Running a stick shift car at the drag strip is a total blast, and for many, there’s simply no other way to do it. Selecting a quality flywheel will help make every pass not only more fun, but it’s also a great way to unlock more horsepower in your driveline.
Fidanza’s Matt Polena explained the differences between lightweight steel flywheels, aluminum flywheels, and what situations they work best in racing.
All flywheels aren’t created equal so it’s important to do your research so you know which is going to work best for your specific application, as Polena shares. A lightweight steel flywheel is going to be lighter than OEM, but heavier than aluminum, can be resurfaced at least once, and will allow for enhanced airflow for improved clutch cooling. The aluminum flywheel is going to be 40-50 percent lighter than the stock unit, have a replaceable ring gear, and has a replaceable friction plate.
Polena goes into some detail on when the steel flywheel is a good choice for your car.
“A steel flywheel is good for drag racing and daily driving because they handle quite a bit of abuse, and the additional weight compared to aluminum will help get a car off the line. Heavy cars with lower power can benefit from some additional rotational mass to help propel the car while shifting. Also, a heavier flywheel such as lightweight steel will not allow RPM to drop as quickly between shifts compared to an aluminum flywheel.”
The aluminum flywheel comes into play for racers as the best choice under a different set of circumstances. “Racers with forced induction will see benefits of a lightweight flywheel very easily. A lighter flywheel will reduce turbo lag and increase the efficiency of a supercharger due to less drag on the crank. Naturally-aspirated racers will also see a benefit as the flywheel is easier to turn, and they will see an increase in mid-range torque,” Polena says.
When it comes to selecting your flywheel, Polena has this last bit of advice you may want to consider. “Lightweight flywheels will also reduce the amount of energy spent by the engine to move other components, in turn improving a vehicle’s horsepower and torque. That being said, the lighter the flywheel the larger the reduction of parasitic loss and an increase in available horsepower and torque.”
You can learn more about flywheels and how they can help your car on the street or track right here on Fidanza’s website.