How fast is too fast ????

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by FLATOUTRACING, Jul 1, 2004.


Will race cars become faster than humans can pilot them ?

  1. No, regulations will not permit this

  2. Yes, but advances in technology will take over more of the duties

  3. We have already approached this level for some on the F1 grid

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    Aug 20, 2001
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.
    All this debate about if the cars are too fast ignore one item. At what point can even the most superhuman racers with god given ability fail to be able to be able to control speed.

    In other words at what point, and will it ever be reached, that a driver, for example coming out of a corner experiences oversteer but cannot humanly respond quick enough even with the world's greatest skill (MS of example).

    Will we ever reach this point or will advances in technolgy allow for cars to get faster and handle that which the human response cannot handle (traction control, launch control, for example).

    Will race cars reach beyond the ability of humans to control them or will regulations limit this?


    Jon P. Kofod
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  3. Challenge

    Challenge Formula 3

    Sep 27, 2002
    Full Name:
    Good question Jon. Didn't this become a problem in the late '60's? LeMans comes to mind with 230+mph straights. Of course, technology has changed, but what could engineers come up with to assist a driver with keeping it "between the lines" I wonder?

    Speaking of high speed, I need to email you re: spec miatas. Just a lot going on right now...


    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
    Victory Circle
    Full Name:
    Was it last year at TX Speedway that CART drivers were passing out from too many G's ? Seems we are already near that point but regs keep backing the speeds down


    Aug 20, 2001
    East Coast
    Full Name:
    Jon K.

    Good point I had forgotten about Texas. Yes they were getting dizzy and some were complaining of tunnel vision.

    My point was more about road courses and F1 but the IRL is a good example.

    Just this past weekend an NHRA drag racer was killed at over 320 mph.


    Email me when you have time. I am going to be racing a Spec Miata in SCCA at the end of the season and am also part of a team that will be racing one in the 12 Hours at the Point (Summit Point) in 05.


  6. jimangle

    jimangle Formula 3

    Nov 5, 2003
    Full Name:
    I remember the cart drivers were complaining about the G's. One driver spoke out saying he was feeling dizzy after a few laps, then all the drivers came out and said that they were feeling dizzy as well and that they were not comfortable on the track. It came to be that the drivers were experiencing something like 3.5g's around the banked turns. There's no way they'd be able to keep that up for 500 miles. It turns out they cancelled the race.
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  8. Mark(study)

    Mark(study) F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 13, 2001
    Clearwater, FL
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    Tech can always find ways to make higher speeds more safe.
    But drivers can only handle so many G's
    The problem in Texas was Lateral G's and Vertical G's as the Driver was pushed out by the lateral G's the Vertical G's push him down into the seat.

    This is why we are seeing a lot of development on the next fighter jets that are un-manned. Without the human limits of G's, engineers can continue to make faster fighter jets.
  9. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002

    This is a silly question. I mean really guys... think about it. If a driver is pushing the car to the point of losing control, or losing conciousness... then he is BEYOND 10/10ths. Any driver in any racecar can today go out and try to drive 11/10th and crash his racecar.

    Every racecar has its limit. Perhaps, as in the scenario about Texas World Speedway, that limit is ultimately reached as a function of the drivers physiology. That has long been the case with fighter jets. The new Russian Su-37 with vectored thrust is capable of manoevers that could risk killing the pilot but the airframe could take it. Thus, the plane gives the pilot the reality of manoevering on HIS limit and not being limited by what the aircraft can or wont do. If the pilot can take throwing the plane into a high speed cobra manoever that pulls 20+g.... fine. IF not... oooooooops. The BEST pilot will be the one who knows his limitations and is able to ride that razors edge for extended time without falling off!

    It has been and will be the same with racecars. The performance may indeed reach a point where 10/10ths is defined by the drivers physical limitations. Thats ok by me. The basic reality of racing will not have changed: The driver who will win is that driver who can ride that razors edge of 10/10ths for the longest period without going over.

    Does this not make for the best racing? Dont we really want it where its the drivers ability and individual limitations that set where 10/10ths is found and not just the vehicle? Have we not seem this type of physical limitation before?

