A Technical Review of Automotive Racing Fuels
Automobile racing engine performance has historically progressed with and aided the development of automotive technology. Racing engine performance has been improved in various applications with specialized liquid fuels, such as nitroparaffins, alcohol (methanol) and certain hydrocarbons used in racing gasolines. This paper presents physical and thermodynamic properties of commonly used racing fuels and selected additives, including nitrous oxide and hydrazine. Improving the antiknock properties of gasoline for racing purposes is also discussed. Engine operating characteristics and power output for each fuel are discussed in terms of appropriate fuel properties and engine parameters such as air/fuel ratio and compression ratio. Combustion of various fuels is discussed along with the effect of dissociation and heat loss on performance. Some experimental performance data are presented, and theoretical and practical considerations which effect fuel utilization are also discussed.