Use of Math in Auto Racing

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Mathematics is found everywhere in life and work and auto racing is

no exception. There are many applications of math in racing.

The purpose of racing is to win and in order to do that there must be a lot of

math involved. If you don't use math and use it correctly then you will not win.

Mathematics is involved in racing in two ways, the car setup and scoring an

measurements. The car setup involves tire pressure, down force, wedge,

aerodynamic Drag, camber, track bar and valance. The scoring system also uses math.

In addition to scoring math is also used to measure different racing related

subjects such as car weight, gas mileage time interval, qualifying, and the track


Tire pressure is used as a setup tool that is akin to adjusting spring rates in

the vehicles suspension. Increasing the air pressure in the tires raises the spring rate

in the tire itself and changes the vehicles handling characteristics. In order for

optimal performance the teams must know the proper p.s.i ( Pressure per square inch)

for a certain tire on a certain track for a certain air temperature.

Math is also used in measuring the "downforce." Downforce is the air pressure

traveling over the surface of the car. This air pushes the car downwards which creates

the term downforce. The greater the psi the greater the downforce which creates better

tire grip for higher speeds through turns.

Wedge is another racing term that relies on math. Wedge refers to the relationship

from corner to corner of the weight of the car. The weight on any corner of the vehicle

affects the weight of the other three corners in direct proportion. The wedge determines

how the car handles by either stiffening the wedge or loosening it up.

Aerodynamic drag is another math related racing factor. A number that is a

coefficient of several factors indicates how well a car will travel through the air is the

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