Interesting Facts about Auto Racing

Auto racing at its best is an exciting sport where some of the world’s most well-trained drivers beat the world’s fastest cars. Motorsport has been around for as long as we can remember, but some facts about it are less known. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 20 Interesting Facts about Auto Racing and its History. Let’s check them out!

1. Louis Renault’s Little Car

Louis Renault’s Little Car

In 1894, Louis Renault patented a rear-engine design with a single-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. This vehicle was known as the “Voiturette” or “Citroen Type A,” which means “Little Car.” The design was successful, but it wasn’t until after Renault retired from racing that it became popular due to its lightweight construction, low cost, and ease of maintenance. [1]

2. The Foundation of NASCAR

The Foundation of NASCAR

NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and was founded in 1948 by Bill France Sr. The first race took place on February 15, 1948, at Daytona International Speedway in Florida and featured 13 cars driving on dirt tracks. Today there are more than 43 races each season with three different classes: Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series. [11]

The Sprint Cup Series is by far the most popular race series because it features top drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Carl Edwards, who compete against each other on speedways throughout the country. It’s estimated that over 800 million people watch this series each year in more than 150 countries worldwide! [12]

3. The Official Tire Supplier for NASCAR

The Official Tire Supplier for NASCAR

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has been the official tire supplier of NASCAR since 1954. Their affiliation began when they were chosen to be the sole provider of tires for all three series that comprise NASCAR. [2]

4. Step are Taken to Ensure F1 Car Parts Don’t Melt

Step are Taken to Ensure F1 Car Parts Don’t Melt

In order to avoid melting parts in Formula 1 cars, expensive and exotic materials are used. The cars’ parts must be able to withstand the heat of the race, so ordinary materials such as steel won’t work. [3]

5. The Shortest Track in the Cup Series

The Shortest Track in the Cup Series

Martinsville Speedway is a half-mile (0.8 km) asphalt short track oval race track in Ridgeway, Virginia, United States. It is one of the oldest motorsports venues in the United States, as well as being among the shortest tracks in NASCAR’s top-three series. It is also one of two tracks on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit that does not have SAFER barriers; the other is Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.

Designed by stock car driver Curtis Turner, Martinsville Speedway opened in 1947 and held its first race on July 4 of that year. [12]

6. The First Female Race Car Driver

The First Female Race Car Driver

In 1949, Sara Christian became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR event at Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina. Sara qualified 13th in her husband’s Ford (Frank Christian) and finished 14th after letting Bob Flock drive partway through the race when his engine expired. [4]

In 2004, Sara was inducted into the Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame. Also, in 1949 she received the United States Drivers Association Woman Driver of the Year award.

7. The Inventor of the Window Net

The Inventor of the Window Net

Richard Petty introduced the window net for the first time ever. Window nets were first used by race car drivers in the late 1930s and early 1940s. They were made of metal wire and attached to the window frame behind the driver’s seat. When a crash occurred, they would catch the driver and prevent him from being thrown out of the car during a wreck. [5]

8. Early Racing Cars were Dangerous and Unstable

Early Racing Cars were Dangerous and Unstable

Today, auto racing drivers are used to having vehicles with basic safety features such as antilock brakes, seatbelts, and airbags. As little as 50 years ago, though, car racers did not have these facilities.

The turnaround is said to come after Ralph Nader, a young lawyer, wrote a book called ‘Unsafe at Any Speed’. In this book, he accused auto car manufacturers of not making the cars as safe as they can be. Just a year after this book’s publication, a federal safety agency was created that later evolved into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Its aim is to prevent injuries, lower the chances of crashes, and save the lives of drivers. [13]

9. A Story of Pit Stops

A Story of Pit Stops

The first organized auto race that required a pit stop was at the 1905 24 Hours of Le Mans, where competitors had to make repairs to their cars while they were still moving.

The first Formula 1 races did not have a pit lane, but drivers had to make repairs in the garage using their own mechanics.

