No matter how advanced the technologies used in racing cars are, sooner or later they will transfer to casual drivers on city or country roads. It allows for more comfortable, efficient, and effortless driving. In our article, we’ve covered a range of racing technologies that were someday designed for national powersports exclusively but are now common for all motorists. Many of these are already used in today’s sports cars and more affordable all-purpose vehicles, improving their performance, safety, and overall driving experience.
Air resistance is something that cannot be neglected during comfortable and effortless driving. You can verify this by sticking your hand out the car window at a speed of 60 mph (100 km/h). That’s why race cars use aerodynamic designs to reduce drag and increase downforce, which improves their speed and handling.
Automakers have adopted similar aerodynamic designs in production vehicles to improve fuel efficiency, stability, and performance. Furthermore, such a car body configuration allows you to save money on fuel by reducing gasoline or diesel consumption on the road.
By the way, the wind can be used not only to save fuel but also to improve downforce. So race cars “cut corners” on the track at speeds that would send a truck straight into the bushes.
Racing teams use lightweight materials like carbon fiber to reduce the weight of their cars, which improves acceleration and handling. NASCAR, Indy, and Formula 1 cars are predominantly carbon fiber. With a smaller mass, it’s three times stronger than steel. These features interested the mass-market car manufacturers.
Automakers have started using these same materials in their vehicles to improve fuel economy, performance, and safety. For example, the new BMW i3 electric car and the BMW i8 hybrid sports car are made of carbon fiber. The only disadvantage of such a light and durable material is the high cost of its production. At the same time, everything points to the fact that we’ll increasingly encounter carbon fiber on the roads as it becomes cheaper to produce.
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and Traction Control
ABS is a technology that was first used in motorsports to help drivers maintain control during hard braking. Now, it’s a standard feature on most cars, helping drivers avoid accidents by preventing their wheels from locking up during emergency stops.
Traction control systems help prevent wheelspin during acceleration, improving grip and stability. This technology has its roots in racing, where it was first used to help drivers get the most traction out of their tires during launches.
Suspension is another area of racing research where competition is leading to exciting new results and innovations. Suspension tuning in race cars is a separate and unique engineering art. Well-built chassis are like a symphony of interacting components. These elements are designed for the most comfortable, safe, and agile driving. That’s why racing teams use adjustable suspension systems to fine-tune their cars’ handling characteristics for different tracks and conditions.
Automakers have started offering similar systems in production vehicles, which can adjust to different road conditions to provide a smoother ride and better handling. A great example of modern car suspension innovation is the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray configuration. The rigidity of the elastic elements here is controlled by a computer, and nylon bushings and aluminum components make the structure lighter and stronger.
A huge amount of time has been spent on research and development to make car tires very durable, and grip and comfort the best possible. Of course, most of the research has been done on racing vehicles for driving in any possible and impossible conditions on this planet. As a result, race cars today use specialized tires designed for maximum grip and performance.
Automakers have started offering high-performance tires on some production vehicles, which can improve handling, acceleration, and braking. Such innovative wheels have become common for motorists today and gained their popularity due to great results they provide. For example, most high-tech tires are capable of withstanding speeds of around 200 mph (320 km/h).
Hybrid and Electric Powertrains
Hybrid and electric powertrains were initially developed for racing, where they provided impressive power and efficiency. As a result, in 2012, the Audi e-tron won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Audi’s diesel-electric model was the first hybrid to win this competition.
Now, automakers are offering these powertrains in their production vehicles to provide improved fuel economy and performance. Hybrid systems that run on both fuel and electricity were primarily popularized by the Toyota Prius models, which performed successfully in racing from the start. Today, the model is at the top when it comes to hybrid vehicles, with the most sales worldwide.
In the End
Overall, racing technologies have significantly improved the performance, safety, and driving experience of ordinary vehicles. We can now experience effortless, fast, and safe driving in the ordinary vehicles we see on our roads every day, thanks to those innovative appliances that were once only used on race tracks. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more racing-inspired features in future cars.