Sprintcar speedway racing has been a part of motorsport history since the 1930s and the1940s when non-winged sprint cars started racing. The sport is split between winged and non-winged varieties. Sprint cars are a popular form of speedway racing in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the United States. It maintains its popularity in all of these countries and continues to push the boundaries of speed, traction and power to weight ratios.
What is a Winged Sprint Car?
The image of a winged sprint car for first-timers reveals weird things on the roof. However, if a spectator asks a few questions, they will understand that the wings have excellent usage. The wings on the front and the top of the car have several uses, including increased downforce. This results in better cornering, faster speeds and better traction. The wings are also used to improve the safety of the vehicle. Added downforce decreases the chance of the vehicle leaving the ground. The wings will crumble or be destroyed on impact, which creates a type of cushion against damages resulting from a crash. The wings are easily replaceable once an accident happens, so they are a significant part of the vehicle despite their unique look.
Winged sprint cars weigh about 1400 pounds (640kg) which includes the driver for the 410 sprint cars. The amount of power is over 900 horsepower. Winged sprint cars don’t use a transmission with an in or out gearbox, and gear changes are infrequent. Winged sprint cars do not have electric starters and keys must be used to start the vehicles.
The winged sprint cars didn’t come about until the early 1970s. Drivers started to put wings with sideboards on the front and top of cars. However, winged sprint cars had been developed as early as the late 1950s.
The Basics of Racing on a Speedway
There are many rules concerning the makeup of vehicles, protesting, procedures for racing and racing rules to prevent conflicts and safety issues. During a race, drivers can be disqualified for some things such as reckless driving, endangering other drivers and poor re-entry onto the track. Rules are extensive, and there is a flag system in place to advise drivers on any discrepancies.
The first winged sprint came about in 1978 with a new series called the World of Outlaws in the US and has continued to be the leading dirt sprint car racing series in the US. Australia followed and started the World Series Sprintcars in 1987. The Australian Sprintcar Championship has been held annually since 1979. New Zealand and South Africa also have their own unique and extensive history of winged sprint cars.
Winged sprint cars will continue to be an essential part of motorsport into the future as a loyal fan base and teams push the sport towards its betterment. The lack of traction on the speedway and high speeds require highly trained and dedicated drivers who put themselves in controlled danger every race. Crowds appreciate the risks and the skill of drivers.