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Racetrack plan shatters quiet life in France...

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I counted about 16 yestarday morning (what's the collective, squadron, fleet, armada?) led by the very stylish canard, fixed undercarriage job, although it was an assumption on my part they had either landed or taken off from Belves, as 15 minutes later every harley in France went past as well (I suppose they're V twins, but!..............), all that, and Le Mans too!!

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The crowds arriving and departing from the Castle Donnington circuit are huge - and on the way out the all try to emulate the drivers/riders they have been watching!  The M1 is on the doorstep - but can't imagine would be fun for little villages with small roads going through.  Wouldn't be great for small furry animals either.

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I don't remember villages on the way to Donington, but I haven't been for a while. The worst I have experienced (apart from Silverstone in the bad old days) was Rockingham, the first big meeting (the CART race). A nightmare - hours to get in and many more hours to get out, traffic queues through residential areas, which is unforgiveable. And the race, though very interesting, was a shambles.

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I live near to the Donington racetrack and I can only repeat what I've said before, the noise from the track and the traffic for it are not a real problem. Castle Donington itself and two other little villages lie between the racetrack and the M1. The police route the traffic carefully to avoid all the residential areas with small roads. Now when they used to have the Monsters of Rock concerts up there - that was intrusive and late at night.

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I have read all through this thread with some interest.

 As a motor sport affecianada  for many years, now rather detached from much interest, as the sport has, like so much, been turned into a money-driven business, I am constantly amazed at the acerbic criticism which emanates from those who quite clearly have no knowledge of the activity, yet burst forth with condemnations and complaints about noise and traffic congestion.


Presumably, these members have been waxing lyrical about traffic problems this week concerning Ascot?


The UK is littered with horse racing tracks and major meetings cause significant disruption to local residents up and down the country.

 Local football matches do the same: each and every week. In my home UK town, the football stadium is placed right within the urban conurbation and the noise, light pollution during evening matches and above all, cars, parked indiscriminately in local residential roads, already themselves congested beyond acceptability cause endless problems for residents: as does the PA system.


Next we have Wimbledon: huge crowds; loads of noise; total chaos for traffic and residents. The players are jerks; they spit and abuse the umpires and line staff. Ban it now!

 Local discos or “Clubs” as they now self- aggrandise themselves, cause endless civil disturbance, crime and anti-social behaviour, up and down the country. 


Since speculative builders accelerated their insatiable greed, up and down what was once a green and pleasant land, Johnny-Come-Lately residents have succeeded in shutting down some British race circuits and have forced the imposition of draconian use restrictions upon all the others.

 Now these new residents, of course, delight in their array of hugely noisy garden toys: strimmers; mulchers; lawnmowers; barbeques where they insist on placing speakers outside and play loud noise masquerading as music, with thudding sub-frequency notes guaranteed to penetrate house walls for long distance in all directions. Endless polluting 4 X 4s- all of course with stereo systems – and most houses have two and often three cars and their kids aren’t noted for their consideration of neighbours sanity!

 Then we have DIY: and the lovely sound emerging from hammer drills.


Interestingly, an old deceased friend was John Connell. Older members may well remember dear old John, standing on his soapbox (he was a tiny chap) in his bowler hat outside the Palace of Westminster, agitating for Government to recognise noise pollution. Thanks to John the Noise Abatement Act eventually came into being, after his Noise Abatement Society has achieved sufficient recognition.

 I am always irritated when I read about incomers to a rural idyll, subsequently whingeing about c o c k s crowing and the sound of church bells on Sunday mornings. If they don’t like country life, then why did they bloody well move there in the first place?

 Motor Sport has probably been the most misunderstood and under-recognised British activity since the early 1950s. Designers  such as Colin Chapman, John Cooper and Eric Broadley revolutionised automotive design. In the 1960s British race care car, gearbox, engine and tyre design set new benchmarks of advanced technology: most of which allowed modern road cars to be safer, quicker and more economical.


Whilst Chapman and Cooper are sadly no longer with us, a legion of designers and engineers in Britain who owe their skills to the earlier seminal work and thinking of the above engineers, now dominate the global race and high performance automotive sector, earning vast annual sums in exports, with little or no recognition for such achievements.

 It is no wonder that most foreign Formula One teams base their R & D and team managements in Britain.


