Talking Motors: Formula One is where all the tech is? Think again

The Audi A8 has borrowed from endurance racing
The Audi A8 has borrowed from endurance racing

The motoring industry is always progressing when new technology filters down from the top end of Motorsport.

In the past 20 years it has accelerated to levels that hurt the mind when thinking about how it is possible.

The McLaren F1 got the trend going when they used Formula One technology to take their car to the next level, andsince then manufacturers have been using high-end Motorsport to develop their cars one way or another.

You may think that because F1 is consider he pinnacle of Motorsport all the technology filters down from there and into our road cars.

This was true in the 1990s when V10s and V8s where common sight and global warming wasn’t in the front of everyone’s mind like it is now.

But as the years progress the advancements in road cars were shaped more by the World Endurance series as they provided breakthroughs and technology which makes affordable family cars better than ever before.

The first beneficiary from the World Endurance was the diesel engine, always known for being fuel efficient, but that was really it.

They didn’t provide much in the way of power, and being heavy they always required a turbo to help push them along.

In 2006 Audi Joest Racing, entered a diesel-powered car into the Le Mans 24-hour race, something that had never been done before.

Not only did it win but, it changed the tone in which teams approached Le Mans.

It won the prestigious event eight of the next nine times, only stopped by another diesel-powered car.

The engine from the Audi race car was bolted straight into the family sized Audi A8, and such was the leap forward in technology that the A8 could manage 800 miles on one tank of fuel.

World Endurance also developed the Hybrid engine as well.

Such was Audi’s diesel dominance, the teams around them had to make their petrol engines as fuel efficient as possible, thus introducing the Hybrid system, half electric, half petrol.

At first this didn’t stop Audi but, Porsche and Toyota eventually got the combination right and this amalgamation of electric and petrol can now be found in Toyota’s family cars and is creeping into Porsche’s super car mix.