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“Ultimately, you can’t
put the genius back
in the bottle”
n 1901, Ferdinand Porsche designed the
first gasoline/electric hybrid road car, the
Lohner-Porsche Mixte, and it only took
another 111years for a hybrid to win the
24 Hours of Le Mans (RIGHT). Such is the
pace of progress! Still, when you consider
how long mankind relied its four-legged
friends for transport, automotive
engineering’s in warp-drive by comparison.
And it’s not slowing down. There’s a
misperception that advances in
technology are rarer in racing these days
than in previous eras. After all, some 35
years ago, a trio of cars utilizing six wheels,
ground effects and turbocharged 1.5-liter
engines, respectively, made their F1 race
debuts over a span of just 18 months. And
the Indy 500’s rear-engined revolution in
the 1960s went from debut in ’ 61, taking
pole in ’ 64, winning in ’ 65, to occupying
all 33 places on the grid in ’ 67. And that
same year, a turbine-powered four-wheel-drive car woulda/coulda/shoulda won.
But while technology is frequently
boxed in by the rule-makers, it has always
found a way to escape through the cracks,
thanks to geniuses such as Adrian Newey,
Colin Chapman, Jim Hall, Gordon Murray,
Rudolf Uhlenhaut, etc. Hence in the last
few years, we’ve seen DRS morphing into
double DRS, diffusers to double diffusers
to exhaust blown diffusers, Coanda
exhausts, etc. And that’s just the hi-tech
that has reached the public domain.
And then there’s the technology
actively encouraged by series organizers
which, at the moment, is very much
centered around energy saving. But who’d
have thought that, for example, Audi and
Toyota could have found such different
methods of converting their KERS-regenerated energy into forward thrust?
Actually, we would. That is and always
has been the nature of racing and of the
people within it. Technology, like gas,
expands to fill whatever space it’s given, but
the human who dares to dream will find
the cracks in the container and push it
out further. Because, ultimately, you can’t
put the genius back in the bottle.
Contact Nick Iademarco at
Wrights Media. Tel: (281) 419-5725
Technophile Edd Straw
had a double dip into
F1’s future, looking at
the 2014 engine rules
and investigating the
future of virtual design.
COLOR SEPS: QuadGraphics, Irvine, Calif.
ELECTRONIC PRE-PRESS: QuadGraphics, Irvine, Calif.
PRINTING: R.R. Donnelley, Pontiac, Ill.
Michael Levitt wielded an infrared camera and Paul
Laguette pieced together the results for our cover.
Huge thanks to Ganassi Racing and HPD for firing up
a Dallara-Honda (ABOVE) for our thermal image!