Horse racing jockeys and trainers; footballers and team managers; athletes who only run one short distance; spotty coke snorting ersatz musicians of dubious social habit. Many have been knighted and or received honours.


Few motor racing stars have been so honoured and hardly any team managers or designers, despite their contribution to public good, automotive safety and the British economy, as well as the immense prestige and kudos which accrued to our country because of their work and often, sacrifice.

 Any hint of an event or project which involves motor cars of certain pedigree is certain to be greeted with the usual clichés, which spring from ignorance: they are nasty, noisy, smelly things which simply go round in circles.


Well, really, we could say the same about a rugby scrum and if you’ve never ever been in one I can assure it is an apt description!

Motor Racing circuits such as Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Thruxton and Snetterton (The last three were in fact bomber stations in WW II) were built in the middle of nowhere where they would cause little or no intrusion on neighbour’s lives. It is those who came afterwards who have created the problems.


Perhaps we also ought to ban airports like Heathrow and Gatwick, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and ports like Dover on the same basis?



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Ah, Gluey.[kiss]

Having just spent the best part of a week enjoying our local big event, whilst I'm aware that it is inconvenient for some of the businesses and homes on and around the roads which get closed (and have been "suffering" in that way for over seven decades, so it's hardly a shock) the one thing which strikes me is how much the local community welcomes the influx of a quarter of a million people every year.  They are not daft - they understand the commercial value of the event and many local businesses would suffer apalling financial hardship if it were ever stopped.

The list of inventions and technological improvements to the cars you all drive owes much to endurance and other forms of racing.  Fuel consumption has been lowered considerably for all of us, ABS, car safety, tyre technology, bio fuels, aerodynamics, overall reliablility and longevity of your average jalopy - the list is endless - owe so much to what goes on on the racetrack.

I guess most people reading this forum have never heard an Audi R10 go past at 200kph?  No, neither have I, but I've seen several![:D]

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Well said Coops and I'm with you 100%.

One little snippet sprung out on me though:

[quote user="cooperlola"]Fuel consumption has been lowered considerably for all of us [/quote]

Theoretically quite true of course but why is it I ask myself, despite all the technological advances in engine design and fuel delivery etc. etc. does the average family sized petrol car still only manage around 30mpg [8-)]

Of course we know the answers; weight and performance [:-))]

It's akin to battery technology as applied to laptop computers. As fast as the batteries get better the power demands go up so you have a seemingly perpetual ceiling of 2 to 3 hours life.


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Just to give an idea of what we owe to motorsport.  Here is a rally bred car which was involved in a high speed motorway accident last week.


The occupants were partying 24 hours later with nothing worse than a cracked rib between them.  A few years ago they would have been corpses without the safety innovations due to technology developed in motoracing.  And I doubt if S/D would still be posting on this forum either.

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Right on the button JE!

I well remember when the late great Jim Clark stuffed one of Chapman's latest then unique monocoque F1s at Monaco: high speed and straight into the barrier.

As Clark said at the time, in an earlier spaceframe car he would not have walked away............

I saw Mike "The Pipe" Hailwood stuff a Lola F 5000 at Brands, the quick bit after Kidney where the GP course came away from the club circuit. I was hovering on the bridge, trying to avoid the eye of the course security guys who always moved one on!

This was just after the deformable "Pontoons" on either side had been brought in for extra safety. Something broke (suspension) and the car simply careered at top speed sharp left and whacked into the Armco. Mike just got out and walked away.

As you say, all modern car drivers owe their inner safety cocoon to race technology.

What always irritates me when this argument rears it ugly head once more, is the absolute number of fans and enthusiasts, compared to such as horse racing and football, e.g.

All forms of motor sport (bikes, cars, rallying, short circuit, speedway etc) draw huge annual crowds. It's a few years since I checked the stats, but with the vastly increased public awareness of and interest in F1 and saloons, I would guess that the numbers have increased considerably now.

From the turn of the last century, Britain has always enjoyed a love-hate relationship with motor cars and competition: to the point where pre World War Two, all the best drivers and engineers had to move to continental Europe to achieve much.

Yet despite this, time after time British companies and engineers and enthusiasts conquered this apathy and angst and performed so far above expectation. The Bentley Boys; Jaguar and Ecurie Ecosse at Le Mans: the list is endless.

