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Motorsports: 21 Fascinating Facts (for Adrenalin Lovers!)

I love getting wrapped up in a Sunday afternoon of watching my favorite motorsports on TV (or YouTube), but it recently occurred to me that I don’t know all that much about motorsports in general. 

In a conversation with friends, I learned a couple of new and interesting things about motorsports and was thoroughly entertained. It sparked a further interest in me, and I started browsing around to learn a bit more about the industry that provides me with so much entertainment. Here’s what I found…

These are 21 facts about Motorsports:

1. A MotoGP bike can accelerate faster than an F1 car. 

In terms of acceleration, from 0 to 200kph, a MotoGP bike can do 4.8s, while an F1 car 5.2s.

2. Formula One vehicles consist of about 16,000 parts.

This is according to Jonathan Neale, McLaren COO. Each of these parts needs to be precisely and perfectly assembled. There is absolutely no room for error when piecing an F1 vehicle together.

3. In 1958, the first female driver participated in an F1 race. 

The very first female F1 driver was Maria Teresa de Filippis from Italy. She participated in 5 World Championship Grand Prix but earned no championship points.

4. 10-year-old Lewis Hamilton told McLaren that he would race for them one day.

12 years later, in 2007, he was signed as an official F1 racer for McLaren-Mercedes.

5. In 1966, Jack Brabham won the F1 World Championship in a vehicle made by his own manufacturer. 

After being a mechanic for the Royal Australian Air Force, Jack founded “Brabham”, a racing auto manufacturer, as well as an F1 racing team.

6. Deaths in Figure 8 racing are quite rare.

This is quite incredible, given that the track intentionally intersects itself.

7. Since the 1970s, Japanese bikes have been dominating the MotoGP.

These Japanese bikes are mainly manufactured by Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha.

8. The world’s first motoring competition was held in 1894.

The event, known as the “ Le Petit Journal Horseless Carriages Contest”, is regarded as the very first motoring competition ever. It was held on the 22nd of July from Paris to Rouen.

9. Michael Schumacher is considered one of the most successful F1 racers ever. 

From 1994 to 2004, Schumacher won seven F1 World Championships.

10. Switzerland banned motorsport racing from 1958 to 2007. 

At the 1955 Le Mans race, one of the most catastrophic crashes in motorsport history occurred. A crash between drivers ensued, causing large amounts of debris to hurtle into the crowd. 83 of the fans were killed that day, and a further 180 fans were injured. Once this happened, the Swiss government declared motor racing an unsafe sport and banned it. The ban was only lifted in 2007.

11. During an F1 race, drivers can change gears as much as 4,000 times.

Keep in mind that a regular F1 race lasts around 90 minutes.  

12. Regular vehicles have rearview mirrors thanks to racing driver’s need for them.

The first-ever known rearview mirror on a car was seen mounted on Ray Harroun’s racing car at the Indianapolis 500 race, which was hosted in 1911. He made the mirror himself and claimed that he got the idea after seeing a horse-drawn cart with a mirror mounted on it in 1904. 

The mirror was used to see cars gaining on him during the race. Since then, rearview mirrors have become the norm in regular vehicles, but more for safety reasons than for racing!

13. The average pit stop in an F1 race is less than 2.5 seconds long.

Some of the world’s fastest pit-stop go below the 2 seconds!.  

14. NASCAR drivers experience 2 to 3 Gs on every turn.

Obviously, F1 drivers experience far more G force during a race.

15. A Formula One driver can lose around 3 kg in one race. 

F1 race drivers will lose about 3 kg of their body weight in a race. Most drivers know that being in poor physical condition can, therefore, lead to mishaps on the track. F1 drivers have to lead a very healthy, active, and fit lifestyle.

16. In 1900, motorsports were part for the first (and only) time of the Summer Olympics.

The event, which was known as the II Olympiad, was hosted by France.

17. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is considered the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”. 

As its name implies, the race lasts 24 hours!

18. Many famous drivers started as Go-Kart drivers.

Some of these drivers are Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Ayrton Senna, among others.

19. The American car racing organization, NASCAR, has 3 main national series.

These are Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series, NASCAR Cup Series, and Xfinity Series.

20. The very first Indy 500 was held in May 1911.

From the 40 participants, Ray Harroun got 1st place in the 500-mile race.

21. The temperatures on an F1 car can be hot enough to melt aluminum. 

Aluminum melts at 660 degrees Celsius, whereas an F1 car’s gas temperatures, at combustion point, can go all the way up to 2,600 degrees Celsius.

Brush Up Your Motorsport Knowledge

These simple facts are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fun and exciting background of motorsports. If you’re an avid motorsports fan like I am, it’s highly recommended that you do a bit of research into the facts about the industry – many of them are wildly entertaining.