Auto racing is a passion for many people, and like most popular sports a specialized language has grown up around it. This is common in situations where technical terms are often used, and those unfamiliar with the science of racing often shorten these words and phrases through frequent use.
Are you unsure of the meaning of the word “chicane” or other racing related terms? The Glossary at Autoracing.com is your online dictionary to the language of racing, providing you with a useful list of specialized words and terms relating to auto racing, along with their definitions. Use the Glossary at Autoracing.com as a handy reference tool. The terms have been listed in alphabetical order for your convenience. Why not bookmark this page – should you come across an unfamiliar term you can return here for quick reference.
Apex – The part of a turn at its center where the car is turning most sharply. The apex is usually the slowest part of the turn; the car slows down into the apex and then accelerates out of it.
CART – Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) is the sanctioning body of the FedEx Championship Series.
Chassis – The basic frame/structure of a racecar to which all other components are attached.
Chicane – A sudden sequence of serpentine turns found at the end of a long, high-speed straightaway that forces drivers to reduce their speed so that the car can be maneuvered into the next part of the course.
Crew Chief – The lead mechanic who makes decisions or implements changes to the car before and during a race.
Displacement – The total volume of air-fuel mixture that an engine is theoretically capable of drawing into all cylinders during one combustion cycle.
Drafting – The relative vacuum left in the trail of any fast-moving car that can often “pull” trailing cars forward by reducing the drag caused by wind resistance. Drafting enables a trailing driver to save fuel.
Drag – A term used in auto racing that relates to anything that causes wind resistance or affects the aerodynamics of air flow over the race car.
Groove – The unseen “line” that provides the fastest way around a racecourse or racing circuit. The groove is not a fixed point or “trajectory” as it may change during a race. The groove may depend on such factors as temperature and moisture, as well as oil, water and rubber deposited on the track during a race – all of which impact race conditions to various degrees.
Horsepower – A unit that measures the relative strength or pulling force of an engine. In its simplest terms, one horsepower equals approximately 33,000 foot-pounds per minute.
Methanol – Pure methyl alcohol used as fuel in all Indy Racing League cars.
NASCAR – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body of American stock car racing. The three racing series currently overseen by NASCAR include the Sprint Cup Series (formerly the Winston Cup Series), the Camping Word Trucks Series and the Nationwide Series.
Pace Car – A Pace Car is the car that leads the field of auto racers around the track prior to the official start of the race. Typically modified and decorated production cars, pace cars sometimes feature celebrity drivers who either ride in the pace car or on occasion drive it.
Pit Stop – During a race, a driver may leave the race track and enter the off track area known as the “pit lane”. Once the car is stopped at the team’s designated location, the car may be repaired, examined, adjusted or refueled.
Pole Position – The favored position when the race begins. The pole position is located on the inside of the front row. The driver with the fastest qualifying time is awarded the pole position and the cars are lined up from the pole in order of the fastest to the slowest qualifying lap times.
Yellow Flag – The Yellow Flag signifies “caution” during a race and is usually waved to signal that an accident has taken place or debris (such as gasoline, oil or parts) remains on the track after a crash. Cars are required to slow down and not to pass while the hazard is being cleared.
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The sport of motor racing has thrilled thousands ever since it first began. It wasn’t long after the first ‘horseless carriages’ had been invented and improved upon that the idea of pitting the strengths of different designs, and the skills of drivers, against one another in a race was conceived. The first organized racing event was in actual fact a Reliability Trial run which took place between Paris and Rouen in 1894. The winning vehicle had to, not only cross the finish line first, but had to be safe, easy to control and reasonably economical to run. The first over the line was Count de Dion, but his vehicle was deemed impractical and the prizes were awarded to the next two cars instead. The winning average speed was only 17km/h but the event gave birth to a new craze – motor racing.
As designs continued to be improved upon, the new sport saw a continued increase in cylinders and engine size. The addition of the pneumatic tire was impractical at first but soon gained popularity. Chassis design changed radically and new brake and tire designs struggled to keep up. And as soon as one design became the winning standard, other car manufacturers would strive to improve upon these to bring their own names into the lime-light. By the early 1900s car speeds were approaching 100mph and races where held on open roads, where both drivers and spectators where often involved in bad accidents. Eventually in 1906 the very first Grand Prix for manufacturers was held by the French. The race took place on a 64 mile course which was lapped six times a day for two days.
