This week in Jalopnik: A Renault F1 car performs a Queen hit; Israeli scientists theorize an in-car system that produces its own fuel; Honda (and nearly every other car company) looks toward a spark-plugless future for gas engines; Hummer builds a buggy, and the F d ration Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) proposes a new aerodynamic wing for Formula One cars that would make passing easier.
Engineers from Renault's 2005 Formula One team weren't merely happy they had broken Ferrari's six-year domination of the series' Constructors Championship; let's just say they were deliriously nerdy. To celebrate the win, they put one of their V10-powered cars on a dynamometer, and programmed the engine management software to play Queen's "We Are the Champions" using the differing tones of various RPMs as notes in the scale. Luckily the aerodynamics group didn't win the coin toss, or else we'd be hearing an MP3 of "Wind Beneath My Wings."
Scientists in Israel have come up with a novel way to supply hydrogen to power fuel-cell cars. Using concepts from the chemistry of metals, they designed an in-car system that separates Hydrogen out of heated water using Magnesium and Aluminum. The system, still in the theoretical stages, will need more extensive testing and lots more money (to build a working prototype) to determine whether it can produce more energy than it would require to run.
Could it be time to short spark plugs on COMEX? Honda and other automakers are working various forms of homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines, in which ignition occurs by cylinder compression - like in a diesel engine — not spark plugs. Such engines require less fuel to run, and emit fewer fluorocarbons, but need a bag of Ruffles' worth of microchips to calculate the heat required for optimum power and adjust exhaust-valve timing to minutely compensate for changes in fuel composition, as well as engine and external temperatures. Yeah, we're talking about a ways off for these suckers.
Sun-worshiping fans of squarish SUVs may soon have something to trade in their Jeep Wranglers for. Hummer is reportedly working up a two-door ragtop, possibly called the H4, that could hit the market by 2008.
The governing body of Formula One Racing has proposed a new aerodynamic wing for F1 cars that would make passing maneuvers easier and more plentiful during races. As it turns out, 94% of viewers want to see more overtaking of cars, and less of the F1's typical follow-the-leader runs. Of course, the new wing would would allow for far less ad space, but we're figuring advertisers would rather have more viewers than more places to slap their logo. Just a thought.
[Jalopnik's The Week in Cars appears every Thursday]