Monday, March 23, 2009

V8 Supercars get mangled

Watching the debut round of the Australian V8 Supercars championship this weekend reminded me of one particular aspect of these cars:

When V8 Supercars crash, they produce the most mangled wrecks in all of racing.

Most race cars these days are made with copious carbon fibre or aluminium chassis and body panels. Not V8 Supercars... these things are steel, and when they crash they warp and bend in the most magnificent way. Making things even more gnarly is the fact that unlike NASCAR which also uses steel panels and chassis, V8 Supercars are derived from production bodyshells as opposed to tubular space frames, so there's a whole shitload of production-formed steelwork underneath too. The good news for teams is that this means they (and local bodyshops) can do much of the crash repairs themselves using welding and normal metalforming techniques including bringing out big hammers. One of the joys of V8 Supercars is watching crew members wail on the cars with massive hand tools after a car has made contact with another car or with the scenery.

With such massive grids, fuelled by Aussie-man macho driving styles, the opportunities to watch steel get formed into new and bizarre shapes are frequent...

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