    Read about the 1956 Argentine GP. All the Ferrari team drivers had to come in and swap out drivers due to the heat. Drivers were passing out. Drivers were slowing and stopping due to the heat. Fangio stayed out, endured the heat for 3+ hours and won the race. His physical 10/10ths.... and his dominant WILL.... overpowered his opposition and he won.

    When Mark Donohue was racing the 917/30 in Can-AM were we not at a point where technology was providing a car with capabilities that could exceed those of the driver? Remember how Donohue himself answered that question? ASked if the new 1200hp Porsche had enough horsepower to satisfy him he replied: "It will be enough horsepower when I can spin the wheels at will at the end of the straightaway". Amen.

    I WANT the cars to be faster than the drivers. Then we will see who the truely great drivers really are. I want F1 cars to place a full premium on driver skill, and thats what it boils down to when your really talking about the driver alone holding that car out there at 10/10ths for an extended period.

  10. Bill Sawyer

    Bill Sawyer Formula 3

    Feb 26, 2002
    Regulations have been holding speeds down for years. One of the reasons that the Indy 500 was so popular in the Fifties and Sixties is that new horizons were being conquered each year. Remember when Parnelli Jones cracked the 150 mph barrier? Not long after they were going 170+.

    Roger Penske seems to get most of the credit for bringing engineering discipline to the sport, but it was really the Ford Motor Company that brought on the revolution with their no-holds-barred, high budget attacks on Indy and Le Mans. Remember, Mark Donahue was a factory Ford driver and he learned his lessons well...

    The advent of team engineers, aerodynamicists and unlimited engineering budgets brought us to a point where the cars are so refined within the confines of the technical package that it costs millions to gain a fraction of a second.

    If you want to bring the excitement back to the sport, change the regulations to allow new thinking. If Formula One suddenly adopted a front-engine formula, or if hybrid cars were allowed in the Indy 500, you'd see some original thinking that would bring fans in by the droves, at least until the engineers crack the code again. Then you've got to fiddle with the rules and get the ball rolling in another direction.

    All of racing--not just NASCAR--has focused on the 'show' because the speeds we are capable of running (if the engineers were allowed to go wild)are beyond the capabilities of drivers AND TRACKS.
  11. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Oct 3, 2002
    @ the wheel
    Full Name:

    It is not a question of whether the cars get too fast for the drivers (reason see above), but whether they become too fast for the track they're running on. That is the real problem and F1 is (yet again) reaching that limit. We were there at the end of the turbo era and we're approaching it again. Time to restrain the cars.

    Ban the aeros, bring on only one tire manufacturer!
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  13. smsmd

    smsmd Karting

    Nov 12, 2003
    San Jose, California
    Full Name:
    Steven Scates MD
    I think it was in R and T several years ago where the tecnical F1 director was asked a similar question, in the form of "What could technology do now if we released the regulations except for size and weight?"

    He said technology could already surpass the limits of humans to stay conscious, with top speeds of at least 280mph on current tracks and cornering at 7 Gs. He pointed out how light a 1500hp helicopter turbine is and said it could be adapted to the car.

  14. colo348

    colo348 Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    Full Name:
    In an article I read out of F1 magazine new 2005 regulations, if they are implemented, look to really reduce the speed, make the sport more affordable (I don't get this one,whatever) and even the playing field. A couple of the new regs:
    1. V8 engines with no more than 4 valves/cylinder
    2. Manual transmission and clutch
    3. More steel and less exotic metals
    Lets see what happens. I'm sure the sport will continue to be exciting regardless of the rules and regulations.

  15. tifosi12

    tifosi12 Four Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Oct 3, 2002
    @ the wheel
    Full Name:
    I'd welcome all of these. And ban the aeros and have one spec tire.

    The engineers will still find ways to make the cars go fast again and the arms race will continue. But racing will be a bit less dangerous and more entertaining. Whether it will cost less is debatable, but that's not something I care about.

    BTW: Currently huge amounts of time, effort and $$$ are spent because of the tire war. With one spec tire a lot less time would need to be spent on testing. Michael Schumacher was asked how he would feel about an extension to 20 races per season and he said he would be perfectly fine with that as long as testing goes down. From a fan perspective I couldn't agree more. More racing, less testing, yahoo!

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