What You Need To Know About Sports Car Racing

Some people may say that sports car racing (or auto-racing, in general) is dangerous. However, one may overlook what sports car racing is about and why the legion of fans and drivers are hooked in this sport. Here are some things you need to know about sports car racing.

What is sports car racing?

Sports car racing is one type of auto-racing which involves sports cars. By definition, a sports car is a two seater (sometimes, four-seater) capacity vehicle designed for spirited performance and racing. Sports cars have different layouts which have influenced the way an automobile is handled. These include the rear wheel drive layout (FR), something common to all sports cars. One of the examples of this type of layout is that of the Chevrolet Corvette. Aside from FR, rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive is common to sports cars. Car manufacturer, like Ferrari and Lamborghini, uses this kind of layout. There is a rear-wheel, rear-engine (RR) drive layout which only the manufacturer, Porsche uses this kind of layout.

Sports Car Racing is an example of endurance racing. The winner is determined by the distance covered in a given set of time. This is the opposite of INDYCAR and StockCar racing. Both determines the winner by the least amount of time covered in a given distance.

Spots car racing is unique. This is seen more as a team endeavor than an individual sport. Each car is shared by two drivers, sometimes, more if in longer races (such as Daytona and Le Mans). Because there are multiple drivers that will drive each car during the race, this results in driver changes. A more complex strategy is necessary. Each drivers’ time must be manage well so as one driver may not sit longer compare to the other. At Sebring, a driver must make two hours, 15 minutes. Planning pit stops is a must to accommodate driver changes. Drivers must be paired comfortably with each other. Above all, drivers, race car engineers and crew members must help together to achieve the goal.

Sports Cars Racing

Photo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaz8_6Ee_wM

What are the types of car?

There are two main types of cars: Sports Prototype and Grand Touring. A sports prototype are technologically advanced compared to Grand Touring. These are purpose built cars with either open or closed cockpits. These are typically two-seater. The sports-prototypes are divided into two categories. These are P1 &P2. P1 cars weigh less not less than nine hundred (900) kilogram and permitted with a 5500 cubic centimeters turbo-Diesel engine whereas, P2 cars weigh 825 kilograms with a 2000 cubic centimeters turbocharged powerplant.

Grand Touring, on the other hand, is the most common form of sports car racing compared to Sports Prototype. Like Sports Prototype, Grand Touring is divided into two categories under the rules by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO)  – Grand Touring 1 and Grand Touring 2. Currently, the most popular car in the GT2 class is the Porsche 911. On the other hand, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) divides GT cars into four categories. These are GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT4, with GT3 as the most popular among the classes. Except for GT2, all of the categories have their own championship/cups spearheaded by FIA.

The success of the sports car racing was a built-in part of car manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Lamborghini. Other than pure speed, the emphasis on endurance, reliability and strategy is essential by most top car manufacturers.

Sports Cars Racing

Photo source: http://jalopnik.com/when-supercars-raced-at-le-mans-1625175062

What are the famous race tracks?

Since the start of the first motor racing on July 22, 1894, from Paris to Rouen, different circuit racing have been organized. Though some still exist today but there are others that have to cease to exist like the Tara Florio and Mexican Carrera Panamericana. Today, there are three widely considered prestigious race tracks in sports car racing. They are 12 hours of Sebring, 24 hours of Daytona and 24 hours of Le Mans.

The 12 hours of Sebring is usually done at the Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Three race tracks make up this international race way. These are the Full Circuit, the Short Circuit and the Club Circuit. The road course is about 6.2 kilometers.

The 24 hours of Daytona (known as Rolex 24 at Daytona) is held at Daytona International Speedway, still in Florida. Founded by NASCAR founder, William “Bill” France Sr., the said race track is home to Daytona 500, the most prestigious race in NASCAR. The raceway has different layouts namely; Tri-oval which is 4.0 kilometers long,  Road courses which are 6.13 kilometers long, and Supercross track that is built on pit road and the tri-oval section of the track. There is also a flat track and infield Kart track and lastly, a short track.

The 24 hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active sports car racing. It has been around since 1923. Located near the town of Le Mans in France, it has been dubbed as the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”. Organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the race runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a 13-kilometer track with a mixture of closed public roads and racing circuits. In its 93 year history, car manufacturer Porsche has the most wins while Danish driver Tom Kristensen has the most wins in Le Mans, nine wins and  six of which were consecutive (from 2000 to 2005).

What are the risks of racing?

Fatal accidents occur in sports car driving. In the past 25 years, more than 520 people across the US die in auto-racing. Le Mans has recorded 27 deaths in its history since 1923. Since it opened in 1959, Daytona International Speedway has recorded 40 on-track fatalities with 24 racing-related deaths. There are several reasons why drivers die. They are blunt force trauma, penetrating trauma, spinal cord injuries, sudden deceleration injuries with internal organ disruption, fire and medical deaths unrelated to trauma such a having a heart attack. Blunt force trauma is the most common among these causes of death. However, rules and implementations through the years such as the universal use of seat-belt and improving seat-belt design has saved a lot of countless drivers, reduces casualties due to race car accidents and has improved safety.

No matter what the risks are, its adrenaline rush and the speed of a racing car that keeps sports car racing still appealing to fans and why drivers take this as a hobby and profession.

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