5 Techniques Developed in Racing to Prepare Street Cars

Motor racing is generally considered one of the most expensive sports in the world. After all, the quality of the equipment is crucial to becoming competitive, and for this reason, millions of dollars or res must be invested – depending on where the class is located – in order for the team to be less competitive.

But racing isn’t just about crossing the finish line first. It’s so tied to technology development, it’s not uncommon for brands to announce the departure of a category, and then come back a few years later.

Therefore, various motorsports events seek to write the regulations in such a way as to attract as many manufacturers as possible, so that the technology developed in the race can, in some way, be used in street cars.

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Technology used in street cars and developed in racing

With this in mind, the Auto Chat List some of the items that were developed on the racetrack – either to increase safety or speed – and today you can find them in your personal car.

back view

The Marmom Wasp rear-view mirror was placed on four rails above the steering wheel.
The Marmom Wasp rear-view mirror was placed on four rails above the steering wheel.

Riding a car without rearview mirrors is almost conceivable, isn’t it? But this has already happened. Although a simple and essential safety device, this technology was developed for use in racing, more specifically in the 1911 edition of the Indianapolis 500.

Racing cars at the time had room for an assistant driver who helped make repairs to the car and alerted the driver to what was happening around him, giving some advice on driving.

Thinking about how to make the car lighter, Ray Harroum developed a rearview mirror that was placed above the steering wheel of the Marmom Wasp, so he could perceive everything that was going on around him. The pilot won the race that year.

However, he was not credited with the invention. A few years later, engineer Elmer Berger sold the concept to automakers and patented the rear-view mirror we know today.

move the paddle

The butterfly gearbox was developed in Formula 1
The butterfly gearbox was developed in Formula 1

This transmission attempts to combine the advantages of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic transmission. Over the years, transmission models have been developed that can switch between automatic and semi-automatic, giving the driver the option of having gears on hand to shift them the way they want, thus extracting greater potential from the car.

With this feature in mind, Ferrari developed this technology for Formula 1 racing in 1989. In addition to improving drivability, the driver can better control acceleration and deceleration. Over time, other teams also started making use of the device and in 1995 it became a standard in this category.

The butterfly gearbox is connected to the vehicle’s transmission, which is essentially automatic with a single-clutch automatic torque converter, dual-clutch automatic, semi-automatic or CVT torque converter. This technology has been included in street cars for quite some time, especially in high-performance sports cars.

brake disc

Disc brakes are technology developed by Jaguar in European racing.
Disc brakes are technology developed by Jaguar in European racing.

This safety device was created to address the lack of heat dissipation that has resulted in reduced brake efficiency over time. This was something very common in drum brakes, which is still in use today.

Elmer Ambrose Sperry created his first “version” in the 19th century. But over the years it has evolved and Jaguar has been responsible for developing the first disc brake close to the brake we know today. In 1953, the Jaguar C-Type racing car was equipped with a disc brake model very similar to what is installed in passenger cars today.

In addition to greater safety for occupants, disc brakes are easier to maintain and easier to cool. During their ventilation, the heat generated by the friction of the pads is dissipated, which prevents their failure. Moreover, since it is not a cylinder, braking can be considered more comfortable.

traction control

Traction Control was a technology that Williams developed primarily for winning races in the 1990s.
Traction Control was a technology that Williams developed primarily for winning races in the 1990s.

General Motors even developed traction control in the 1970s, but it didn’t catch it. This system, found in street cars today, was developed in Formula 1 during the 1980s and, even with active suspension, was fundamental to Williams’ dominance in 1992 and 1993.

This technology essentially prevents one or more vehicle steering wheels from spinning. Thus, it reduces the torque on the wheel that loses traction, ensuring greater safety while driving and preventing the wheels from spinning. In racing, the advantage was present at the start and in the corners, where the driver could push a little more without losing control of the car.

The process is not much different on the streets. The traction control system calculates the amount of power sent to the wheels and prevents the driver from losing control of the vehicle.

Kinetic Energy Recovery (KERS)

Kinetic Energy Recovery System
Kinetic Energy Recovery System

This technology was also developed on racetracks and reached through Formula 1 races. Applied in this category in the 2009 season, Cares recovers part of the energy generated by braking the car.

The energy produced by KERS can be stored in the form of mechanical or electrical energy and allows for a temporary increase in energy. This is also very interesting for the development of electric and hybrid cars, which will therefore be able to use other energy sources for movement.

The Porsche 918 super sports cars and McLaren P1 are examples of vehicles equipped with this device.

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