The Tire

Will the tire ever be replaced? I have found myself asking that question more often lately. At first, I thought I was being ridiculous: “Of course it won’t be! You don’t honestly believe in Jetson-like transportation, do you?!” While nothing would be as awesome as flying cars and what not, I decided to run with the idea of what would replace the tire. Recently, I saw a small, demonstrative video of the future tire: it was as sphere. It contained magnetic materials that allowed the car to levitate upon the tire itself thus making for a smooth, efficient ride. It was quite bizarre but interesting nonetheless! While this may be an impractical solution, I don’t see replacing the tire as a waste of time and thought process.

Tires and the friction made by tires upon the surface of the road wield great influence over fuel emissions, speed, safety, and road infrastructure. Replacing the tire could mean a great increase in fuel efficiency and safety whilst traveling. It would also drastically change motorsports and the way car enthusiasts enjoy driving their vehicle. However, one of the biggest changes would be the type of roads and travel infrastructure as pavement could become obsolete. By changing the tire, the entire automobile would change, the way we enjoy them could change, and the actual world and environment in which we drive them would change. Replacing the tire would mean reworking the car and, in some sense, the world. What do you think? Let me know!

 

Drive Spiritedly.

 

-JRB

From Race-Car to Your Car – What is the Connection?

For the past several days, I have been entertaining myself with various questions related to the automotive world. Usually these questions lead to nothing more than my tediously drooling over certain vehicles on the internet that I will never have the pleasure of owning, let along drive. But, along my rapid questioning covering a certain vehicle segment, I decided to gather some information from others as to their thoughts. Besides, more input from other points of view can really add depth and clarity to a discussion, even if that discussion started off as a mere wonder.

As I began discussing sport and performance in today’s market with a friend of mine yesterday and today, the discussion lead to the racetrack. What is the relationship between the track and the road? What is the relationship between those highly-tuned, screaming race machines and our conventional road-car? These were the questions that lead to other discussions as to motor-sport history, motor-sport race types, etc…

Essentially, as I firmly believe, the new technology used and developed for the track eventually trickles down into the cars we drive everyday. At least that is what I believe should be the aim of those companies that take part in racing. Examples that came to mind immediately were the new Audi autos, the Corvette, a Porsche here and there, the BMW M-Cars, and the new Mercedes-Benz models. While there are many, many other vehicles and brands that take part in racing, these handful are some of the most lusted-for vehicles on the planet at the moment. Audi has dominated Le Mans basically since the year 2000, the Corvette seems unstoppable in Grand-AM and ALMS (American Le Mans Series), Porsche used to own Le Mans and still participates in several Cup-Car, Le Mans-style series, and other championships with a lot of success, BMW basically stomps everyone in DTM racing and has the touring-car thing down to a “t” since they basically invented it, and Mercedes-Benz AMG has absolutely obliterated the competition this year in Formula 1. How do those cars we see on Sunday sell cars on Monday? Is there even a connection? Which race series provides a better test-bed for road-car production?

As my friend and I pondered and discussed these questions, we realized that there are many companies that make fantastic cars that are not bred on the track. But in all honesty, the breeding and testing on the track helps the production models in some area. A great performer on the road does not necessarily have to be conceived on the track with tons of engineers, but every car bred on the track is a great performer. Basically its one of those situations similar to “that every Bourbon is a Whiskey, but not every Whiskey is a Bourbon” kind of things.

Le Mans-style racing is all about endurance, fuel management, durability; F1 is all about speed, grip, tire testing, engine building, etc…; and DTM is all about the “rub” while trying to out-maneuver your opponent. These are just 3 of the most popular types of racing today (sorry NASCAR, but snooze for me), but they each have some sort of development that has trickled down to their production models if they so have them.

What do you think? Do you agree with the concluded assessment? I would like to hear from you! Thanks for reading and enjoy!

 

– JRB, Editor-in-Chief of The Spirited Drive