Think You Can Handle a Race Car?
When you are stuck in traffic on the way home from work, it’s easy to let your mind wander. Just imagine it — ditching your daily commuter for a high-performing supercar and swapping out the crowded freeway for an unhindered racetrack. But, while going zero-to-sixty in barely two seconds and owning the curves sounds like a dream come true, getting behind the wheel of a NASCAR or track car takes more than just a driver’s license.
Think you can handle it? Read on to see if you’ve got what it takes to rip through a quarter mile in ten seconds flat.
Being able to handle a manual-transmission car is a source of pride for plenty of drivers; smooth shifting is the sign of a driving aficionado. But that doesn’t mean you can hop behind the wheel of a supercar with ease — in fact, managing the transmission of a race car is nearly impossible for plenty of drivers. That’s because in a supercar, the driver is responsible for managing 100% of the vehicle’s power. The average economy car has tools to offer a smoother ride and to provide optimal efficiency. This helps while driving in a city with frequent stops and starts, but when racing, drivers have only one thing in mind: maximizing power and, subsequently, speed. Thus, driving a performance-oriented vehicle demands the driver have pin-point precision.
In the same way a commercial vehicle smooths the process of shifting gears, such cars are designed to ride smoothly and comfortably. In contrast, racing vehicles are designed to stay as close to the ground as possible and not let any speed succumb to the effects of a loose suspension. Racecars are even designed with wings and spoilers to create downward thrust to keep the vehicle closer to the road surface. If you think your car does the same thing, think again: reports claim that some racers produce over 3g of downward force — more than enough for such vehicles to drive upside down.
On top of everything else, holding your own on the track is just about as tricky as it gets. NASCAR drivers need to have complete control over their vehicles at all times. The handling of a race car is a complicated thing, incorporating techniques that may sound entirely counterintuitive, such as “drifting.” Drifting is when a driver intentionally oversteers on a turn. This act causes a loss of traction in the rear wheels, or even on all of the tires. Yet, they somehow maintain control for the entirety of the corner. Sometimes, drivers even need to maintain control when their car “fishtails,” which is when the rear end of the car swings outward on turns — not an easy feat for drivers of any experience level.
It’s no secret that racing isn’t easy. The driver, the crew, and the vehicle all need to be in perfect condition, and individuals dedicate years of their lives to master their trade. While plenty of us are perfectly happy in our commercial cars, others have the tenacity to become the best of the best. Do you?