Innovative technology has changed racing, but what about the cars we drive?

Motorsport companies plough billions into innovation for their team, and we have managed to unravel a couple which you may not have expected to be in your car

Disc brakes

First making an appearance in racing at the 24 Hours Le Mans, in the arches of Porsche. Disk brakes have been making appearances in production cars since the 1980’s.
Faster braking and without locking the steering, disk brakes were a vast improvement to the market. The technology hasn’t stopped advancing and Formula 1 teams have now started to improve with carbon fibre.

Carbon fibre chassis

Carbon fiber is five-times stronger than steel and twice as stiff, it is used throughout the transportation industry from hypersonic planes to Formula 1.
However, due to the high cost of the material is use in everyday cars is limited.

Rear-view mirror

“Check your mirrors” a phrase which we all know from either parents or our driving instructors. It may surprise you though that the rear view mirror originated in Formula 1 due to the fact that engineers realized that a rear mirror would allow drivers to block and brake check on corners. It originated in 1950s motor racing then went on to be one of most significant safety features on civilian vehicles.

AWD (All-wheel drive)

Audi originally brought this into racing in 1980 with their Quattro, assisting in both smooth road driving and the not so solid roads.Most SUV’s on the school run now use this technology, but its great to know that there was some real creative ingenuity around it.

Joypad steering wheels

These days all Formula 1 teams have a steering wheel with a million buttons which we know the reason, however there are still a few buttons which are held back from the public and other teams so the teams and drivers can share secret messages. Most road cars will have a more pedestrian use for the same model, whether it be an car stereo, or hands-free, it all stemmed from one place.

Active suspension

Active suspension does not take any prisoners on uneven surfaces and actively raises and lowers the chassis at each wheel to ensure better handling, improved traction and a smooth ride for the driver.Toyota were the first marque to take the technology to the road, with the 1983 Soarer, following Formula 1 turning the tech into the extreme embedding sensors to feed data and have the suspension react.

Semi-automatic gears

Porsche 962 in 1984 brought this innovation to light in Europe, enabling clutch-less shifting, it was the progenitor of the paddle gears that are now used in F1. Tying in the performance of manual transmission with the simplicity and mono tasking of an automatic, the direct shift gearbox and its various un-gated semi-automatic offspring obviously found a happy home in production cars.
Flappy paddles aren’t the industry standard they were predicted to be, however they are a popular optional extra on everything from Porsches to the Honda Jazz.