Secrets of race cars: only one seat
Professional race cars must be as fast as possible, which is why their weight has to be minimised. A steering wheel and a single driver`s seat: the interior of such vehicles is surprisingly empty in comparison to what we see in our own cars. The racers allow only one exception: a fuel tank, which is relatively large even in lightweight cars and can hold approximately 100 litres of fuel.
The racers claim that clearing unnecessary items from the vehicle is something that every driver in our country could learn from them.
"A car body is made from the lightest available materials such as carbon fibre and the interior only contains the essential equipment: a steering wheel, one driver's seat and electronic controls. Key safety elements are also included, such as roll cage, belts, and a fire-extinguisher. It's a very simple logic: the lighter is the car, the easier it will be for it to move and the less fuel it will consume", says Jonas Karklys, the racer from Circle K milesPLUS Racing Team that will participate in "Aurum 1006 km" race in Palanga.
According to him, the fastest Formula 1 cars only weigh about 700 kg.
As a means to minimise the weight of race cars, some racers even remove the air-conditioning system because it increases both the weight and fuel consumption of the car.
"Keeping in mind that racers must wear multi-layer fire-retardant suits and the cars have no air-conditioning, the temperature inside them rises above the normal comfort levels. It depends on the outside temperatures, on the intensity of the sunshine and on whether the engine is in the front or in the back of the car. Under favourable conditions, we record as much as 40°C in our Porsche 991 GT3 Cup and that is a really good parameter. But when you are racing, you simply don't have time to think about any such inconveniences as high temperatures", the racer explains.
Every driver should remember that the lighter is the car, the faster and more economical ride it offers so we should check from time to time whether our car's trunk has not yet become some sort of storage room.
"The lighter is the car, the easier it will be for it to move and the less fuel it will consume. Therefore, when planning your trip, you should carefully consider the issue of luggage and leave any unnecessary things behind: it will make your trip both cheaper and safer", advises Karklys.
By the way, even that single driver's seat is usually placed at a very low level in a race car to shift its centre of gravity for better balance and control.
"The first thing everyone should learn is an individually comfortable sitting position. Yes, naturally, the driver must follow the minimum rules such as how much the arms must be bent at elbows or what must be the position of hands on the steering wheel but the driver should still feel fully comfortable and stable and nothing should block the visibility. Also, all safety requirements must be met and seat belt must be worn. In a race car, a 6-point safety harness is used that maximally presses the racer against the seat to minimise driver's movements in case of accident", reveals Karklys.
Circle K milesPLUS Racing Team will be represented by four racers: brothers Ignas and Jonas Gelžinis as well as Jonas Karklys from Vilnius who takes part in the European Octavia Cup racing series and has won its second prize in Germany last week. The team also includes a rising star Ralf Aron, a multiple-times Estonian karting champion, Italian Formula 4 champion and the best closed-circuit racing master of Estonia in 2014–2017, who is very successful in Formula 3 championship: he holds a better position than Michael Schumacher's son Mick and has very good chances of becoming the winner of the championship.
This year, the traditional 1006 km circuit races took place for the 19th time in Palanga on July 18–21.