Race on Sunday, sell on Monday, that’s long been the car maker’s dictum. For decades the racetrack has been the petri dish of automotive advancement, where sometimes brilliant discoveries are made; some on par with penicillin, others toe fungus. Today we’re most interested in those that made there be a fungus among us.
Racing is so competitive that every team, and each driver, strives for whatever it will take to push them the necessary inches needed for winning. Sometimes that calls for radical, and even comical extremes of engineering. Take, for example the Tyrell six wheeler – designed to take advantage of the lower frontal area afforded 4 smaller front tires, but still offering the grip the surface area of a pair of larger ones offers. It still looked like something out of Thunderbirds are Go!, and didn’t end up being much more than an addition to the F1 freak show. Or maybe consider the Chaparral Vacuum car, which stuck limpet-like to the track, but sprayed competitors behind with detritus like it was a Navy 50-cal. Each of these were good ideas gone bad.
And there are plenty of other examples – the Alfa-powered Brabham BT46 F1 car with its surface-mount radiators being one – that make you scratch your head in wonder. But while you’re busy scratching, take a minute to think which one was the most lame.
Image source: [missattitude.com]
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