June 5, 2018 9:48 pm

Race Down the Track with Mario Andretti, F1 Journalist Will Buxton, Jim Clash, and Richard Bower

This week on Playing with Science, we speed down the track, hairpin through the corner, and kick it back into high gear as we dive into the science-filled spectacle that is auto racing.

Photo by Dell Inc. of Team Lotus car in the pit lane during the race) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Credit: Dell Inc. (Team Lotus car in the pit lane during the race) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

First up is Formula 1. Hosts Gary O’Reilly and Chuck Nice are joined by a team of racing experts, starting with Formula 1 journalist Will Buxton. Will takes us through a brief history of F1, from how it started as hobbyists racing around airfields, to the introduction of aerodynamics, to the development of the KERS system – the kinetic energy recovery system that enables energy to be re-used while racing. We also discuss how F1 cars are always progenitors of technological advancements in regular street cars.

We continue our exploration of Formula 1 with Richard Bower, physics professor at Durham University, as he helps us understand the forces at work when the cars fly through the corners. You’ll hear the science behind torque and power. Find out how computer simulation has impacted the performance and understanding of racing. We also ponder if full battery-powered engines are the way of the future.

After that, we hear from our good friend, adventure journalist Jim Clash. Jim takes us through his experiences behind the wheel of some fast cars. You’ll find out more about his lap in the Bugatti Veyron where he reached 253 miles per hour. Go inside the cockpit as he tells us what it was like to drive an Indy Car. We also get details on his turn driving a drag car.

Last, but certainly not least, we check in with legendary race driver Mario Andretti. He is the only driver to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, and the Formula One World Championship. Mario tells us what he thinks is the most important advancement in auto racing, why it’s important to have a human element in racing, and what he would love to have access to from modern racing that he didn’t have during his career.

Buckle up!

Please join us tomorrow night for Motorsports: Physics & Technology, with Will Buxton & Mario Andretti right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen

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