Motor vehicles include automobiles with two or more wheels. While transportation was the intended purpose of the inventions in the beginning of the automobile era, it wasn’t long before vehicles, especially motorcycles and cars, were being used for the thrill and amusement of the consumer. The rush that comes with high speed driving, no matter if you are the one driving or a spectator watching a race, is addictive. While most of us are not active participants in the sport of racing, it is interesting how racing sports influenced the history of the automotive industry.
History Of Automotive Industry
The focus of the automobile manufacturers has mainly been on making better consumer cars. Having said that, manufacturing high-end race cars has given the companies a ground to test the extreme conditions their products can be subjected to. It also gives them a wide space for technical and mechanical inventions.
The first auto race took place in 1884 in France. It was organized to capture interest in motoring and boost motor manufacturing in France. As the sport became popular, the mechanical limitations of the vehicles were challenged. Inventors and car manufacturers started looking for ways to overcome these limitations to give advantage to their drivers.
Eventually, popular consumer car manufacturers, like Ford, started taking an interest in the sport and started building cars with higher performance, efficiency and safety that was needed on a race track.
Driving a car on a race track is nothing like driving on the city road. The drivers are motivated to win the race with the highest speed their vehicle can achieve while being conscious about personal safety. They need every tool at their disposal to cut down on time and come out at the finish line unharmed.
Automatic Transmission, Push Button Ignition, Suspensions, Disc Brakes, Engine Air Intake, Carbon Fiber body parts are some of the many inventions which have their origins in car racing tracks.
Efficiency and Performance
- Ray Harroun, an American race car driver was the first to use a rear view mirror in 1911. Although the idea was later patented by Elmer Berger for manufacturing of rear view mirrors for automobiles, it is undeniable that the idea first came to be for the purposes of getting an advantage in a racing sport.
- A small feature like a push button ignition, which every car owner takes for granted these days, was once limited to race cars. It can save precious seconds on the track.
- A transmission converts the engine’s power to the wheels. A manual transmission needs time and accuracy to operate, both of which are expensive on the track. A Direct Shift Gearbox and clutch-less manual transmission were introduced for race cars which gave the driver the ease and efficiency which a manual transmission lacks.
So, it is quite clear that car racing has had a big influence in the evolution of automobiles so far. And it won’t be presumptive to say that it will continue to influence the future of this industry as well.