racers in New Zealand, Australia and the United States since its initial development three years ago. The basic engine architecture involves a small capacity 80 degree, 32 valve V8 engine, utilising modern motorcycle cylinder heads which were selected due to their large bore centre, large valve area and narrow included valve angle. Synergy’s modern technology also involves a purpose-designed crankshaft, crankcases, cam drive and dry sump lubrication system.
Team manager Luke Fisher comments: “It was an excellent result for the project and even though we sacrificed a small amount of engine performance in the process of reducing sound levels so much, the loss was minimised by good design. Our overall package is right at the cutting edge competitively.”
Fisher adds that the team continues to work with speedway promotion and governing bodies to investigate how to translate the Synergy research and results across a wider scale of cars and engines.
“Noise is an issue for virtually every class of racing car and our technology could have numerous competitive applications,” says Fisher. “You could say we’re leading a quiet revolution!”
As a successful follow-up to the results earlier in January, the Synergy team was delighted to have a major role in winning the Auckland midget car championship at Western Springs on 17 January. An exciting newcomer, 19-year-old midget racer Hayden Williams drove the ex-Brad Mosen Synergy Chili Bowl car for the Century Batteries HLR team to qualify fastest and then go on to win the midget championship title using the same updated engine and muffler combination run in Ray’s car earlier in the month.