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Lighter vehicles + engineering = better driving experiences?

Lighter vehicles + engineering = better driving experiences? - News

Now, we love a supercar here at TrackDays. We love a supercar driving experience day just as much, if not more. However, we also understand that everyone’s got a different idea of what the perfect supercar for such an experience is.

One question that’s been in the debating chamber for some time on this subject, even before recent world events, has been that of whether a lighter car means a better performing car. We can trace the origins of this back to Colin Chapman, who founded and built the first Lotus cars in 1948.

His design and engineering philosophy of ‘Performance through lightweight’ was pioneering and subsequently struck a chord, and indeed, has influenced automotive companies the world over in the decades that have followed.

On the flip side of this, heavier cars have still been produced and found popularity in equal measure in that time as well. But concerns about the environment, and the impact heavier duty supercars - for instance, the bigger muscle cars from America - are having on this have brought the arguments into focus even more.

For whilst they are more robust and probably more likely to withstand any knocks or bumps out on the circuit track, there’s the obvious counter argument that bigger, denser cars require many more materials and resources to make them - some of which are not infinite in supply and can take many years to mine and refine again.

Then on top of this for consideration, whatever weight you’re adding to the car, you’ve also got to add on in fuel. More materials + more fuel = more weight. Looked at from that perspective, it’s a stark piece of maths for supercar lovers to digest.

At TrackDays, we offer a wealth of fantastic supercars that are light in design and engineering, but as you’ll discover when you book to take to the wheel of them on one of our many driving experience days at venues across the UK, they definitely don’t scrimp on power or performance.

It may surprise you to learn that two of these come from the Italian stallions of the supercar world, both of whom are traditionally known for their bolder, brasher thoroughbred models. Ferrari’s 360 model is one of these, and despite being a wider car, it is actually one of their lightest such cars, around 25% lighter in fact than the 355 model it succeeded, offering acceleration from 0 - 60 mph in just over 4 seconds.

Another streamlined speed demon is Lamborghini’s Gallardo Superleggera. It’s name alone should be clue enough to emphasise the lightness of it, but it really is a superleggera - a whole 396 lbs lighter than their standard Gallardo model, being as the frame and monocoque extensively uses a less dense carbon fibre material which, as you might expect, makes it more aerodynamic a drive, with top speeds of just under 200 mph.

And into the richness of all this, there is of course Lotus themselves, and at TrackDays we offer a range of driving days - including Passenger Rides, Blast and Thrill packages for both Adult and Junior drivers - in the very cars that have proved time and again that more simply constructed supercars offer the most breath-taking speed performance possible.

One of our packages at our Teesside Autodrome venue in the North East of England even lets you pitch a Lotus Elise against a Ferrari 360 for five laps each, with a high speed passenger ride to round it all off. Now that’s surely got to be the perfect way to decide who’s the lightweight champion of the supercar world?

22 September 2020

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