Racing technology has definitely been a two edge sword for years. It has made it safer for the drivers while at the same time making increased speeds possible, which then makes it more dangerous. We have two questions here at Horsepower Broadcasting, the first is, should the use of some of these new technologies be governed or limited? And secondly, is faster better?
From the beginning, racing and driver safety has been improved by technology. Back then, the uniform of the day was a t-shirt, leather helmet, goggles and of course a cigar. Now we have total containment custom fitted seats made from carbon fiber or aluminum, carbon fiber helmets, fire resistant suits, 5 and 6 way seat belts and crash absorbing areas built around the driver’s compartment. Racing can be dangerous and exciting, but shouldn’t be deadly. Why don’t we look at auto racing coming from a different perspective. Instead of letting the cars go faster and faster, and then try to protect the drivers and spectators with new technology, why not put a limit on the top speeds and then adjust the cars to make the show exciting and competitive.
A current F-1 car has more wings and aerodynamic elements than an aircraft carrier full of planes. They can make tires that are stickier than gum and power plants that can make more horsepower than needed. The physical stress of pushing the human body to some ridiculous extreme to drive a race car even faster in competition should be reserved for space travel or underwater exploration.
Indy Cars would be a good place to start, because they could stand some help at this time . We will start with the maximum speed that we feel can put on a good race, let’s say 175 mph. We know that they can average 220 mph at Indianapolis, but do we really need that kind of speed to create the excitement that makes for competitive racing? There is no reason that this can’t be done at slower speeds. To make the racing exciting and interesting, we need to slow the cars down in the corners. No more flat footing the cars all around a race track. Flat footing or not letting off the gas pedal leads to pack racing. Whether open wheel cars or stock cars this kind of racing is dangerous. It breeds accidents that often end up injuring drivers. While it might be exciting to some, it’s expensive and costly on many levels.
Racing and speed sound like the same thing, but they are not. Speed is the amount of time it takes to travel a certain distance, while a race is a competition between two cars trying to get to the finish line first. With this in mind, how do we have a good race with all the correct components. For example a car traveling 60 mph on a small 1/4 mile track might look like it’s going 100 mph, whereas on a one mile or larger track that same car may look like it’s crawling. If this is true, why do we need to go over 200 mph when 175 mph would suffice? NASCAR just recently changed the down force on their cars at Kentucky and got great reviews from their drivers. Competitive racing and being able to pass and even being able to recover from a lap down made for great racing.
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