You are currently viewing archive for February 2010
Category: Karting
Posted by: Mike
Over the past year or two I've been researching buying a racing kart, which presents many challenges; one of which is finding a way to transport the kart to the track.

At first, I thought I would need some huge SUV or truck, or pay someone a lot to transport and/or store the kart for me, because at the few club kart events I'd been to, that's what everyone seemed to have.

But after researching and asking on ekartingnews here and here and here, I found it was possible to transport a kart in a smaller vehicle. In fact, the vehicles people transported karts in (fitting the whole kart into the interior of the car) include a Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Celica and Toyota Prius! Also, a small open trailer which costs only a few hundred dollars or less and weighs a few hundred pounds or less can be towed by pretty much any vehicle, and since a kart typically weights less then 200 pounds, transporting one on a roof rack is also possible.

check out the threads for some impressive transporting pics.

Although buying a kart is likely on hold for me at least for this year as I'm finalizing some other racing plans, it's still good information to know. More on those other plans soon...

Category: General
Posted by: Mike
Delta Wing Racing Cars, a group reportedly funded by a several IRL team owners, recently released images of a 2012 IndyCar concept:

I don't know what you think, but I agree with most fans on Trackforum, a big Indycar fan community , who are against the design almost 3 to 1.

There's no doubt the IndyCar Series is struggling. But one of the few things that IndyCar has going for it is the identity of the cars. When I talk to people that aren't into racing, they don't know a thing about the current IndyCar Series, but they know what a Indycar looks like. They associate a modern, low profile, four wheeled, open cockpit car with exposed wheels and wings with an Indycar. Tossing that identity out the window seems risky at best.

Perhaps IndyCar is trying to start with a clean slate and appeal to a new generation of younger fans. But I don't think this car will be particularly effective in that regard, and an unscientific poll at trackforum agrees. Kids may like Batman and rocket ships, but that does not mean they'll follow a series that races cars that look like that. This thing does not even look cool and futuristic; it looks like something out of a bad 70's movie!

I'm not against innovation in racing, in fact I'm all for it, particularly in a series like Indycar which has always brought about innovation. But this change is not like rear engines, or wings or ground effect tunnels. This is a dramatic change to a new SPEC car that bares pretty much no resemblance to the past 100 years of Indycar racing. And while the designers claim greater efficiency, safety and cost reduction with the delta wing car, I fail to see how these improvements require a car to look like the delta wing car does.

Here's some concepts from Dallara and Swift for the 2012 Indycar that make similar claims:

I beleive people are more likely to follow sports they can relate to. What if IndyCar allowed and promoted gas vs. electric powerpants? I think that's something people can relate to and something that can generate interest within the mainstream media. Delta wings? Not so much.

02/06/2010: Physics of Racing

Category: Racing Books
Posted by: Mike
I stumbled upon an interesting series of articles a while ago, called The Physics of Racing by physicist and amateur racer/autocrosser, Brian Beckman. The whole series of articles, written over a 10 plus year span starting in 1991, is available online here.

As the title states, the articles address... the physics of racing. While a book like Going Faster addresses topics like the fastest line through a corner, braking force and tire slip angles with mainly qualitative explanations and diagrams, The Physics of Racing series attempts to explain with equations and numbers.

I'm not sure if understanding the physics behind racing at the level presented in the articles is required to be a good, or even top professional racer. And although I've only read about a forth of the articles, they certainly aren't as comprehensive as a book like Going Faster!. However, you can still certainly pick up a few things from it, and you might even find some of it interesting!