I spent most of my day on another project that I am heavily involved with -- the Cooper Union Formula SAE race car. FSAE is an international competition in which collegiate teams build race cars practically from scratch with an eye to smart engineering and economical development. I am the engine tuner, wiring guy, and jack of all trades on the team. The current car has been nearly three years in the works (unfortunately) but we've been testing it since the beginning of this year. It's been a crazy experience and I've learned a tremendous amount from it.
The engine we use is from a Suzuki GSXR 600, a Japanese sports bike that redlines at 14k RPM. The competition rules stipulate a 20 mm intake restriction to choke the engine power, but we still produce about 65 HP brake torque, and there are (bigger and more resourceful) teams that get almost 100 HP out of the thing. I learned a lot from working on the engine -- electronics and sensor wiring in an environment with high EM interference, reliable wiring techniques, and all the fine details of tuning a modern EFI engine. I also appreciate how insanely complicated these engines are -- I have immense respect for the engineers that designed the thing.
We're taking the car out for track testing and driver training this weekend. Hopefully we don't suffer any major breakdowns or setbacks -- if we manage to break in and debug the whole car by the competition date on May 8th we'll be in great shape. I'll try to take some pictures this weekend, but it's hard to capture how excited I am about it.