From F1 to M1
By Mike Waters
WHERE there is competition there is also innovation and that’s the reason that the technologies we see in motorsport today often influence the vehicles that we drive tomorrow.
While no one would try to argue that motorsport is green or cheap, it does share some common goals with modern motoring, especially in the areas of safety, performance and reliability.
Well known technologies that began life on the track include traction control, ABS braking and semi-automatic paddle shaft gear systems.
It is also a common belief that fuel efficient turbo charged diesel engines will transition from the track to become common place on our roads over the next few years because of their fuel efficient nature.
Although motorsport doesn’t have the most environmentally friendly credentials, in many areas it is becoming more efficient with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) providing a good example.
Well known because it is used in Formula 1, this is a system for recovering a moving vehicle's kinetic energy under braking.
The recovered energy is stored in a reservoir - a flywheel or a battery- and then redeployed under acceleration.
We are also seeing changes to motorsport regulations which will see engines changing from the current high revving V8s to smaller V6 turbo charged motors in the future.
This will bring them more into line with the developing trend in the road car market making the sharing of successful technologies even easier, and therefore more frequent.
On the basis that the competitive nature of motorsport generates vehicle improvements across the board, the Electric Vehicle Cup is also an interesting initiative.
As the world's first 'green' motor racing series based totally around zero emission electric cars, it is hoped that over time, the teams can drive improvements, especially in vehicle range.
Most of the mainstream motor manufacturers compete in the prominent motorsport categories and so the scope of motorsport is broad.
It’s a fair bet that you can expect to see the best of these systems influencing your road cars in the very near future and why not, if they prove winners on the track, I’m sure they can deliver benefit on our roads.
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.