16 October 2007 - 12:12Upside Down Racing League
Ah sigh, another of my brilliant ideas appears to have been had independently, further encouraging me to finally start writing them down.
Modern race cars (Formula 1 and Indy cars in particular) have wings and tunnels providing downforce, to increase traction. In fact, so much downforce that they could actually drive upside down. So why not an upside down racing league, or URL? Probably a big oval track with some kind of half-loops as ramps to get started. Such a track would be expensive to build, but seems to me to be completely plausible. The cars would have to be designed for this of course, as things like oil pumps are not usually built to run upside down. I remember reading in Popular Mechanics years ago about the twin-rotor helicopter that would be able to fly upside down, limited only by the oiling system. And obviously many piston powered airplanes can do it. It would also be hard on the drivers to sit upside down like that lap after lap. Perhaps cars would be designed to have the driver upright with the wheels above him.
I’m sure there would be a market for such racing. One problem is that everyone wants to see crashes at a race. The crashes on this track might be spectacular, but I envision the track being over water or a net or something to reduce deaths. And the crashes wouldn’t multiply–any car losing speed would just fall out of the way, leaving no debris on the track. But I still think it would be really cool to see and be technically challenging to the competitors. Hard to imagine much spin-off technology to street cars though.
And this would be much more feasible than my new idea for upside down sailboat racing….
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