About time some of this effort was recognised and received its due accolades.


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Not belittleling the safety advances but some of it's it's not altogether new. I'm thankful that even back in the 70's the designers of the MGB seemed to have a pretty good grasp on front crumple zones, witness the result of 'T boning' a Renault Laguna at 60mph+ a few years ago [:-))] 


Despite the car being some 12" shorter than it began both doors opened perfectly I walked away with nothing more then a bruise from the seat belt. Had the chassis deformation not busted the starter motor I'm certain the engine would have still started and I could have driven it, albeit only in a straight line !


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Agreed, Ernie: Mercedes cars were from memory the first to introduce the concept of a "Crumple Proof" inner cell, followed by Volvo, in the late 60s.

Made 'em a pig to repair!

What F 1 did add was the concept of gradually deforming structures, rather than a much stronger inner cell, which meant that the kinetic energy was gradually dissapated through an increasingly stronger structure the further it went back.

The difference between the sort of instant deceleration a heavy chassis and body underwent, to the gradual deceleration of a monocoque massively reduced human injuries in RTAs.

Perhaps more than any other safety considerations, the collapsable steering column which telescoped in on itself, rather than speared the driver and ensuring that the engine-gerabox unit didn't jump off its mounting and smash back onto the driver and front seat passenger's legs, were seminal.

What racing car design did add to mainstream automotive design, was the advanced use of monocoque (or to use US Ford terminology, Unit Construction) chassis-body, which was a clear Chapman concept, following aviation design. Chapman of course being primarily a Stress Engineer.

Chapman also introduced the concept of the engine being a stressed member and thus part of the chassis, with suspension loads being taken out through the transaxle-engine. This was a fundamental aspect of the Cosworth engine powered Lotus 49 in 1967, which Chapman had partially developed on earlier series of monocoques from the type 27 and type 32, from 1963 onwards.

(For the anoraks, Unit Construction was introduced by both Ford and Vauxhall, following their US parents in the early 50s; for example, the Ford Consul and Zephyr Mk I were Unitary as were the Vauxhall Wyvern and later Velox. All UK mass-manufacturers including BMC, Austin, Rootes Group et al followed suit: Jaguar MkV, XK120-150; Rolls and Bentley, Alvis and all quality cars continuing with a chassis until much later).

Chapman also focused attention on suspension and steering design, after he re-designed such as the Vanwall for Tony Vandervall.

Tyre technology owed its whole improvements to racing: anyone like myself old enough to remember how frightening aquaplaning cross-ply tyres could be, realises just how far things have come!


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There is a lot of thought now that current F1 cars, in carbon, are too strong and the only part that is soft enough to take all the impact is the driver. There has been an increase in internal injuries, and there are complications if carbon dust gets into an open wound.

The ali' monocoques of the 60's and 70s folded well, and took out a lot of the force (unless you have a very violent accident like Francois Cevert, and the ali' tears).

Of course Voisin beat Chapman to the monocoque, and Lancia (the D50 although only semi stressed) and BRM (P115/83 and even the P261) beat Chapman to the stressed engine. I think Chapman even "borrowed" ground effect from BRM, and Chunky is probably the worst example to use for showing how strong cars can be, but...he certainly excelled at refining ideas.

Racing should improve the breed, but F1 technolgy rarely filters down these days!

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[quote user="f1steveuk"]Racing should improve the breed, but F1 technolgy rarely filters down these days!

We've discussed many of these aspects privately before, Steve and we have agreed that the current iteration of F1 is only about making the midget horror and his cabal even more billions...............

As you know, I am less than interested these days in any concern about computerised Go Kart drivers!

However whomsoever we attribute modern monocoques and unitary construction to, the fact does remain that gradually deformable structures save human injury.

I was again, recently, scanning my copy of Barré Lyndon's seminal work, "Grand Prix", published originally in 1935, which follows the whole (1935) season and recounts the awful fatal accident which befell the hugely talented driver, Guy Moll at Pescara. His heavy GP car went on and on for a considerable time before it came to rest.


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you can sum it up in one word, money (oe Ecclestone!)

Without doubt, more survive now, than would have, but it would be nice for some more benefits to appear on road cars. Still your right, I prefer the historic F1s to anything post 1985.

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