Have you ever wondered what the future of auto racing will be in the next 20, 50 or 100 years? It’s something that I have thought about extensively as a futurist in many aspects. Much like how drivers today are significantly different than those of the past years, I believe that the driver of the future will have undeniably fast cars reaching speeds of up to 300+ miles per hour, with stunning race tracks which showcase the ability for a vehicle to reach those speeds.
Although many have speculated the possibly of automated machines driving, I believe this would take away from the sport of racing. It’s about drivers risking their lives for a shot at the championship. What would be the point of having artificial intelligence controlling the car? Now, if there was some sort of system that could tell drivers specifics about the vehicle in real time, that would be pretty awesome. Imagine you’re debating on whether to take the lead and your heart rate begins to skyrocket. You feel light headed, dizzy and unsure as you reach speeds in excess of 250 mph. A voice comes over your headset. “Remember your breathing. In through your nose, out through your mouth.” It would be like an awesome version of JARVIS, monitoring your vitals and coaching you while your crew monitors the vehicle remotely.
Speaking of the driver’s health, I would imagine in order to become a driver in the years to come will begin to get more rigorous. Today’s drivers experience roughly 4.7 G’s while in a 230mph turn in a modern car. That’s a calculation of the radius of the turn, with the speed of the car. So say if we were in the not so distant future, with drivers taking turns at 320 mph. With tracks becoming more advanced to handle vehicle speed, and imagining tires with enough grip to pull this off, you could technically take a 1050 turn radius, with a G-force load of 6.9 G’s. To put that into perspective, 1 G is equal to the earth’s gravity. At 6.9 G’s, your body will experience the equivalent of 7 times its body weight. So for someone like myself, weighing 185lbs, in this futuristic set up I would bank that corner with 1,288 lbs. of force applied to my body, with 76-96 lbs. of force pulling my head to the side. Ouch.
Now G’s in that respect are survivable, but there are several other factors which decided whether it’s deadly or not. A slap across your face could generate a high G force amount, and won’t kill you. But if you subject yourself to 12+ G’s over a period of a minute or two, it will absolutely kill you. The only determining factor in which would guarantee your survival will depend on the track smoothness.
With what the future could bring in the realm of auto racing, you could also see bigger and more daring tracks built specifically for the purpose of the sport. The tracks will have to be incredibly smooth to ensure the amount of force applied to the drivers during their runs as to reduce vibration. What does vibration have to do with G force? A whole heck of a lot. If the track isn’t smooth, and your shocks and tires cause unnecessary vibration, at those speeds it will most certainly jar your organs and connective tissues out of wack, ensuring internal bleeding and other medical issues could occur just from driving, not from accidents. Don’t get me started on accidents in this scenario…
Surely, we have a lot more research to accomplish these feats of great automotive racing in the future, but I’m incredibly excited for what it could bring in advancements for science and technology.