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Listen to Renault’s 1.6-litre turbo F1 engine in action

Ever wondered what F1’s new 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines will sound like? Listen to the sound clip of Renault’s new unit here.

F1 will soon say goodbye to the long-serving 2.4-litre V8 engines that have powered the grid since 2006. As of 2014, the world’s fastest race cars will be propelled by 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines linked to hybrid-style energy recovery systems, but what will these units sound like?

F1's new 1.6-litre turbo engines sound like farts and broken dreams.
F1’s new 1.6-litre turbo engines sound like farts and broken dreams.

Many have speculated they’ll sound awful in comparison to the current V8s, but Renault, one of the suppliers of these engines, insists the new units will deliver all the aural delights F1 fans crave. To prove the point, it’s released a recording of the sounds of the new V6 turbo power unit as it accelerates through the gears.

To us, the recording is pretty inconclusive. Renault says the engines are ‘pretty loud’, which is completely believable, but the noise is a world away from the screaming, high-pitched, ear-shattering, almost trumpet-like wail of the V8. Think ‘highly amplified fart’ and you won’t be far wide of the mark.

‘‘The sound of the engine is the sum of three principal components, exhaust, intake and mechanical noise,” Renault said via its Web site. “On fired engines, exhaust noise dominates, but the other two sources are not trivial and would be loud if the exhaust noise was suppressed and contribute to the perceived sound of the engines in the car.”

“All three sources are still present on the V6. At the outset, there is more energy in each combustion event but there are fewer cylinders turning at lower speed and both intake and exhaust noise are attenuated by the turbo. Overall, the sound pressure level (so the perceived volume) is lower and the nature of the sound reflects the new architecture.

“The car will still accelerate and decelerate rapidly, with instant gearshifts. The engines remain high revving, ultra high output competition engines. Fundamentally the engine noise will still be loud. It will wake you from sleep, and circuit neighbours will still complain. The engine noise is just a turbocharged noise rather than a normally aspirated noise : you can just hear the turbo when the driver lifts off the throttle and the engine speed drops.

“I am sure some people will be nostalgic for the sound of engines from previous eras, including the preceding V8, but the sound of the new generation Power Units is just different. It’s like asking whether you like Motorhead or AC/DC. Ultimately it is a matter of personal taste. Both in concert are still pretty loud.’’

Have a listen for yourself by visiting Renault’s Web site and let us know what you think of the new sound.

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