In this video, we get to see a clutch from a Land Rover Defender and one from a Formula 1 car – they’re remarkably different. Let’s take a look at how they both work and explain why on earth this Formula 1 clutch costs £6000 – over 20 times more than the one from the Defender.
So let’s start with the road car version because it’s easier to explain the main function of a clutch. It’s there to disconnect the engine from the driven wheels, and you need to do this every time you start and stop a car, as well as when you change gear in a manual car.
This is because internal combustion engines need to keep turning to keep running, even when the car is stopped and the wheels aren’t turning. Clutches also serve another purpose though, they’re there so you can pull away smoothly.
Without being able to smoothly deliver power as you gradually lift the clutch pedal, the car would either stall when you jammed it into gear, or lurch forward suddenly – the clutch enables you to gradually bring the gearbox speed up to the engine speed – and the same the other way when you’re going down the gearbox.
— see video above —
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