How the aviation industry influenced motorsport.
It has been obvious that motorsport, especially Formula racing cars has been technologically advanced in term of every aspect even in simplest components of the car. Then for the car enthusiasts, the modern supercars are close to a replica of the F1 cars, however these are mainly only for road use and daily driving, which can also be taken to the track.
But how did these advancements come to life for these top notch mega expensive vehicles? Here comes the aviation industry whereas we know that the main goal for any aircraft designer is to reduce any unneeded weight to achieve the lowest weight and best aerodynamics for an aircraft.
In 1981, the McLaren F1 engineering team introduced carbon fiber as a material for the monocoque chassis of the F1 car. Carbon fiber is known for its light weight and stiffness which is able to replace steel in the design of the car, therefore McLaren’s racing vehicles have gained more power to weight ratio and safer in case of any accidents that may occur. This type of new material was firstly manufactured by aviation companies to change the mostly aluminum body and many other parts of different aircraft.
Furthermore, we see the huge rear mounted wing and front canards on the F1 cars which provide both stability on the corners and downforce to avoid the car lifting from the track surface. These parts are actually an upside-down aircraft wing. As the wing is providing lift to the aircraft, the wing on the F1 car is providing down force and stability. In 1977 The Louts F1 team introduced the wings on the F1 car, this made the drivers more confident to tackle the corners on high speeds and win more grand prix races.
These are the main influences to how the aviation industry is leading in technological advancements for aircraft design. Now aerodynamicists are employed especially for applying huge simulations and wind tunnel testings on the new F1 cars and supercars to measure the drag coefficient and how much the car can produce down force at certain speeds.