HPD Blog

Friday, March 11, 2011

Formula F Updates for 2011


-Dan Layton


One consistent fact I’ve noticed about Honda Performance Development in my 15-year association with Honda’s racing program: the company never accepts the status quo. Improving the product – and the results – is always the goal.

This is as true for Formula F (and other Grassroots Motorsports programs) as it is for Honda’s IndyCar and sports prototype efforts.

Prior to the start of the 2011 season, HPD provided all Honda Formula F racers with free, upgraded ECUs to be used in conjunction with the Honda Fit engine. It was a simple procedure; a pre-paid shipping label arrived at our shop and all we had to do was ship our old ECU back to HPD and swap it out for the upgraded version.

With SCCA approval, the ECU upgrade addressed two issues we noted with our Honda-powered Van Diemen FF in 2010: a discrepancy between the fuel pressure as set by the ECU and the actual pressure in the line; and a tendency for the car to be difficult to start on a less-than-full battery charge.

The ECU upgrade now ensures that the fuel-pressure reading in the dash CAN stream now matches the actual pressure in the line. The other upgrade now provides quicker starting, even with a battery producing as few as 8 volts (from the normal 12-14 volt range).

These are small changes, to be sure, and do not affect the performance characteristics of the Fit engine. But the result is two fewer items to worry about on an already crowded test weekend.

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