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« USF1 Electrical Systems | Main | Pechito's Comments Leak Test Schedule - by Flood1 »

January 26, 2010


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A technical newbie here. Can you explain a transverse gearbox. Advantages, alternatives.


In a longitudinal gearbox the shaft runs lengthways just like the crankshaft in the engine. This is typical of what you have in a rear wheel drive road car.

In transverse the shaft is turned sideways like the rear axle and is 90 degrees to the crankshaft in the engine. This is not common in road cars. It has been used in race cars many times.

The advantage is that it is shorter than the other gearbox and can allow the engine to be moved further back. This may be useful in adjusting the balance of the car. i.e. getting the weight where you need it to enhance handling.

The 2010 rules do not allow pit stops for fuel. You have to run the entire race distance with what you start with. The tank must be between the driver and engine. So, this means making the car longer and moving the driver forward.

Having a shorter gearbox may help in solving some of the weight distribution probs associated with the extra fuel.

Or may not, I don't really know. But, from the pics it looks like USF1 has a transverse gearbox.

Large Eddie

Third try at posting this... Do comments with too many links get rejected as spam or something? I'll break it into several postings.

Transaxle castings from Ken Anderson's Falcon IRL car:

Large Eddie

This part of the comment keeps getting eaten.

Go here and look at the second photo to see the same part after machining:

It's a sale listing (still for sale, and don't think I'm not tempted, but no way could I do anything with it) for an unfinished Falcon IRL chassis and other pieces.

Large Eddie

This one's getting munched too. One more try...

These two pages have the best pictures I've seen of the insides of a transverse 'box, with some good explanatory text too:

I think it helps to keep thinking about where the front of the car would be while looking at each photo.


Eddie, I don't know why your posts were being eaten, but thanks for your determination to get your links on.

I see the similarities between the Falcon parts and the new parts on the USF1 car. I am convinced that it is tranverse, but I can't claim be be an expert. But my gut tells me it is.

The one thing that is missing is the removable hatch that allows one to remove the gear cluster without removing the case from the engine. There is no removable side plate in the vid pic. Perhaps it is on the other side. Or, is it usually on both sides? I do not know.

Also missing are the suspension attachment points, but I don't have an understanding of those either. The Xtrac pic shows a bunch of threaded holes for the attachment of something.

Perhaps the pic is just showing a development case and is being used for dimensional analysis with further detailed developments to follow.

Large Eddie

I notice that those three Falcon pics I linked to were also posted on the Autosport bulletin board shortly afterword. Quite a coincidence, isn't it? :-)

A response on that board said: "That's just the bellhousing. The IRL cars use this spec longitudinal Xtrac box that bolts up to the end of that:"

I don't believe that--as stated on that other BBS--I claimed the Falcon had a transverse box, although I did sorta suppose it might have been. I did call it a "transaxle castings," and I see now that I should have taken the photo URL more literally.

Flood1, good point about not seeing any bearing bosses or access covers anywhere.

More pieces to the puzzle...

Large Eddie

Racecar Engineering doubles down on the story, reporting on their website without reservation that: "Formula 1's only North American team has opted to use a tranverse gearbox in its Type 1 Grand Prix car. The transmission which is being built in house with the collaboration of local specialists EMCO, was selected for reasons of packaging and is unique in modern F1."

They say they'll have more details on the car in their March issue, which given magazine timetables should be at the printers by now. They must have a lot of info on non-disclosure. But you can't put it much more plainly than that and they seem big enough to not make a claim like that on just rumors.


I get Racecar Engineering electronicaly in an e-version. It usually shows up on about the 7th of the month, IIRC. I can't access that account from my computer at the college, so I'll have to wait till I get home to confirm the dates.

I teach a motor controls class two nights a week so I'll be here late. Thanks for the info.

Intake Systems

It seems that lot of reader are interested with your blog. It is really a learning and entertaining to read on. Car performance on the road is really a significant factor to have a great ride.

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