Why is the Performance and Reliability of Servo Valves Important in Motorsport?

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At Domin, we are using cutting-edge technology to bring the hydraulics industry into the 21st century by designing and manufacturing world-class hydraulic servo valves that are both reliable and high performing. 

In Motorsports, servo valves control the flow of hydraulic fluid used to actuate the brakes, steering, and gears in a vehicle, all of which are integral to the vehicle’s functionality and performance.  When racing, every fraction of a second counts so the gears, steering, and breaks need to work smoothly, quickly, accurately, and repeatedly to ensure optimal performance. 

When a driver changes gears, if the valve is not reliable, this could cause a misalignment in the gear shift which slows the car down and increases the driver’s lap time.  

Likewise, in a braking zone, the driver relies on the vehicle’s brakes to slow it down and bring it to a stop. If the servo valve that controls the brakes is too slow to respond, the vehicle may not be able to slow down quickly enough, and the driver may overshoot the corner or collide with someone else.

When racing the car around tight tracks within millimetres of your competitor the slightest error in steering can cause loss of track position, slower cornering, or even worse skidding into a gravel trap. 

In Motorsports, the primary goal is to win, and only the most reliable and high performing vehicle will take first place on the podium, so it is essential that the servo valves used to control the vehicle’s movement are top of the range. 

Traditional two-stage servo valves technology is the current ‘go to’ for motorsport, yet we’ve identified various design flaws in this technology that make it the less desirable option compared to Domin’s groundbreaking servo valve technology, and here’s why:   


One of the many downsides to traditional two-stage servo valves is parasitic loss. To overcome this, valve manufacturers resort to reducing the size of pressure openings in the valve which increases the risk of debris in the oil causing blockages and contamination. This then leads to the valve malfunctioning.  

Further blockages can also occur when the vehicle is racing due to the flapper nozzle technology which has poor chip shear performance making the valves unreliable. 

As blockages are so frequent in traditional two-stage servo valves, motorsport vehicles often need to be assembled in clean rooms to mitigate the risk of blockages and contamination. 

In contrast, Domin’s use of direct drive technology completely removes the need for the first stage where most blockages occur, without compromising on the size, performance, or quality of the valve. 

Damage and Repair

Pressure seals to atmosphere, which are prone to damage, are very common in traditional two-stage servo valves. The use of these means increased maintenance and downtime of the valves which is not ideal in motorsports. 

Domin’s valves, on the other hand, are designed in a way that completely removes the need for pressure seals to atmosphere. This reduces maintenance time and increases the reliability of the servo valve. 

Size and Weight

Traditional two-stage valves used for motorsport are particularly light, however, unlike Domin valves, they do not operate with onboard electronics. Instead, a separate centralised electrical circuit is used to create the drive for the valve which increases the weight and size of the overall hydraulic system. 

Although Domin servo valves are marginally heavier than traditional two-stage valves, we use modern onboard electronics with localised position sensors which remove the need for an additional unit, reducing both the weight and size of the overall hydraulic system and making the car lighter, more aerodynamic and higher performing. Furthermore, the valves have the capability to be controlled digitally, reducing the complexity of the central control system.

At Domin, we are continuously looking for ways to optimise performance across a range of industries and will continue to drive positive change within hydraulics across the globe. 

If you are looking for a way to improve the reliability and performance of your hydraulics system within the motorsport industry, please contact our Sales team. We can help you improve the performance of your vehicle’s steering, gears, and brakes, making it faster than ever before and ensuring success on the track. 

Want to learn more? Check out our article on Rugged & Reliable Servo Valves for the Timber Industry.

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