Cars make life easier – this is a fact, not a claim. Nobody can refute that owning a car makes getting from point A to point B an effortless endeavor, even if there’s a little bit of traffic along the way. Whether it’s taking the kids to school, going to work, grocery shopping, or a road trip away, everything is more convenient with a car.
Modern car manufacturers also recognize that people use cars in different ways, so naturally, there are different types of cars to suit different lifestyles. Modern car makes that we’ve seen emerge over the last few decades include hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, and other utility vehicles.
And then there are sports cars, like the Kia Cerato. These are premium machines designed for speed and performance.
In this informative article, we’re going to unpack how modern car manufacturers have been able to achieve athleticism, taking a closer look at the technology and design behind sports models.
First, we’ll be exploring some of the new technology being used in the development and design of modern sports cars.
The majority of mass-market cars feature automatic transmission. This means that the transmission shifts gears automatically, and with no effort from the driver.
Most sports cars feature a manual transmission, however, which allows the driver to control the power from the engine to the driveshaft and wheels.
This is because race and sports car drivers want to retain as much control over their vehicle as possible, to really immerse themselves in the experience of driving, as well as ensuring they have the freedom to gain speed and accelerate at their own pace. The greater control that comes with a manual transmission has also largely become part of the appeal of sports cars. There are, however, some sports cars with an automatic transmission to cater to drivers who may prefer this.
All cars now have disc brakes, but they were invented with racing and sports cars in mind.
Before disc brakes, cars had drum brakes. These brakes were slow to brake and not efficient. Disc brakes are more responsive and will slow a car quicker, which naturally makes them intrinsic tech for sports cars, as well as an essential safety element for all modern cars in general.
Now we’ll discuss some of the most commonly incorporated design features of sports cars, as well as the benefits that these design features hold for modern drivers.
Engine and Drivetrain
Where the engine and drivetrain are located will directly influence how well a car handles. Most sports cars utilise rear-wheel drive, with the engine being placed in the front of the car. This maximises the handling of the car, which sports car drivers prefer as they want a tight and responsive vehicle.
The alternatives to rear-wheel drive are front-wheel drive and of course, four-wheel drive. Whilst these all have their own advantages and disadvantages, the general consensus amongst revheads is that rear-wheel drive is the ‘most fun’.
Aerodynamics is the science of making objects fly through the air. All aircraft, from planes to helicopters and even space rockets are designed with aerodynamics in mind. They need to be able to fly fast and maintain elevation.
The same principles apply to sports cars, which is exactly why modern car manufacturers from across the globe have acquainted themselves with how aerodynamics works. They are designed with aerodynamic principles, not so they can fly, but so that they can cut through the air quickly.
Two factors play into this: downforce and drag. Downforce helps to push the tires onto the road and improve cornering and to stay connected to the road. Drag is a negative factor and is air turbulence that slows a car down. The key with aerodynamic design is to strike the right balance between these two factors.
Sports cars are tested in special environments called wind tunnels. These manufactured spaces generate wind force in order to accurately assess both downforce and drag, so car manufacturers can effectively test to see how aerodynamic their new models are.
A Long History
Today’s sports cars are the result of several decades worth of invention, innovation, and improvements in design. The first sports cars emerged in post-war Europe, and from that era onwards, car companies have constantly and consistently iterated on the design fundamentals to create ever increasingly powerful and sleek sports models.
Although European car manufactures created the first sports models, the Japanese, Americans, and other countries also contributed throughout the years.
In this informative and useful blog, we’ve explained some of the technology and design principles behind modern sports cars. We explored engineering concepts such as the impact of engine and drivetrain position, as well as modern braking technologies. We also discussed the principles of aerodynamics and how they apply to sports models.
Finally, we explained the long history of sports models, and how this history has informed the tech and design of sports cars on the market today.