Weight and HP, if I had to choose one.....

Discussion in 'Tech Articles, How-To's & Write Ups' started by mcglsr2, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Alright. Let's say you have two choices in front of you: 1) reduce weight or 2) increase horsepower. Which do you do?

    Well, the obvious answer is both. Of course. For the sake of this discussion, though, let's assume we focus on one or the other initially.

    In that case, the answer should maybe be weight. Here's why: as a general statement (that I will certainly stand behind), car performance gets better as you decrease weight. By "car performance" I mean pretty much every possible performance topic. MPG, acceleration, corning/handling, turn-in, braking. Everything. At the end of the day, thy true foe is weight.


    Shed Those Pounds

    There's another benefit to decreased weight, and that is reliability. When things are heavier, components end up being stressed much more than they would be otherwise. Lightening the load on those components has a net result of increasing the lifespan/reliability of those components. This applies to most aspects of car activities: drag racing? Lose the weight. Road racing? Lose the weight. Rock crawling? Yes, lose the weight.


    The Intangibles

    Something else, as a result of lightening the load, is the feel of the car. It can be considered intangible and subjective (after all, "feel" is something that is different from driver to driver), however lighter cars will tend to feel more nimble, more eager. More like the car is reading your mind. Heavier cars will feel more "boaty" and perhaps like they are fighting you. A lighter car will feel more balanced, more fun to drive. It isn't something that can necessarily be mathematically calculated, but contributes to an overall feel of a car. More times that not, a sporty lighter car that has been setup properly will feel loads better than a sporty heavier car that has been setup properly.


    But It's Sooooo Hard

    And here's the rub. Unfortunately, it's not really easy to lose weight on a car. Especially if you care about things like, oh I don't know, comfort. Like A/C. And sound deadening. That kind of stuff. The typical way cars shed a lot of weight is if/when they become dedicated track cars. This is at the sacrifice of comfort.

    This results in most enthusiasts just adding power. That tends to be easier. And ultimately, it's what you want to do anyway. But think of it this way - each time you add power, if you could also lighten weight somehow, you will be adding power on steroids.

    So if you have the money to spend and inclination (and don't have to worry about legality in certain racing classes), before you just through a bunch of power at a car - think about what you can do regarding weight first. Fiberglass/CF hood and trunk? Fenders? There are things you might be able to find that can be removed/replaced with lighter components without sacrificing comfort, especially if you DD the car. And of course, every car is different in what can be done.
     
  2. g36 monkey

    g36 monkey Moderator Staff SN95 Supporter

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    Just remove the trunk, hood, bumpers, doors, fenders. Done.

    Very speed.
     
  3. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Don't forget to replace the glass with lexan, and use zip ties for all fasteners ;)
     
  4. RichV

    RichV Well-Known Member

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    Sure, on a race car there are no bounds. Unless you have a class limit.

    But a street car, is a different story. My 95 I drive as a daily, what can I really remove to be effective? AC and heat are big fat no. So crash equipment? Probably a bad idea. Glass to lexan, is that even DOT legal? But possible. Suspension to tubular and lighter components, CF panels, maybe some ultra light race wheels, light seats and remove the rear seat if you don't need it.

    My 95 is already a GTS so it's pretty stripped as far as options, no power, no cruise, minimal audio. I'll put it on scales this weekend just out of curiosity, I'll have #71 on the scales too for some weight shifting.
     
  5. Nighttrain

    Nighttrain Well-Known Member

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    All very true.....but not as fun :evillol:
     
  6. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Yah, it's super hard - that's why I had the "But It's Soooooo Hard" section at the bottom of the OP. (And I replied with the Lexan and zipties to the other post sarcastically :) ). The reality for most people is that losing a bunch of weight is an impossibility. I posted this more as a "think about it" type post rather than a "thou must do this" post.

    It would require tons of money to take a street car and lighten it with all the CF and lightweight components it would require. I'm curious what your GTS weighs - it will be interesting to compare it against what my car weighs with some stuffs removed. I'm willing to bet they aren't far from each other (as opposed to my car being much lighter).
     
  7. Nighttrain

    Nighttrain Well-Known Member

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    The best part about all this is that when you go to upgrade youre lightening at the same time......usually. Im talking k member, suspension parts, seats. I find alot of nice, plush racing seats for sale cheaper than going to something like mach 1's or the like. Its kinda exciting.....
     
  8. mcglsr2

    mcglsr2 Well-Known Member SN95 Supporter

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    Yah, the number of options for these cars is pretty sweet. And like you said, if you aren't trying to put some specific edition item on your car (like Cobra or Mach1 seats) then you are certainly spoiled for choices.