TCGR ON THE COVER OF RACER MAGAZINE
Winter issue of RACER explores racing technology
David Malsher I October 26, 2012
If you're wondering about our cover image, it's the thermal map of a Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12 with its 2.2-liter, turbo Honda V6 running. Photographer Michael Levitt took the multiple thermal images needed to create the image and illustrator Paul Laguette weaved them together. Big thanks to Ganassi Racing's Mike Hull, Ricky Davis and their crew, plus Honda Performance Development, for making it happen.
In 1901, Ferdinand Porsche designed the first gasoline/electric hybrid road car, the Lohner-Porsche Mixte, and it only took another 111 years for a hybrid to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Such is the pace of progress! Still, when you consider how long mankind relied its four-legged friends for transport, automotive engineering's in warp-drive by comparison.
And it's not slowing down. There's a misperception that advances in technology are rarer in racing these days than in previous eras. After all, some 35 years ago, a trio of cars utilizing six wheels, ground effects and turbocharged 1.5-liter engines, respectively, made their F1 race debuts over a span of just 18 months. And the Indy 500's rear-engined revolution in the 1960s went from debut in '61, taking pole in '64, winning in '65, to occupying all 33 places on the grid in '67. And that same year, a turbine-powered four-wheel-drive car woulda/coulda/shoulda won.
But while technology is frequently boxed in by the rule-makers, it has always found a way to escape through the cracks, thanks to geniuses such as Adrian Newey, Colin Chapman, Jim Hall, Gordon Murray, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, etc. Hence in the last few years, we've seen DRS morphing into double DRS, diffusers to double diffusers to exhaust blown diffusers, Coanda exhausts, etc. And that's just the hi-tech that has reached the public domain.
And then there's the technology actively encouraged by series organizers which, at the moment, is very much centered around energy saving. But who'd have thought that, for example, Audi and Toyota could have found such different methods of converting their KERS-regenerated energy into forward thrust?
Actually, we would. That is and always has been the nature of racing and of the people within it. Technology, like gas, expands to fill whatever space it's given, but the human who dares to dream will find the cracks in the container and push it out further. Because, ultimately, you can't put the genius back in the bottle.