What Is Your Favorite Racetrack-To-Street Technology?

Porsche Counts Down Their Top Five Tech Advancements Courtesy Of Motorsport

byBradley Brownell| UPDATED Mar 1, 2017 10:11 AM
What Is Your Favorite Racetrack-To-Street Technology?

Walter Rohrl walks us through Porsche's top five technologies that have transitioned from the racetrack to the street. Porsche has long been known as one of the companies at the forefront of technological advancement in racing, and they work tirelessly to bring that tech to your street cars in the pursuit of more and more speed. Aerodynamics, carbon construction, disc brakes, and turbochargers were all developed in motorsport, and Porsche has made great use of all of them on their street cars. This video has some interesting points in it, so be sure you're paying attention, this will all be on the final exam. 

5. Lightweight Construction - 

Porsche here explains that the GT3 RS makes use of Carbon Reinforced Plastics, more commonly referred to as 'carbon fiber'. While carbon has been instrumental in the reduction of weight in road sports cars, it's been used extensively in motorsport since the 1980s. Porsche's example of motorsport here, however, is a 911 GT1 Strassenversion, which is technically a road going car. The video calls the GT1 "the first race car from Porsche with a carbon chassis", which while true, later GT1 racing cars did use full carbon monocoque, the GT1 in the video is actually constructed with a tube-frame that has a carbon body over it. The GT1 is my personal favorite Porsche, though, so I'll let it go for now. 

4. The Mode Switch - 

Porsche's mode switch on the steering wheel has proliferated throughout their entire lineup as trickle down technology from the 918 Spyder, and it can now be found in everything from the base Cayman to the Panamera. It's difficult to call this "racetrack derived", as the 918 Spyder was not ever raced, but I suppose it could have been developed in testing on a racetrack. This one seems fishy to us. Is Porsche even trying anymore with these 'top five' videos?

3. Carbon Ceramic Brakes - 

Porsche's "PCCB" carbon brakes are the absolute pinnacle in street car braking technology with repeated high-speed braking not even phasing them. With less brake fade and better dissipation of heat, PCCB are allegedly built for 'lifetime' and don't need to be replaced as often as cast iron rotors do. Not to mention the lightweight construction also aids in lower unsprung weight. This type of brake rotor was initially developed for the Concord airplane in the 1960s, was first used in motorsport in 1979 by Brabham in Formula 1, and Porsche began using the technology in endurance racing with the 962. It wasn't until the mid-2000s that Porsche first installed PCCB rotors on street cars with the 996 Turbo and GT2. 

2. Turbochargers - 

Again cribbing tech from aircraft use, Porsche developed turbos for the 917 to race in the Can Am series of the early 1970s. They were the first to develop turbochargers for motorsport use, and they were again the first to develop turbochargers for a street-driven sports car in 1976 (Yes, Chevrolet's Corvair Turbo was about 10 years prior, but is that truly a sports car?). I would make the argument that this is the most significant advancement Porsche has ever made, but I'm not in charge of Porsche's marketing department, so here we are. 

1. E-Performance - 

Porsche has been working steadily developing hybrid driven racing cars since at least the debut of the 911 GT3R Hybrid in 2010, and their work with the 919 Hybrid LMP1 has proven the concept beyond any reasonable doubt, having won the last two 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche has been selling hybrid street cars since 2008's Panamera S Hybrid, and have developed the concept so much further in recent years with the 918 Spyder and later E-Hybrid variants of the Panamera and Cayenne. The newly announced Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid takes the performance hybrid sedan to a new level not seen before. 

If there were one thing missing from this video, I'm forced to throw PDK, Porsche's DoppelKupplungs gearbox, as it was initially developed for endurance racing 962s in the 1980s. Sadly that is one major omission in an otherwise somewhat befuddling video. What do you think? Was Porsche correct with their top five? How would you have ranked them? Tell us about it in the comments below.