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Fast Car Physics


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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgments1. Torque or Horsepower? Finding the Shift Points1.1. Acceleration and Newton's Second Law1.2. Velocity, Speed, Rotation, and Engine rpm1.3. The Car, Horsepower, and Torque1.4. Tire Markings1.5. Calculations1.6. First Gear, It's All Right. Second Gear...1.7. Summary2. Horsepower, 0 to 60 mph, and the Quarter Mile2.1. Horsepower2.2. How Does Drag Force Affect Shift Points?2.3. Gear Ratios2.4. Calculating 0 to 60 mph Times2.5. Assumptions and Results2.6. What Is the Limit for 0 to 60 mph?2.7. Aerodynamic Drag2.8. Correction Factors2.9. The Quarter Mile2.10. Flat Torque Curves2.11. Top Fuel Dragsters2.12. Summary3. Finding the Racing Line: Road Racing3.1. The Traction Circle3.2. Ninety Degree Right-Hand Turn3.3. General Turn3.4. Constructing a Track Model3.5. Types of Turns3.6. Type 1 Turn3.7. Type 2 Turn3.8. Type 3 Turn3.9. Turning While Speeding Up3.10. Summary4. Basic Vehicle Dynamics: Load Transfer and Tires4.1. Center of Gravity4.2. Longitudinal and Lateral Center of Gravity4.3. Height of the Center of Gravity4.4. Load Transfer and the Static Stability Factor4.5. Tires and Forces4.6. Tire Construction4.7. Wheels4.8. Tires under Static Load4.9. Tires under Dynamic Load4.10. Contact Patch Friction4.11. Material Properties and Testing4.12. Longitudinal Force and Longitudinal Slip4.13. Lateral Force and the Slip Angle4.14. Aligning Torque4.15. Summary5. Steering and Suspension5.1. More on Steering5.2. Bicycle Model: Oversteer and Understeer5.3. Wheel Alignment5.4. Suspension Basics5.5. Double A-arm or Wishbone Suspension5.6. MacPherson Strut Suspension5.7. NASCAR-Type Solid Rear Axle5.8. Springs and Dampers5.9. Shock Absorbers5.10. Lateral Load Transfer: Advanced Approach5.11. Correcting Handling Problems5.12. Understeer Correction5.13. Oversteer Correction5.14. Summary6. Green Racing6.1. What Is Green Racing?6.2. Regenerative Braking6.3. Mechanical Energy Storage: Flywheels6.4. Mechanical Energy Storage: Batteries6.5. Mechanical Energy Storage: Capacitors6.6. What Type of Hybrid Is It?6.7. Parallel Configuration Hybrid: Toyota Prius6.8. All-Electric Vehicles6.9. Fuel Cells6.10. Alternative Fuels6.11. SummaryConclusionGet Off the Streets and Go Racing!Suggested ReadingIndex

About the Author

Chuck Edmondson is a professor of physics at the United States Naval Academy and an avid amateur race car driver. He was the engineer on the submarine filmed in The Hunt for Red October.


You don't have to be an engineer to build a fast race car but that certainly helps. Fast Car Physics helps enthusiasts apply the knowledge they gained in high school and college physics courses to the operation and tuning of a track car. Best of all, he does it in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. Grassroots Motorsports Fans of fast wheels and science alike will get a charge from this look at motor sports by a physicist and amateur race car driver. Science News If motor racing and physics are your thing, you will love this book. -- Ken Zetie Physics Education Editor's Pick. Fast Car Physics is an excellent book for understanding the science and engineering behind car racing. Choice A fine pick for any science of racing fan's collection! California Bookwatch The book functions well as a deep look into auto racing as well as a good description of applied physics. -- Mark Bollman Mathematical Association of American Online

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