RAC Cars News


How Formula One has influenced road cars

By raccars Published

Aston Martin

Is there much Formula One technology in your car?

You may think that a Formula One car has very little in common with your average Ford Fiesta, for example, but a lot of the technology which has helped to make modern cars so comfortable and economical was originally used in Formula One race cars. It has subsequently filtered down, usually via the premium brands first, ending up in mass market cars. In some cases the Formula One influence is fairly obvious.

The cars based on Formula One

Aston Martin AM-RB 001

The racy Aston looks every bit as impressive as an F1 car, with a space age, aerodynamic silhouette which helps to keep it safely on the road. It needs to be too, as it's powered by a fiery V12 mounted amidships.

Mercedes-AMG GTR

Introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by Lewis Hamilton, this is the most extreme AMG yet. It's a barely road legal racer which takes just 3.6 seconds to reach 62mph, with features including 'race start' launch control.

McLaren P1 GTR

A special James Hunt Edition P1 GTR was also launched at Goodwood, decorated in the same livery as James Hunt's crash helmet. The special P1 climbed the famous Goodwood Hill with Ayrton Senna's son Bruno at the wheel.

McLaren F1

The name says it all! The F1 was the supercar of the Nineties and, in many people's eyes, the all-time greatest supercar. It looked fabulous but the F1 was really all about the ballistic V12 which made it at one point the world’s fastest production car. It was designed as a road car but nonetheless enjoyed a respectable track career including a 1995 win at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mini John Cooper Works World Championship 50 Edition

A special model built in 2009 to celebrate John Cooper's first Formula One constructor's championship win from 50 years earlier. 250 units were made, mechanically identical to the standard JCW but with lots of extra kit and a very high price tag.

Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG F1

The production run of the road car version of the Mercedes-Benz Formula One safety car was limited to 55 units. This was the first time an F1-style braking system was used on a road car.

Lotus Exige LF1

81 units of the special edition Exige were built in 2014, to match the firm's 81 Formula One race wins. Each model bears a special plaque denoting its heritage.

Jaguar XKR Silverstone

Jaguar made a rather ill-fated return to Formula One in 2000 under Ford ownership. A number of special edition XKRs were made to celebrate the occasion.

Infiniti FX Vettel Edition

The special edition is named after the F1 ace and costs an extra £40,000 over the standard FX. £4,800 alone went on the rear wing! Vettel was already driving an FX50 of his own and was interested in what could be done with a little F1 inspiration. There's plenty of Formula One cosmetic work going on and some mechanical tweaking, added extra horsepower and better aerodynamics.

Renault Clio Williams

Back in the Nineties, Renault used some Formula One inspiration to create one of the all-time great hot hatches. Williams used Renault engines in its F1 racers but didn't actually get involved in this car, which was the creation of Renault Sport. The Clio Williams was also the 1996 F1 safety car.

Renault Twizy F1

At first glance nothing could be further from an F1 racer, but the Twizy F1 uses KERS braking and delivers a fair turn of speed off the line, thanks to 97 horses of electric power.

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