[extropy-chat] BIO: overtorqing the luddites

Alfio Puglisi puglisi at arcetri.astro.it
Mon Feb 16 11:49:51 UTC 2004

On Mon, 16 Feb 2004, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

>On Sun, 15 Feb 2004, Adrian Tymes wrote:
>> Motivations are the same there as with any sport
>> (fame, prize money, et cetera) - but at least they do
>> not shun technological improvements, unlike many other
>> sports.
>Actually this isn't true -- I was surprised to learn that
>NASCAR races seem to limit engine air intake so the max speed
>is ~180MPH rather than ~230MPH.

Some limits on the cars' technical spec do not lead to refusing
improvements - on the contrary, they leads to new ways to attain the same

For example, F1 cars were once 1500 cc turbocharged. Turbo was forbidden,
and the limit raised to 3500 cc. Next year, the most powerful F1 cars were
around 500 HP (fairly low), thanks to the limits. In 2003, the most
powerful were about 800-850 HP, with a top speed of around 350 kph, more
than the turbo engines. A speed of 400-450 kph would be easily attainable
with today's technology using the same car design, if limits on the engine
were removed.

Some years ago, new limits on tyres were applied to make the cars "safer",
limiting the amount of lateral acceleration that they could provide and
forcing the cars to make turns more slowly. Now, after a few years, new
tyre materials are reversing that - cars can sustain more lateral
acceleration than ever: up to 4g in the fastest turns. The driver is
becoming the limiting factor here.

All those examples are just different ways of expressing "necessity is the
mother of invention". Limits are just a way of enforcing artificial
necessity :)


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list