Torque and BHP ?

THOR Racing offer full re-mapping of aftermarket ECU's for improved torque and power output, all tuned on a direct coupled 1600BHP Chassis Dynamometer.




Torque is the power of a rotating force, which is the product of one of two equal, opposite, and parallel offset forces and the distance between them. When this is applied to a car this means the effort exerted on a shaft to move the vehicle along. When torque is great enough to move a shaft through a given distance in a given time this is expressed as power and measured as horsepower.

OK, if you have a centre nut on one of your wheels and then put a socket on it with a 1ft bar. The car will be at rest until you put a weight on the end of the bar to try and turn the wheel. So if you now put 50lb on the end of that 1ft bar and the car moves, the force that has moved that car from a standstill, at that speed, is 50 lb ft. So if the engine of that car produced the same amount of twisting force at its peak it would have been said to have a Torque of 50lb ft.

Now if you take that theory one step further and double the weight on the end of the bar and let go, the wheel would rotate again, only this time because the amount of force pushing the bar down was greater, the wheel would move off quicker and with more ease. Apply this once again to the engine producing the force and it would have been said to have a Torque of 100lb ft.

So you can see the more Torque you have the quicker the wheel would move off from stationary.

This is all fine and good on a light car as it means my 0-62 time will be decreased?
Yes the theory does indeed point to that, however do bear in mind that if a car produces 100 lb ft of torque and your car does 0-62 in 10 seconds, it is NOT going to do 0-62 in 5 seconds if you give it 200 lb ft of torque due to the inefficiencies of the engine, transmission etc, but it will be significantly reduced.

What about overtaking?
The same theory applies to overtaking. The more force you can use to make the wheels go from say 50mph to 70mph the less time it will take to get there.

Why is torque important if I tow a caravan etc?
The more torque you have the more weight you can move forward from a standstill. Or in other words if the wheel you are trying to turn is stiffer it may not turn at al with 50 lb ft - it requires more force to turn it. Therefore if you increase the force by 50lb and the wheel turns then need 100 lb ft torque to move it. Apply that to a car with a trailer, you require more force to propel that whole unit (car and trailer) forward than you would with just the car. So once again with more torque you can move your car and trailer off from a standstill quicker and with less effort than you could before.

What about wheel spin?
With more torque available the quicker you can move the wheels from stationary. When this happens the wheels can spin before the vehicle has chance to move and you of course waste energy and move off slower. Therefore you need to alter your driving accordingly if the torque has been increased.

OK before I nod off, how is torque calculated?
The theory is that torque has nothing to do with engine speed (revolutions per minute (RPM)). The torque figures depend on the mean effective pressure in the cylinders (MEP), which is calculated by taking away the total of the average pressures on the induction, compression and exhaust strokes from the average pressure on the expansion strokes. That's the theory.....

In reality the MEP of an engine, decreases at high speed and the torque drops off. So the MEP is calculated from the Brake Horse Power (BHP) figures for an the engine, taking into account the inefficiency of the engine, so now the MEP becomes the Brake Mean Effective Pressure or BMEP, which is measured in lb in sq!


What is "Horsepower" or HP?
Lets start at the dawn of time - or at least the beginning of mechanical devices. Any "engine" was obviously going to be compared to the ability of the then main power sources to do labour - horses, men and oxen. As most of the devices were used drive industrial equipment the natural comparison was therefore the 2/1 Favourite at Ascot. So, even the pioneers of the time realised that marketing of the new fangled machin'rey was important so they likened the power of their devices to a certain number of horses.

Moving on from this early start, a famous engineer called Captain Thomas Savoury reasoned that if it took eight to ten horses to operate a mine pump 24 hours a day (two horse working at a time with the next pair taking over when the last two became tired), then a mechanical device that did the same job in the same time had 10 - 12 hp! You can move on through history with this through the likes of James Watt but this isn't a history lesson!

So what is "brake" Horsepower or BHP
Well simply this is power that has been measured on a brake or normally known now as a Dynamometer. This device provides a load for the engine to "drive" against and then measures the torque produced by the engine, which if it is then multiplied this by crankshaft revolutions per minute and adjusted with the standard figure, it provides a horsepower figure.

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