How Racing Has Influenced Consumer Car Technologies


We all know that, no matter what type of racing you’re talking about, car technicians are always looking for ways to improve their race vehicles. Whether it’s adding a little extra speed, tweaking engine performance, perfecting the aerodynamics of a vehicle or introducing new electronic and computing instruments, racing crews are usually at the forefront of vehicle development, making their cars do things that have never been done before.

With this in mind, we take a look at some of the main technologies developed on racing circuits that are now widely implemented in consumer cars.

Construction

One of the main ways in which racing vehicles have affected the development of commercial vehicles is through the design, construction and implementation of new materials to create cars that are not only lighter but also stronger. While the lightest and most modern materials are, at the moment, too expensive to use on mass produced consumer vehicles, they are slowly becoming more popular for certain parts of the car.

For instance, aluminium engine blocks are now more widespread than ever and it is also more common for certain exterior body panels, in particular bonnets, to be designed with lightweight materials.

Braking

Racing cars have also always been ahead of the curve when it comes to braking technology. Creating faster cars also means you will require a more efficient way of bringing these high speed vehicles to a stop.

After all, most of the time greater speed means nothing without increased control. One of the most important developments in modern racing was the introduction of disc brakes, a technology that is now seen on most consumer cars due to their increased performance and reliability.

The lighter materials used for racing brakes, such as ceramics and carbon fibre are currently too expensive to be used on anything but the most expensive mass produced vehicles but it will only be a matter of time before they become a common feature.

Safety

Finally, when you look at cars like the Mercedes C63, it’s important to recognise developments that aren’t so visually obvious. Possibly, the biggest improvement in consumer cars that has been driven by racing technology is the changes to safety.

Whether it’s something as simple as the rearview mirror or as advanced as crumple technology, you can be sure it was developed, tested and implemented in a racing environment first.