Curtiss-Wright Gear Position Sensors Selected for the World’s Only Single-Seater Road Car

By DA Staff / 11 Sep 2014

BAC MONO Sports Car

Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Industrial division is supplying customized position sensors to Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) for use on the company’s central-seat Mono road car. Featuring a special connector cable and unique configured output range to match the specific shaft position, the contactless rotary position sensor installed on BAC’s Mono is a customized version of the standard Penny & Giles SRH280P model.

Commenting for Curtiss-Wright, Senior Vice President & General Manager of the Industrial division, Kevin Rayment says: “The Industrial division has more than 50 years experience in providing control and feedback solutions for numerous applications and we’re no newcomer to high-octane and motorsport applications where custom sensors are often specified.”

Thanks to the experience gained from its aerospace businesses – where reliability under extreme and hostile conditions is paramount – Curtiss-Wright’s sensors have become a benchmark for motorsport applications and are used in numerous race series including the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Formula One (F1) and Formula Student. In fact, from the moment a leading F1 team adopted a custom-engineered Penny & Giles sensor as part of its revolutionary active suspension system, to today’s unique Hall-effect position sensors, we can proudly boast to have been the first position sensor manufacturer to enter motorsport and have supplied every F1 championship winning team since 1986.

“With a performance to match today’s Formula racing cars, the single-seat Mono required an equivalent level of intuitive direct control, so BAC designers and engineers specified components that were themselves designed and engineered for the racetrack,” says Mr. Rayment.

With motorsport very much in mind during its evolution, Mono was the vision of BAC design director Ian Briggs. However, he also wanted the car to feel at home as much on country lanes as it does on the race track. Mr. Briggs noted, “I wanted Mono to be high tech and totally fresh in its approach.  A car for people who want to feel a connection, and be really involved in the character of the car they drive. It had to be a car people would be consistently excited by, and would experience pride in owning. In short, Mono is a totally immersive experience, from start to finish.”

Operated via steering wheel-mounted paddles, Mono uses an F3-specification, six-speed sequential Hewland gearbox with an electronic/pneumatic semi-automatic, closed-loop gear selection system that delivers paddle-shift changes in 35 milliseconds. This is coupled to a 2.3 litre, 285bhp four-cylinder Cosworth engine enabling the Mono to achieve a 0-60mph time of less than three seconds.

The closed-loop control system on Mono uses a gearbox control unit (GCU) with inputs from a Penny & Giles gear position sensor to alter its own operation in real-time. During gear changes, the closed-loop system monitors the gear position sensor to determine the angular position of the gearbox selector barrel. Information from this is then relayed to the GCU to ensure use of the throttle blip, torque reduction or pneumatic actuator where necessary, to effect consistently quick and reliable gearshifts.

As BAC co-founder and technical director Neill Briggs explains, when a gear position sensor was required for the Mono’s gearbox, specifying Penny & Giles was the obvious choice. “Used to relay gear position feedback to the GCU, sensors were vital during BAC’s development of Mono and are as vital under normal and track day driving conditions in informing the driver of the car’s current gear. We therefore needed a sensor that was dependable, reliable and met our exacting requirements for Mono, so we called Penny & Giles.”

Standard Penny & Giles SRH280P rotary position sensors use a factory-programmable, non-contact Hall-effect sensor system to provide reliable and accurate rotary position measurement in extreme motorsport and industrial environments where shock and vibration can occur. Additional key features include single or dual output channels; total sensor measurement range from 0-20° to 0-360°; low noise level (1mVrms) on output signal; crush-proof mounting flange with steel inserts; and rapid availability.

Using the popular 38mm flanged housing and with an environmental protection rating to IP68, the sensors operate from either 5Vdc regulated or 9-30Vdc unregulated power supplies and are available with analog (0.5 – 4.5Vdc and 0.1 – 4.9Vdc) or digital (PWM) output signals. The sensor is factory programmable – allowing OEMs to specify the output signal type, measurement range (0-20° to 0-360° in 1° increments) and output direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) – has a 12 bit resolution (0.025%) over the selected measuring range, and operates from -40 to +140°C when powered at 5Vdc.

Curtiss-Wright’s Industrial division is a recognized leader in the production of critical controls and assemblies for specialty vehicles, including sensors, electronic throttle controls and joysticks. For further information about Penny & Giles products and other innovative solutions available from Curtiss-Wright’s Industrial division, please visit or call +44 (0)1425 271444.

Posted by DA Staff Connect & Contact

Keep up to date with the latest news and
technical developments in Unmanned Systems.

Sign up to the UST weekly eBrief

By clicking "Sign me up" I consent to my personal information being processed for the purpose of sending me the 'eBrief' weekly e-newsletter. See our Website privacy policy.