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TaeguTec News

Australia Motorsport-TOP-1

For the Love of the Sport

The Technology behind the latest generation V8 Supercars in Australia has grown in leaps and bounds since the concept took shape in the early 1960s.

Consider the practical challenge of taking a road going four-door sedan and transforming it into a car not for the faint of the heart; the end result is the V8 Supercar one sees on the tracks today.

A quick review of the engine and drivetrain demonstrates the stringent requirements – all cars must be front engine with a rear-wheel drive system. Only 5.0 liter V8 engines with electronic fuel injection producing 620-650 horsepower are considered. All engines are electronically limited to 7500 RPM with a compression ratio of 10:1.

Power to the rear wheels is done via a six-speed sequential transaxle with an integrated spool differential whilst the individual gears ratios and final drive ratio are fixed with drop gears at the front of the transaxle.

This doesn’t even include the specification for brakes, suspension, wheels and tires. Literally, any team racing V8 Supercars is building from the ground up.


Building the Behemoth

Australia Motorsport-Bathurst_1000_2005_3-1

Pirtek Racing leads the pack in 2005 Super Cheap Auto 1000 in Bathurst, NSW.
                     Benchill / WikiCommons

Building a V8 Supercar is what Jeff Stewart, a TaeguTec sales engineer with much V8 motorsport experience describes as “a full time job and a half.”

Thousands of components go into its construction from a simple part like a ferrule to something complex as a front upright.

Either way, a modern day Supercar is built from the ground up which includes meters of chrome-moly tubes attached to a steel chassis, panels made from composites and bonnets made from steel.

This means that the metal and metal alloys used in the production of these power-plants must be specific and, in that case, only the best will do because the slightest flaw could end in a disaster for the driver, the car or both. Generally, the parts used in the production of these monsters of the race circuit are made from a range of materials such as 7,000/aircraft grade aluminum; 1020 (AS1442-1992 1022), 4140 (AS1444-1996 4140) and 4340 (AS1444-1996 4340) steel grades; 316 stainless steel and various composites.

Because of the varying grades of alloys and kinds of materials, a motor sport shop has to be on par with shops that have the ability to meet ISO 9001 standards practiced in the aerospace industry.

Australia Motorsport-Pedders_safety_car_on_track-1

Safety car on track during the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series for the Coates Hire Ipswich 300.

Nothing is wasted, if the component does not have the correct surface finish or the right tolerance it has to be scrapped. To complicate matters even more, time and money are always of the essence while quality standards are stringent.

One unnamed machinist in a shop using TaeguTec product lines pointed out that “when you’re building a race car, you are in search of stiffness and minimum weight. The stiffness will result in the car reacting to a change in set-up.” The importance of lightness allows the team to place weight where needed bringing the car to minimum weight.

Cutting tool suppliers such as TaeguTec offer comprehensive cutting tool solutions that make the metal shaping of these components simple and fast, which helps the motorsport machine shops meet the tight cycle time demanded by the sport.



MillRush High-speed Video
(Click For More MillRush Videos)

Mr. Stewart recounted the impressions of a V8 Supercar machine shop that was introduced to the MillRush range of cutters using the three cutting edge 3PKT insert. “What impressed the shop most was the tool’s versatility and how fast the operation was when machining aluminum components.”

The 3PKT is characterized by a thick, unique geometry and high super rake angle that generates a low cutting force. More precisely, the shop was impressed by the low cutting force because most of their machining was not conventional production work.

“In certain applications it was necessary to hold back the cutting by 5mm but still required a very fine finish – this is a tricky thing to do,” Mr. Stewart explained. 

For difficult-to-cut materials such as aluminum, race car shops machine their parts using a low cutting force at high speeds.

“Lastly, the insert wiper gave the proper quality surface finish that was required for the component. In this case, the 3PKT inserts fit the bill nicely,” he said.

A further benefit was the opportunity to test the 3PKT on 316 stainless steel where tool life and productivity increased by 60 percent.


3PKT 190608R-ML-MID SM-1

3PKT 150508R-M TT7080-MID SM-2

3PKT 100408R-ML-MID SM-1

3PKT 150508R-ML-MID SM-1

3PKT 190608R-M TT7080-MID SM-1


150508R-M TT7080



190608R-M TT7080


“Put simply, the MillRush line demonstrated outstanding performance and that was how they became a repeat customer,” he said.

Mr. Stewart’s own experience machining V8 Supercars also illustrates where other TaeguTec product lines are the optimal solution.

“Consider front and rear spindles made from 4130 (708 A 25) billets, if I had known about the TurnRush range for semi-heavy machining with double-sided inserts before hand, much time could’ve been saved on certain operations requiring a lot of material removal,” he said.

The HB chip breaker’s optimized configuration enabled stable performance but its best feature was the increased clamping force due to its hook lever design.


Related Videos


TurnRush High-speed Video
(Click For More TurnRush Videos)


AluMill Product Video
(Click For More AluMill Videos)

“The billet, when set up in the fixture, is a 300mm blank with an uneven black scale skin surface,” Mr. Stewart said. “Ideally, a machinist would want to get under the skin on the very first cut.”

The TurnRush line performs best on operations that use finished spindles, with its advantage being its capability to rough turn blanks quickly which sped up the heat treatment time required prior to the finishing stage.

Another application that he found a chore was radius milling using solid carbide cutting tools. The associated chatter not only produced waste but it was also causing complaints on the shop floor. He switched to TaeguTec’s AluMill which handled radius cuts smoothly and at very high speeds, minus the chatter.

The end mill’s unique cutting edge wave, variable helix and unequal spacing of cutting edges “really reduced the chattering while generating a lower cutting load,” he said.

Furthermore, the end mill’s wide gash design and improved chip evacuation due to its polished flutes increased productivity. Not only did the AluMill Wave reduce chatter, but the cycle time of machining components proved to be a time-saver and a morale booster on the shop floor.


A Challenge for Machine Shop


This past November, V8 Supercar governing body initiated new regulations aimed at keeping the circuit competitive. For starters, owners are now required to reduce the cost of building a V8 prototype from the approximate $450,000 (AUS) to $250,000 (AUS) for the entire car. More importantly, cut the cost of building a completely new V8 engine down from $175,000 (AUS) to $100,000 (AUS).

This new initiative caused some concerns for race car shops. For starters, the day-to-day costs of machining Grade-A materials are capital intensive.

Ironically, these changes have not had a negative impact on the machine shops that use TaeguTec’s high productivity and economical cutting tool solutions like the MillRush line with its 3PKT inserts.

It is a win-win scenario for both the V8SC and shop owners: the organization now has leveled the playing field and race team owners’ bottom line is not impacted by the recent changes that govern production. 


TaeguTec Serving the V8 Supercar Community


“Most teams build 90 percent of their cars in house, employing a minimum of 30 people,” said Mr. Stewart. “For them, it means long unnoticed hours … were it not for these machine shops and fabrication shops, the engineering miracle that is the V8 Supercar would not be possible.”

Demonstrating the capabilities of the TaeguTec product line of cutting tool solutions makes the job of the machinists easier.

“The best way to serve the community is to show what TaeguTec tools can do,” said Mr. Stewart.

When asked why people work in a pressure filled environment such as V8 Supercar racing Mr. Stewart  reflected on his own experience and stated, “We love it, that’s why we do it.”


This article appeared in the February 2014 edition of
“Australian Manufacturing Technology”

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