So You Want To Build Racing Motorcycles For A Living? FTR Are Hiring

If you've ever wanted to work on the technical side of motorcycle racing, now is your chance. FTR, the engineering company producing the FTR M211 Moto2 chassis, and reportedly building the aluminium chassis being raced by Valentino Rossi on the Ducati - though both Ducati and FTR continue to officially deny it - are looking to take on more people to help with their operation.

Based in Buckingham, a small but rather charming English county town, at one end of the UK's so-called F1 Valley, which stretches from there all the way up past Northampton, FTR have built a reputation for outstanding engineering and manufacturing. FTR have been involved in motorcycle racing at various levels, manufacturing parts for MotoGP teams and manufacturers, as well as teams in bot the World Superbike and British Superbike championships. On the visits I have paid to FTR's factory, I have always been struck by the passion for racing on display at every level of the company, and the dedication, humor and wit with which they go about their jobs.

And now you, too, can be part of the process of building the fastest motorcycles in the world. According to their website, FTR are looking to hire people in several key positions. If you are an experienced welder, or an outstanding project manager, or spent years in purchasing, and are utterly passionate about motorcycle racing, this is your chance.

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a statistician? :-D

Re ECU programming: if you want to, there is a relatively easy place to start. Buy a microsquirt (about £300, use google). It comes with open source code written in C. It's pretty terrible code, which I eventually threw away. The compiler is free, from Freescale (ex motorola). It's full of bugs, but it's usable.

The hardware can drive 2 independent coils and two injectors: enough for a twin or a (non-cross-plane) inline 4. It took me about 6 months spare time to go from no micro-processor coding experience (interrupt programming is... different) to have a perfectly running SV650 with Ducati throttle bodies, lambda-probe self-tuning, altitude and temperature compensation, mappable ignition and fuel and quick shift. I learnt a lot. If you want to go the next step and start coding traction control, you'll need better hardware, but you'll need to get the basics done first anyway.

Probably best to email me, same username at gmail.

The stock software will do it, but the maps are limited to 12x12 and it has no facility for a tip-over switch or quick shift (and the developers had no interest in adding them, and the supplied code will not compile on the current version of the compiler!). It is also heavily oriented to car-style mapping based on rpm and manifold vacuum, with a hack to make it work with throttle position + rpm inputs. It also has independent ignition maps for each cylinder.

There is a variant version for Ducati that I didn't manage to track down, don't know what features it has.

Or I'm happy to send you my code, which happens to be for a 90° twin.
Probably some code changes would be needed to work with the Ducati ignition pick up: SV gen 2 uses a 24-2 tooth trigger. It has independent 16x16 fuel maps, but only a single 8x8 ignition map.

I included code for a cam position sensor in case I decided to go for sequential injection, but so far it isn't tested (SV doesn't have one). There is only one lambda probe input, but you can switch it to modify front, back or both maps. So you use it to set both cylinders initially, then mount it in a primary to fine tune each cylinder individually.

One nice thing is that all the Marelli connectors are readily available, which is not the case for the Japanese stuff (anyone with a source for Nippon Denso temp & pressure sensor plugs?)

You might want to take a look at a Motec unit. They're not much more expensive than a Microsquirt, and are probably even more programmable.

Last time I looked, they were about 6 times more expensive even for the "clubman" option. A Microsquirt has 7 analog to digitals, another 8 time-gated ports to share between inputs and outputs, and a couple of serial ports.

If you go for an M800 and expand it via their dash, you can get up around 50-60 sensor inputs. Look up Thorsten Durbahn's site for what is possible with all that. Obviously not in the same league. They also come with better thought out software. A system in that spec will run you around 20k €, otoh.

However, if you don't mind getting down and dirty with code, to the level of dealing with propagation delays from the crank pick-up and predicting crank speed variation, there is no limit to what you can program in a microsquirt in terms of running the motor. You're programming in C, it's a universal computing machine, the only limits are speed, memory, and ports. Unfortunately those limitations will stop you running TC or fly-by-wire.

When I was looking into this first I didn't know about microsquirt - was about 10 years ago. I wanted to be able to play with the ignition maps on my RS250, and there wasn't anything available except buying a special RGV250 CDI controller box, which still wasn't tweakable. I figured I'd have to build something PIC based to handle the time-critical stuff, which was mostly beyond my ken. I'd have had to try rope a knowledgeable friend in to design some hardware. Anyway, I didn't really have the money to buy the parts I'd need or take the risks of damaging my bike during development and having to pay for overhauls - 2-strokes can be expensively sensitive to mistakes with fuelling and ignition. I learned about microsquirt a few years later, but it still seemed a bit rough and I think my interest had passed.

Really really cool that you're running on your own software on your bike. Well done! ;)

for all the self-proclaimed chassis experts that flourished around the web lately to test their skills and show Preziosi how it's done, isn't it?

If you apply for a job as a welder or purchasing officer, but announce you have some ideas about how they should improve their designs... ? lol

Frenchie, absolutely wonderful! I am so sick and tired of all the BS from guys who figure they know more than all the brains at Ducati. The simpletons who have all the answers but cannot even spell or string a coherent sentence together.
Cheers mate!

It'll be the first and only time I ever say it, I wish I lived in England instead of NYC...

Oh, and an Engineering degree over my Architecture degree would've been a smart move 20 years ago!