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Better race car noise: Wailing engine or straight-cut gears?

Jeff Glucker December 5, 2018 All Things Hoon 6 Comments

The right engine note can make your eyes roll back in your head, your mouth open ever so slightly, and your heart beat faster. It hits you in your chest. There’s a wave to the action, and it starts as you hear the race car on a distant part of the circuit. That sound draws closer as the drivers works their way through the course and it all builds up until the moment the car flies on by. But the sound lingers as the car disappears from your view.

A proper race car engine note is a truly wonderful thing. But I also find myself addicted to the whine and wail from straight-cut gears. Am I alone here? Hop the jump for a video showing what I’m talking about.

Listen to that BMW above. That noise is wild. Imagine pairing that with a supercharger race motor and you’d have a duet announcing your arrival at the gates of hell. The Devil himself would stand at attention and then bow as your oversteered your way into his immortal arena.

So which is more appealing to you? The raucous roar of a proper race engine or do you pine for the whine from straight-cut gears?

Pine for that whine or revel in the raucous?

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  • The answer is BOTH. Enter V8 Supercars

    • Tiller188

      Can’t really argue with that one. I still remember the sound pack for a particular car from when I was first trying out the racing sim rFactor (and the various mods I quickly collected for it). It was an MG-Lola EX264 LMP car which at startup and idle sounded like it had an exceedingly mean V8. That was already awesome, but when I dumped the clutch, all of a sudden there was all this gear whine overlaid on it! Didn’t expect that, and it kinda really made that car for me.

      One of my favorite combined engine-and-geartrain sound clips:


  • Zentropy

    Straight-cut gears sound obnoxious. No thanks! It’s all about music from the engine.

  • Tiller188

    I do also like the sound of straight-cut gears, but I think I’m more of an engine note guy — more complexity to the sound, and I’m sure that in person that gear howl would get piercing and obnoxious fast. That being said, there are few things that yell “racecar!” as effectively as the whine and off-throttle judder of straight-cut gears.

    [Ultimately I ended up going with rumblestrip’s answer; see reply below]

  • Texlenin

    The old Hartley H-1 v8, before they discontinued it, has a sound that I found particularly blood chilling

  • ptschett

    I lean more toward engine note. I can sit and listen to onboards from Corvettes running around Le Mans for hours.*


    *(…and now I’m trying to remember: that time I was at the home of a friend of a friend, we were challenging each other with video games and I got further around Le Mans on a first try with a simulated Mazda 787 than they’d ever seen anyone do: was it before or after I got this habit?)