Chemistry is a science that deals with the composition, structure, and properties of substances and with the transformations they undergo. Is there really chemistry in Racing? When racing parts manufacturers develop better alloys for the aluminum parts we use or improve the brake pads or invent materials that are more fire resistant to use in our driving suits, or for that matter, better tire treatments, the science of chemistry plays a large part in the process.

Brake companies are continually coming up with improved brake components, especially the brake pads. Performance gains come as a direct result of altering the chemical makeup of the pad material based on the real needs of the racers. It is not only the composition that is studied but the overall process of manufacturing the brake pad component that involves chemical process analysis.

Motor oils and oil additives have improved as a direct result of chemical research using new ingredients that provide better lubrication that will reduce the heating and wearing of metal parts. Coatings are chemical treatments of metals that help make the moving parts in our engines, transmissions, and differentials produce less friction and heat. Once we reduce friction we lessen the amount of the engine's horsepower we need to turn those parts and the more horsepower we will have available at the rear wheels to accelerate the car.

Computer Sciences

Almost every team either owns its own dedicated computers or has access to computers. Teams use the computer for many and varied tasks that help improve their racing efforts. From message board participation on the web, to saving data on the setups, a team now has access to a world of knowledge and useful tools that just were not available several years ago.

If I have a question that I need answers to, all I have to do is log onto one of the many world-wide web message boards run by racing companies and racing enthusiasts, present my query and then wait for someone to offer up advice.

If I need to know more about a particular routine or piece of equipment, I can search the web and thousands of links will be found where I can learn what I need to know. I can download software or locate companies that sell computer software that will help me manage my team, simulate my setups and help to redesign my race car.

I can keep up with the whole of the racing industry with my computer and that means finding out who is winning, where series will be racing, which new parts are out, lists of racing technology schools and new and improved techniques for setting up my race car.

The internet has opened up the world of racing as never before. The fact that it is almost instantaneous in the delivery of news and technology makes this medium a must have for everyone who is involved in racing.

Safety in Motorsports

Maybe the greatest leap in technology we have experienced in Motorsports is in the area of safety. Racers can now race more comfortably knowing their bodies can withstand the forces of an impact more efficiently. Motorsports science has helped us to understand the nature of the forces and how we can protect the driver from the negative effects of those forces.

A lot of research went into the development of safer seats, better seatbelts, head-and-neck restraints, safer barriers, more fire-resistant suits and accessories, and so on. The list goes on, but we can all agree that our sport is much safer today than ever before thanks to motorsports scientists.


By now you should have come to the conclusion that what we do and how we do it, not to mention the level of success we have demonstrated over the years in our discoveries, makes us by deed and definition scientists. We, as a group, have done as much good with fewer resources as any other research group probably in the history of mankind.

And the one reason we have been so successful is because racers are not bound by restrictions or self imposed guidelines. Research organizations born out of the higher education system can be stifling as to how quickly individuals are allowed to proceed in their research. Racers know no such boundaries.

Competition is the catalyst that breeds success. We are all driven by an intense desire to improve our product and the sheer numbers of researchers in racing means that this whole endeavor involving the science of racing moves at a quick pace and delivers results that formal scientists would find very impressive.

To find the most successful scientists on earth, we need only look at the everyday racer and realize it is he/she who is most successful, degree or not. The many other dedicated scientists in our society would do well to study the work habits and accomplishments of the men and women who race.