Racing Cars

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Racing Cars


single-seater automobiles intended for automobile races, including runs to establish speed records (speed-record automobiles and superspeed automobiles).

Foreign firms began to build racing cars after 1900. Classification and technical specifications for racing cars are regulated by the rules of the International Sports Code, adopted in 1962, and by amendments worked out by the sports commission of the International Automobile Federation (the FIA).

Racing cars are divided into 5 groups, or racing formulas, on the basis of the working volume of the engine in liters and its weight in kilograms: (1) up to 3 / and not less than 500 kg, (2) up to 1.6 / and not less than 450 kg, (3) up to 1 / and not less than 400 kg. There is also a formula 4 (motorcycle engine up to 250 CC), but it has not been officially recognized by the FIA. Speed-record cars with gas-turbine engines are in a separate class. The best racing-car engines in formula 1 have a liter capacity up to 110 kW/l (150 hp/l) at 12,000 rpm, compression ratio of 11 or 12 to 1, and a four-valve layout that ensures high speed in the motor at optimum input of fuel into the cylinders. All formula 1 and 2 racing cars use direct fuel-injection systems. As a rule, racing cars have multigear (five) transmissions, and the clutch usually consists of two disks. The brakes are ventilated disc brakes, and the wheels and tires are usually wider than in conventional passenger cars (over 400 mm). The USSR produces formula 4 racing cars at the Tallin Auto-Repair Plant, as well as the ZIL-112S sports car, the speed-record Kharkov-7, and the gas-turbine Pioneer.

The best-known foreign builders of racing cars include Lotus (Great Britain), Porsche (Federal Republic of Germany), Ford (USA) and Ferrari (Italy).

The absolute world speed record on dry land was set Oct. 23, 1970, by G. Gabelich (USA) in the jet automobile Blue Flame, which was clocked at 1,014.294 km/hr. The absolute world speed record for an automobile is held by R. Summers (USA): 658.5 km/hr, set in 1965.


Bekman, V. V. Gonochnye avtomobili, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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