It did not take long for other countries to follow suit. Germany became a popular place for racing and their Mercedes motorcars often dominated the scene. The Alfa of Italy and the Fiat and Peugeot of France rose to the challenge, and soon they claimed supremacy for themselves. Because of the dangers involved in racing on public roads, wealthy enthusiasts soon started building oval racing circuits which became very popular. An attempt was made to counteract the dangers of the sport by increasing the rules and regulations surrounding the event. Eventually a recognized and standardized racing sport emerged and much of these standards are still maintained in the motor racing sporting events of today.
Although the British built the AC Cobra that came to the forefront in 1960, it wasn’t the first vehicle that combined the V8 engine with an aluminum body and a light European chassis, but it was most certainly the most famous. The later models with bigger engines were among the road vehicles sold, that performed the highest.
The AC Cobra 427, was produced in two forms. There was a commercial vehicle, that featured dual carburetors, an under exhaust, a glove box and a relatively tame engine. The other however, did not feature the practical glove box, but had a stripped interior, revised suspension and a completely different layout of its instruments. The latter, was built for racing, and had a one carburetor powerful engine, wide fenders, a roll bar and its exhausts were on the side. Carroll Shelby, producer of the AC Cobra’s, was left with many of the racing versions. Shelby renamed the vehicles to Cobra 427 SC (Super Competition) and sold them to the public. Today, the SC models are the most valuable vehicles to collectors, and sell for millions.
The production of the AC Cobra 427/428, started in 1964, with the building of the Cobra 427. It was the most powerful car that had entered production, and would become the legend that dreams were made of. The chassis and the suspension had to be redesigned for these cars, to be able to cope with the massive increase of power and other changes. It boasted a seven liter Ford V8 engine and in standard form, the vehicle was capable of 400bhp, which could be increased even further, for racing purposes.
A 428 engine was later used, but the power remained virtually the same. The legendary AC Cobra 427/428 would be written into the history books because of it unbelievable acceleration capabilities and handling characteristics that could make anyone’s hair stand up right! In 1965, Shelby sold the Cobra name to Ford. Many replicas of the AC Cobra 427/428 can still be seen today, and many car enthusiasts still dream of being behind the wheel of this powerful muscle car.
Out of sight should not be out of mind in auto racing! Most auto racing enthusiasts know that what lies under the hood matters, but what about the systems under the chassis. Brakes and transmission occupy much of our attention, and some car racing fans spare the occasional thought for suspension. However, how about your muffler and exhaust system? When was the last time you took a look? Do you know what a new muffler and exhaust can do for you?
A muffler and exhaust system may look boring, and all brands tend to look deceptively similar from the outside. The truth is that great innovation goes in to the design and construction of the best mufflers and exhausts. Top brands can make a world of difference to motor sports and to your driving pleasures as well. Should auto racing enthusiasts worry about such mundane matters?
Mufflers and exhaust directly affect engine temperatures. This translates in to better performance in terms of torque and acceleration. Proper exhaust extends engine life by reducing wear and tear, and you get better fuel economy to boot. You will be in for pleasant surprises when you test drive your old car with a new exhaust and muffler system, and when you fill up at the gas station as well!
Claims of rival manufacturers about the patented pr special features of their muffler and exhaust technologies can leave the non-engineering graduate car enthusiast baffled. Everyone says that their products work better, and that they use superior grades of components and materials. Who do you believe? Enter NASCAR! Opt for official specifications, take what NASCAR recommends in to account, and check out what your favorite team does. You can be sure that no NASCAR championship uses a poor muffler and exhaust system.
Your problems are not over even after you have chosen a muffler and exhaust brand. Where will you get the best price? Are you sure you will not be duped? Will the system your car needs be in stock. Will the online store deliver in time? Can you get a part of the wholesale discount? All these worries fade away when you become a regular at the web site of a reputed dealer in NASCAR approved parts. So start browsing now, and find that muffler and exhaust system which will give you a new driving experience, and useful fuel and repair savings as well!