When we walked by the AP Racing booth here at PRI yesterday I was mesmerized by this little tiny carbon clutch displayed on a stand. When I looked at saw that this is in fact a clutch out of an F1 race car I about fell over. It’s tiny. In fact I was made that I didn’t put something next to this thing for reference sake, because it’s only like 4.5 inches in diameter. 4.5 inches!!! It’s the smallest clutch I’ve ever seen outside of a few motorcycle things I have seen apart. The carbon fiber discs and plates are awesome, as is the diaphragm style plates. We were blow away.
Saving rotating mass has become so crazy in all forms of racing, but as usual the gang racing Formula 1 has taken it to another level. Considering that current F1 engines rev to 12,500 to 15,000 rpm any reciprocating weight is crazy at that RPM. And getting these high revving low torque engines to rev as quickly as possible is the name of the game and this small a clutch certainly is going to help.
But how do you put that much power through something this small without burning the think up? That’s a function of the carbon on carbon and multiple disc configuration which gives exponentially higher clamp loads.
If we can get one of the AP Racing guys to give us the lowdown and really explain how this little bastard works we’ll fill you in later. Until then, check it out.