Improving the Fuel Economy of a Tuned 600cc FSAE Engine

Thomas Leonard, James Leckey, Geoffrey McCullough

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


To maintain its relevance, motorsport cannot be exempt from
the trend of increasing fuel economy. This bears obvious
competitive benefits as well, either in decreasing the
frequency of pit stops or the mass of fuel carried. Given the
increased points weighting of fuel economy for the Formula
Student (FS) competition, a complete analysis was performed
on the Queen's Formula Racing 600cc motorcycle engine in
preparation for the 2011 competition.
The criteria for such high performance fuel economy differ to
a degree from most mass transportation counterparts and were
divided into three distinct regimes; full load, part load and no
load conditions.
Full load positions naturally demand maximum torque for
performance but that does not imply that fuel savings cannot
be made whilst preserving this. The point at which maximum
torque is produced with minimum air -fuel ratio, Leanest
mixture for Best Torque (LBT), was therefore sought and
mapped for full load.
At part load, torque is less of a concern, and maintaining a
sustainable engine temperature and transient response become
more important. With decreasing AFR, engine temperatures
can rise dramatically so temperatures were measured close to
the exhaust port for a wide range of air-fuel ratios.
Competition track data was analysed to highlight key part load
operating regions and these were mapped according to
measured safe temperature limits. Torque response to a step
throttle change was also measured to ensure suitable engine
transient performance was maintained.
At no load conditions, with low engine speed only idle
conditions need to be satisfied. In the situation where the
engine is still at high speed without load, the engine is being
motored and no fuel is required. An overrun fuel cut was
employed to reflect this giving significant fuel savings. The
effect on torque and engine pickup was measured.
Modifications were also made to the fuel injector location to
improve fuel mixing and evaporation at this lower air flow
These mapping regimes were implemented and tested using
fully transient lap simulations using competition track data
and a four quadrant AC engine dynamometer. The experiment
indicated a reduction in fuel consumption for 22 laps of the FS
track from 5.08litres to 3.67litres, around 27% in total. The
actual fuel used at the 2011 competition was 3.6 litres while
placing 8th in the endurance event, further validating the
benefits of these mapping regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012
Event2012 Small Engine Technology Conference & Exhibition - Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Duration: 16 Oct 201218 Oct 2012


Conference2012 Small Engine Technology Conference & Exhibition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMadison, Wisconsin

Bibliographical note

SAE Paper No: 2012-32-0027


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