Imagine heading to work. You grab your keys, just like every other day, and head to your car to make the familiar commute. But unlike every other day, you’re driving a race car. You would rumble into work in a low, thunderous monster of a race car with roll-cage and all. Your colleagues could be wildly impressed, or most probably, confused and annoyed. Who cares? You’re driving a race car.
The problem with this fantasy though, is that race cars are made for racing. Driving a race car to work would be like putting a jet ski in a pool. Yes, it would technically work, but there would be no point other than saying “well, I did that.”
That being said, humans are nothing if not curious so we won’t blame you for wanting to know what it would be like to feel like Michael Schumacher for a day. But before you blow your kids’ college funds on something like this, take a look at why driving a race car to work is not the best idea.
Not Just Background Noise.
We’re not talking about the regular V6 rumble or the occasional screech of tyres. We’re talking about the kind of noise that doesn’t let you hear yourself think. All the sounds that wouldn’t bother you when you’re speeding around a track at 250km/h suddenly turn into a cacophony of annoying squeaks, bumps, and grinds when you drive at a legal speed.
You Won’t Be Stepping Out in Style
If you’ve been in a race car before, you’ll know that getting in and out of your car is no joke. If you haven’t, imagine trying to get out of a bucket after falling into it rear-end first. Between the cage, racing bucket seats and the harness, getting in and out without help takes some practice and at least a bare minimum level of fitness.
Seatbelt or Gordian Knot?
The people who complain about the unbelievable effort of clipping in a seatbelt have never been in a race car. A conventional seatbelt is child’s play compared to the Gordian knot that is a race car harness. A 5-point racing harness is hard to get out of, which is understandable to say the least. If it were easy, it wouldn't be safe. But you’re not racing around a track, you’re commuting to work at a ridiculous speed of maybe 70km/h. Once you're strapped in, you're in. Say goodbye to opening your own door. We guarantee that you’ll feel drastically less cool after having to ask your co-workers to help you out of your car.
Race cars are built for precision handling and impossible speeds, not comfort. The Grand Prix states that no race may be longer than two hours and while this might seem long compared to your 5-minute grocery trip, it’s a wildly different experience. When you’re going around a track, you’re filled with adrenaline that makes small things like an itchy seatbelt or cramped muscles seem unimportant. If the only adrenaline spike you get is when trying to parallel park on a busy road, you’re not going to have a good (read comfortable) time.
In addition to this, race cars don’t have the luxuries of a conventional car – no radio, no electric windows (or windows at all sometimes), and no extra space. Your race car's main purpose is to get you from A to B as fast as possible without killing you - that's it.
Throw Practicality to The Wind.
A fact about race cars that some people might not know, is that race car tyres heat up while going around the track due to the increased speed. This helps the tyres grip the track and make sharper, safer turns. This doesn’t happen when you’re going 60 km/h down a road so you, dear reader, do not have the traction that comes from hot tyres on a race track. The tyres are wider to grip the road, but they also lead to lower ride quality and higher fuel consumption. This means that race cars value performance over comfort and practicality.
Well, at least there would be no grocery bags in the backseat, because there is no backseat. As a matter of fact, there is no nothing other than the driver’s seat. If you take this into consideration along with the lack of features, a race car as an every day driver doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
You’ll Be Burning Cash, Not Rubber.
Race car drivers like Lewis Hamilton have countless willing sponsors who make their careers a possibility. They cover the costs of vehicle maintenance or replacement, racing suits, and track time. Conventional cars, on the contrary, are long-term investments. With proper care and maintenance, your car should be able to last you more than a decade. Race cars, however, aren’t meant for cross-country road trips. Enzo Ferrari explained it perfectly when he said that “the perfect race car disintegrates as it crosses the finish line.”
You probably won’t be replacing your hypothetical race car as often if you’re not burning it out on track days, but it certainly won’t last you as long as a conventional car. And trust us, race cars are not cheap at all.
What’s the Verdict?
We definitely don’t recommend using a race car as an everyday car. It's uncomfortable, unpractical, expensive and super illegal. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to let go of that dream completely. Our next article is all about tips from actual race car drivers that you can apply to your own driving. Not only could it improve your driving, but you can also hold onto a little piece of your racing fantasies.
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