We then got to work adding all the electronics and hardware that we would be testing and developing throughout 2013, ready for sale for the following season. We took the already proven MBE9A9 ECU that we have used on Mark Smith’s Reynard and Trevor Willis’ British Hillclimb Championship winning car and started to add even more features, the most interesting of which is fly-by-wire. Although MBE have been using fly-by-wire (or EGAS) for many years in their production and pre-production ECUs, we now felt it was the right time to develop this for the aftermarket. We have spent the past year with Jenvey Dynamics fine-tuning their prototype motor unit, which will be ready as production items for the beginning of this season.
In motorsport we use fly-by-wire for different reasons to why they are used on road cars. Production car ECUs use fly-by-wire to take some of the control away from the driver, usually slowing the throttle down to control emissions whereas in motorsport we are looking to achieve the fastest throttle response and peak torque at any point in the rpm range. With fly-by-wire we can limit the amount of throttle opening if this produces better peak power than full throttle, we can slow the throttle down if this produces better throttle response, thereby making an engine that is normally not the nicest to drive into a more driveable engine.
As the year goes on we will integrate the software into our launch and traction control system, which will allow the user to control the amount of power required during starts to achieve optimal starts and reduce the loads on the transmission, which as we all know can be very expensive when they break. Steve Owen has also made me some special wings for the sprints, since the downforce he was achieving with his latest wing designs were becoming so high that even Trevor Willis commented that he had more than enough and was occasionally backing his wings off. The wings that Steve has produced for our use have reduced downforce, which is more suitable for the sprints.