Tech Tuesday: Rotax Max EVO – 10 Things You Need To Know

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1. Why has the EVO been introduced? 

The MAX range of ROTAX engines has remained largely unchanged for the past fifteen years. This is the first time in the history of karting that a single engine model or type has continued to be successful and grow on the market to become the World leader. After this period of time the technology in production has improved to the point where latest electronics and mechanical design can be introduced without de-stabilising the existing product in use today. In short, the Rotax Max EVO engine is the natural progression of an already successful theme, to enhance and protect the market for the forthcoming years.

Reubens Barrichello at the wheel of a Rotax Evo

2. What are the changes to performance and power? 

The EVO engine remains fundamentally unchanged internally, the crankshaft has improved tolerances in the area of the main bearing and oil seal journals. This means that all new products from the factory will have an end float on the crank when delivered, the oil seals will also be free running. This should reduce the need for pre-race preparation and therefore significantly reduce the price of the new engine to the end user. There is no difference in performance between the EVO engine and a current race-prepared unit. The Piston skirt has a slightly different taper, this allows quicker running-in and reduced wear in use. Again, this should lengthen piston life and be less costly for the end user. The Con-rod has been altered slightly, the big end has been strengthened and now has two lubricating slots. The external component changes include ignition system and carburettor.

3. What do the dyno charts look like? 

At the time of writing, there are no official Dyno charts available. In simple terms the ease of use shows through there is no specific gain in maximum horsepower. The mis-understood press release from the factory where gains in performance were reported, is as a result of BRP-ROTAX redefining their testing procedure and having improved Dyno technology for more consistent results. If anything, the Dyno charts for the Rotax Max EVO engine offer a smoother power curve which is less affected by changing meteorological conditions.

EVO DD2’s Lined up for the 2015 RMGC

4. Will the engine be more reliable?

The detail changes inside the engine will all enhance reliability. The BRP-ROTAX warranty scheme is in place in order for the factory to closely monitor any recurring faults in the engine or its ancillaries. The Rotax Max is the most reliable kart engine that the sport has ever known, this is due in no small part to the engines built in component strength and the warranty scheme. The new Piston, Con-rod and refined crankshaft tolerances will all enhance component life and reliability.

5. Will the EVO engine be eligible for MSA competition? 

Yes, but the question is when? The MSA are helping to arrive at the best possible solution for the introduction of the EVO specification. The good news is that there will be a number of offers in place to help the end user financially. There is no reason why the internal components cannot be installed as soon as they become available. The Piston is effectively the same, the crankshaft is the same component as before with improved tolerances. The con-rod is the only question mark as it is clearly not the same as the outgoing component.

The fact that the Rod does not affect performance but does improve reliability should help its introduction. All external accessories will be available complete with new engines throughout 2015 and as a subsidised upgrade kit to be used with existing engines from January 1st 2016.

Note: New spec engines do not improve driver talent

6. How much will it cost to upgrade? 

The engine unit will not need to be upgraded until it is due for a service, then the new replacement components may be fitted as standard parts. There is no specific price increase for these parts over existing components. Upgrade kits of external parts will depend on which class. MiniMax is expected to stay exactly as it is for the foreseeable future. Junior upgrades will include Carburettor, Ignition, wiring loom and Exhaust. Seniors will include all the junior parts plus the electronic power valve and its associated components. We believe that these will be at a very low introductory price of up to 50% discount.

7. Will servicing costs increase? 

Definitely not. All new component prices will match their predecessors or be subject to introductory offers that could reduce servicing costs. New components are expected to have a significantly longer service life, thereby reducing running costs to the end user.

8. Can I convert my current MAX to a Rotax Max EVO? 

Yes. The engine unit itself will not require upgrading, the new internal components may be fitted as and when the engine is due for service. There will be upgrade kits available to convert existing engine accessories to the new specification. These are expected to be available soon, but will not be in use in the UK for MSA racing until 2016. Click here to ensure you get the right Rotax Max jetting.

Maintainence is no more difficult on EVO

9. Can I buy individual parts to fit to my MAX?

Yes all components will be available as individual spare parts. It is not yet decided whether the EVO must be used as a complete set of accessories or if it will be acceptable to use some of the upgrade parts and not others. There will be plenty of time to test and decide on this before the official introduction of the accessories for MSA racing in 2016.

10. Summing up

1 The EVO engine is not being introduced to step up performance.

2 The EVO internal parts are introduced to improve reliability & component life.

3 The EVO accessories will not be eligible in MSA racing until 2016 to help class stability.

4 EVO engine accessories will not be more expensive
than current components.

Written by George Robinson


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