With the growth of motorsport, pit stops became an integral part of racing and began to be incorporated into track design in order to separate cars into different groups based on their speed potential. This process was known as “grouping.” Separating out different speeds and making them drive around different parts of the circuit allowed organizers to ensure close competition between all drivers. [14] [15]

10. The Most Successful Team in Formula 1’s History

The Most Successful Team in Formula 1’s History

The most successful constructor (team) in Formula One history is Ferrari with 16 constructors’ championships, followed by McLaren and Williams with 10 titles each; Lotus has 8 titles; Red Bull Racing has 4 titles; Mercedes-Benz has won 3 titles since being formed as Brawn GP in 2009 (Mercedes-Benz entered F1 as an engine supplier in 1994). [6]

11. Formula 1 Drivers Lose Weight While Racing 

Formula 1 Drivers Lose Weight While Racing

Weight loss is a common side effect of Formula 1 racing, as F1 drivers tend to lose some fat while driving multiple races. This weight loss is due to the high temperature inside the cockpit, which causes them to burn plenty of calories. However, the weight loss of 6 to 9 pounds for each race is mostly due to perspiration. The drivers lose water weight instead of actually burning off fat. [7]

12. The Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500 is an American car race held annually at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. It is one of the most prestigious auto races in the world, usually taking place in late May or early June on Memorial Day weekend. The event has been named after the famous pace car called “Indy 500” since 1911. [16]

13. Racing Cars are the Modified Versions of Street Legal Vehicles

Racing Cars are the Modified Versions of Street Legal Vehicles

The cars used for street racing are generally modified versions of street-legal vehicles. They can be equipped with nitrous oxide systems that increase power output by 50%. Nitrous oxide systems can also be used to cool engine temperatures during warmup laps before a race begins. [17]

14. The Longest Car Racing Competition in the World 

The Longest Car Racing Competition in the World

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling car racing competition held each June at the Circuit de la Sarthe, a 13-mile closed course of mostly public roads in Le Mans, France. The event was first held in 1923 and has been run every year since 1955. In that time, it has become one of the most famous races in the world, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending each year. The race is also known as “the Grand Prix of Endurance.” [18]

15. The Most Expensive Car Ever Sold At Auction

The Most Expensive Car Ever Sold At Auction

The most expensive car ever sold at auction was an orange 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta that sold for $38 million at RM Sotheby’s auction on August 19, 2014. The Ferrari 250 GTO was designed by Enzo Ferrari specifically for racing and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race three times between 1962 and 1965. [8]

16. The World’s Biggest Auto Show

The World’s Biggest Auto Show

The Frankfurt Motor Show is the world’s largest auto show. The show is held annually in September or October at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt, Germany. The first motor show was held in 1897, and the event has been held every two years since 1953. In 2007, the show had 2,511 exhibitors from 38 countries and a total of 771,924 visitors from 113 countries. [9]

17. The Most Popular NASCAR Series

The Most Popular NASCAR Series

The NASCAR Xfinity Series (formerly known as the Busch Series) is a stock car racing series owned and operated by NASCAR. The NASCAR Xfinity Series is considered a minor league circuit and is known as a proving ground for drivers who wish to move up to the organization’s top-level circuit, the Monster Energy Cup Series. [19]

18. Formula 1 Engines Typically Need to Be Replaced After Seven Races

Formula 1 Engines Typically Need to Be Replaced After Seven Races

Formula 1 engines are built to last, but they’re not indestructible. F1 teams regularly change out their engines after five or seven races to ensure they don’t get worn down too quickly. However, each driver can use 3 per season without penalty. This means the engines usually need to last at least 1500 miles (2400 km), but more likely around double that. [10]

19. Jimmie Johnson Won Five Consecutive Championships

Jimmie Johnson Won Five Consecutive Championships

Jimmie Johnson is a five-time champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which is an American stock car racing series. He won his first championship in 2006 and won the next four championships in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011.

Johnson’s last win came at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2016, when he became only the seventh driver to win 200 races in a career. [20]

20. The Hendrick Motorsports Team Has Won an Incredible 16 Championships

The Hendrick Motorsports Team Has Won an Incredible 16 Championships

Rick Hendrick’s racing organization has been dominant since its inception in 1984. The team has won 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships with drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Darrell Waltrip. The team has also won 15 Indianapolis 500s and three Daytona 500s. [21]

Conclusion

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of auto racing? Big tires? People yelling? Super-fast vehicles? All of those are true, but there’s more to auto racing than meets the eye. Auto racing is as old as the automobile itself, having its origins in long-distance road races. The sport has also evolved and expanded over time. Today, races include numerous types of vehicles and events catering to every demographic.

References

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  3. These Are The 10 Most Expensive Parts On A Formula 1 Car. (2021, August 7). HotCars. https://www.hotcars.com/the-most-expensive-parts-on-a-formula-1-car/
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