It's All About The Data.

What can the telemetry system on the BMW S 1000 RR superbike tell us about racing at the ultra-fast North West 200?

The North West 200 is one of the fastest races held anywhere in the world where 200mph slipstreaming is just a part of the racing and the BMW S 1000 RR has just enjoyed a hugely successful weekend of races at the 2017 event. We sat down with Tyco BMW’s Technical Support expert Stewart Johnstone to run through a full lap of the event using the data collected by the highly-sophisticated telemetry system on the Superstock version ridden by 21 times North West 200 winner Alastair Seeley.

Capturing The Data

Capturing The Data

The data was all taken from a lap that took place during the Superstock race held on Thursday, 11 May as Seeley set a new lap record of 4mins.22.755secs. The information recorded by the BMW S 1000 RR revealed there are 30 upshifts and 29 downshifts of the gearbox each lap. Peak speed was recorded at 202mph on the long run down to University corner with the slowest speed of just 27.9mph recorded at York corner.

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Varying Wheel Speeds

Varying Wheel Speeds

The biggest difference is wheel speeds between the front and rear wheels was 11.18mph where the rear wheel was spinning that much faster than the front on the long straight before University Corner. This is caused by the slip generated by the fact the bike is at full throttle and the road is bumpy which allows the rear wheel to spin. This translates to the front wheel speed of 202mph and the rear at 213.18mph.

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Gearing of the S 1000 RR

Gearing of the S 1000 RR

The team works hard on the gearing of the S 1000 RR and always leaves enough spare revs at the top of the rev range so in sixth gear the bike can still accelerate when slipstreaming other bikes. If there are no spare revs left within the gearing the bike will enter the slipstream of the bikes in front and then as the wind resistance is reduced by the hole being cut through the air of the bike in front, the revs will rise and the bike will be left running against the rev limiter and will then stop accelerating.

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Jaw-Dropping Facts from the North West 200
  • Furthest lean angle recorded was 51 degrees to the left through Metropole Corner
  • 100% throttle application for 30 seconds between York Corner and into the Black Bridge Section. This is broken down into an eight second burst before Seeley rolls off the throttle a little for Station Corner and there is then another 22 seconds of 100% throttle before hard braking into University Corner begins.
  • The rear wheel rotates through a total of 14,138 metres each lap.
  • Top speed of the S 1000 RR rises from 197 mph when running on its own to 203 mph when slipstreaming other bikes.
  • Rev spike of 1,500 rpm over a bump as the bike's rear wheel temporarily leaves the ground.
  • 260kg of force transferred into the front tyre under maximum braking.
  • Average mpg for the S 1000 RR around the North West 200 is 13.59mpg- not bad considering the maintained high speed around the circuit. 
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