There is nothing quite like the thrill of racing. Pushing yourself and your car to the limit has been the pursuit of motorists since the car’s invention. This desire to go faster and harder materializes in the cars that are rolling off the factory line. All cars boast a highest top speed, a faster engine and more horsepower. This quest for speed and power is simply to quench that thrill of high speed driving.
We all watch Formula 1 races and Nascar. We all think we could have a good go at it. Even on the road we like to pretend we’re in a race, overtaking the slow cars. We love to push the top speeds of the quiet motorway. There are places for people like us. Race days and track days are available to any member of the driving public. Turn up with your own car and you’re free to throw it around a track or airfield at high speeds.
These track days are a real thrill. However, if you don’t have the right car, you won’t get the exhilaration you want. Worse, you might do massive damage to your road car. Racing puts a heavy pressure on your wheels, steering and engine. The good news is that your car can be modified. You can improve the car’s handling, power and performance with a few easy tweaks. Follow these rules for a much faster and better handling motor.
If you’re driving a relatively new car, chances are it comes with a performance chip already included. This performance chip is an electronic monitor that alters the performance of your car as you drive. They control everything from your air-fuel ratio, speed and rev limiters and ignition. These a pre-programmed on your road car for everyday driving. They prioritize economy and efficiency over power. They limit your top speeds and make the fuel consumption more economical. If you want to go fast and hard, the performance chip is a reign holding back your car. Get rid of it.
Installing your own performance chip is a simple process. You can pick one up from most garages and a quick internet search will turn up plenty of options. You then programme the chip yourself. Remove any speed and rev limiters and increase the air intake. This gives you much more power from your engine. In many cases, it’s not that your engine isn’t good enough. It’s just that it’s being held back.
With racing, all the speed comes from the braking. That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s entirely true. Your top speed means nothing if you can’t brake late and take turns as sharply as possible. The speed with which you take corners is the key to a fast lap time. You need to brake as late as possible. It’s pointless having a high top speed if you have to brake well before you ever reach it.
Install disc brakes, if your car doesn’t already have them. Check them regularly and make sure they aren’t wearing down. Replace brake pads if they show signs of wear. Braking on worn pads can do catastrophic damage to your car.
Of course, speed and braking is nothing if your tyres aren’t up to the challenge. You can race on your regular road tyres, so long as you keep them in perfect condition. They need to be grippy and responsive. Make sure the tread is well over 2mm before you race. This will provide you with the grip and safety needed to race cars. You should also keep the tyres at the optimum and advised tyre pressure. This specific pressure level exists to get the best performance and life out of your tyres and cars.
If you do want to step it up here, consider replacing the tyres with slicks or racing tyres. You’ll have to do your own research here as certain tyres aren’t always a good match for certain cars.
The way your car handles is the key to fast lap times. Late braking and perfect handling in the corners will win races. If your current road car is slow to turn, you’ll have problems making those high speed corners count. That’s because the steering boxes in road cars aren’t designed for high speed cornering. They have a lower steering ratio. A simple replacement is easy. The current steering box can be removed and the new one bolted in in no time. Now you take those corners later, knowing that you are still in control.
Bushings are the bearings that hold all the moving parts of your car together. They ensure the slick performance of everything around the engine. When all of those parts work perfectly, you’ll get the most efficiency and power from you vehicle. These are super cheap to replace. Even the cheapest option will be better than the standard bushings in your car. If you can’t afford to do anything else to your car, do this.
You may wonder why we’ve put the engine so far down the list on a racing article. Engine upgrades and mods are important to be a part of The Smart Future. However, without the brakes, steering and tyres to handle the extra power, it is pointless upgrading it. Once you’ve got everything else in place, it’s time to up the horsepower.
Combustion engines work by dragging air (oxygen) and fuel into the engine. The combination of the two combines to produce kinetic energy which powers the car. No surprise then, that with more air intake, the faster this process can occur. The faster the car can go. Superchargers pressurize the air intake. That means the engine can suck in more and more oxygen. The engine can produce energy faster. Superchargers can add up to 50% more horsepower to your car.
Again, it’s all about getting more air into your engine. Not only that, but it’s about getting clean air into the engine. If the oxygen is accompanied by dust particles and dirt, it isn’t as efficient. Upgrading your air filters will provide a much cleaner flow of oxygen into the engine.
There you have it. Try to limit the modifications to things that improve the car as a whole. Some modifications – like bodywork and weight reduction – can reduce the possibility of resale. Not everyone wants a modified car. However, you can add speed, power and handling to your car without too much cost.
Latest posts by Luke Peters (see all)
- 10 Ways to Ruin Your Car’s Paint Without Knowing It - November 2, 2020
- 10 Things to Look for While Buying a Used Car - July 23, 2019