Automobile Racing has existed almost since the invention of the first automobile. The earliest recorded race was in 1867. Initially, races were designed to show the reliability of these vehicles as a mode of transportation as the most popular road transportation at the time were still horse-driven carriages. However, towards the turn of the century, cars became a more popular form of land transportation eventually replacing horses and soon, car racing became a popular sport.
Automobile racing in its early days was also a way for car manufacturers to showcase their latest technology and to show to the world what the cars they produce can do. As the automotive market became more competitive, so did automotive racing. Car manufacturers, oil and gasoline companies and other car-related brands even hire and sponsor particularly good racers so that these companies can showcase their brands.
Today, there are more than several types of automobile racing such as Formula racing (including Formula One or F1), Tour Car Racing and Stock Car Racing. Groups or organizations involved in racing employ designers and engineers in order to build the best cars possible for racing and many of the innovations and technologies formed find their way in your standard sedans.
Much of racing technology has influenced the way we build mass-produced cars today such from the basic engine design, to the position of the ignition and even our rearview mirrors.
Engine technology such as the dual overhead cam valve system is something that is in nearly every car to date. But this technology was first developed and used in the 1912 French Grand Prix. It is more efficient than the single cam valve system, it took awhile before it was introduced to the market but eventually made its way to the 1925 Alfa Romeo.
Direct-Shift Gearboxes or DSGs is an innovation that has also found its way to our modern road cars formerly only available in race cars. DSGs allow you the power of a manual transmission with the feel and convenience of an automatic transmission. Originally found only in race cars to improve the speed of a manual transmission, this technology has already found itself in some of the sporty cars of Audi and Volkswagen.
Another innovation is in the chassis design of your standard road car. Roll cages in F1 cars has been used since the early 1970s. This chassis design has since then been adapted in your standard road car to improve the safety. They are not immediately noticeable because it’s now been built in to standard car design. In 1981, McLaren invented a carbon fiber chassis which is now used by every team today. Though still a bit expensive this same chassis is even being used now in supercars and is slowly creeping down the priceline making it more affordable and available to your cheaper sedans.
Push button ignition is also technology initially found only in racing. Until recently, most cars were designed with ignition that starts at the turn of a key. This racing technology has been used for years and makes starting a car far easier and convenient. You can now see this technology in the newest cars being produced, making it available to the common man.
There are many other technologies and innovations in racing that have found their way in the automotive industry and has really pushed the envelope on what is possible for our current cars. As more and more innovation is created in automobile racing, more and more it will find itself in your car of choice.