Racing a car can be a fun and exciting pastime. Whether enjoying this sport with a group of friends or one wishes to race within a professional circuit, skills alone are hardly enough. Not only will the vehicle need to be in tip-top shape, but there are normally a number of unique modifications which can help to vastly increase its performance. What are some of the most common and what benefits can they provide?
A spoiler can also be known as a “wing” in colloquial terms. This is generally a piece of tapered metal or fibreglass that is located on the rear of the car. While some feel that this device is merely for show, it actually serves a very real purpose. Due to the laws of physics, the air rushing over the top of the spoiler will tend to “push” the back of the car down onto the road. In turn, this provides much better traction and many racers feel that this is one of the best ways to avoid slipping. Spoilers are particularly beneficial for those who own rear-wheel drive vehicles.
Those who are looking for an extra “boost” tend to employ nitrous oxide (simply called “nitrous” in many cases). Nitrous oxide causes more oxygen to burn when it is combined with the fuel. With stronger levels of combustion, the engine is provided with more horsepower and speed. It should be noted that nitrous additives are not allowed in all racing circuits. Additionally, a good amount of skill is required to control a car that has been given a nitrous boost. There are numerous different do-it-yourself kits available although it is always best to have them installed by a professional.
The addition of ground effects is actually a bit debatable. Many racers feel that these modifications help to increase the gripping power of the car as it is driving down a track. However, others have attested that this benefit is debatable at best. Ground effects should nonetheless be mentioned here due to their popularity amongst the younger generation of drivers.
Air scoops have been around from the 1950s and arose as a result of aviation technology after the Second World War. These devices protrude from the hood and consist of a number of open-ended cylinders. Their intention is actually similar to that of the previously mentioned nitrous oxide boosters. Air scoops will deliver more oxygen into the combustion chamber and increase the sheer power of the car. Air scoops are wildly popular on “muscle” cars although they can be seen on newer models as well. Although some feel that the drag created can slightly offset the horsepower benefits, the scoop has become a common fixture within many racing circuits and its presence will likely continue into the future.
These “mods” are very common and can be seen within both professional and amateur racing organisations. It should still be mentioned that evolving technology may give birth to an entirely new set of modifications that will have a very real impact upon this white-knuckle sport in the coming years.