Foggy: We’re on course despite Suter switch
Carl Fogarty remains upbeat and is convinced his team is on schedule to start testing the new FP1 superbike early in April, despite the switch from Sauber to Suter Racing Technology (SRT).
According to insiders the target is for SRT to complete a new 887cc version of the engine and bench test it for the first time in March – but they will have their work cut out to achieve this.
One of the major challenges is to turn a 16,000rpm, 200bhp, 990ccc MotoGP engine with a life expectancy of 400 miles into a road machine. This means beefing up major engine components, including increasing the crankcase wall thickness to provide larger bearing surfaces. This, in turn, may mean re-tooling of the patterns used to cast the cases.
The three cylinder engine will also require a new bore and stroke of 89mm x 47.5mm to meet the 900cc top limit for WSB triples. The MotoGP engine currently measures 94mm x 47.5mm.
WSB machines have to be fitted with an electric starter. The GP engine has a complex starting method that involves pressurising the coolant to cope with the extremely high running temperature of the triple. This is common practice in high-revving car race engines but is not something that has been seen before in bike racing. A remote trolley starter is then used to fire the engine up.
A completely new cooling system will be also required. The original prototype was built to complete 45 minute GP races and everything has been packaged as a tight fit in the frame, with no space for additional fans neccessary for a conventional cooling system.
Despite the workload faced by Suter, both Carl Fogarty and Malaysian oil giant Petronas are insisting it’s business as usual and the FP1 racer will still race at Laguna Seca in July.
Foggy said: " This is the best of both worlds for us. We have had the best designers and now our backers Petronas have chosen the best engine developers to turn our bike into a competitive machine. "
More on this in MCN, on sale January 30, 2002