Fast, loud, hot cars: under the hood, in the lab

A video series explores the science behind NASCAR.
Written by Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Inactive on

Start your engines! Better yet, roll the video. The National Science Foundation and NASCAR expert Diandra Leslie-Pelecky (author of The Physics of NASCAR) have produced The Science of Speed, which explains how and why a racecar is pretty much a science experiment on wheels. Let me just say: Learning about science doesn’t get any hotter.

The 12 episodes include Friction & Heat, Grip, Sound and Firesuits. You may never hit Talladega, but you’re bound to learn something practical about driving your own vehicle—from speed to car safety to turning (Did you know that it takes 10,000 pounds of force to get a racecar around Turn 3 at Texas Motor Speedway at 180 mph?)

Below is one of the episodes, Power. “Eight hundred fifty horses, all lined up”—that’s how much power a NASCAR Sprint Cup engine has. Just think of it as your car with six engines in it. Click here to watch others. And you know what they say—don’t try this at home.

Click here to read about The Science of the Olympic Winter Games, a video series that explores the science behind the sports.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards