When the world’s greatest race car drivers take to the racing surface, often times their interiors reach temperature far higher than one would consider cozy. In some cases, the average temperature inside of a race car can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This may not sound too extreme, but keep in mind that race car drivers have to wear tons of layers under their already layered fire suit to ensure safety in the event of a fire or other hazardous event.
One could ponder what the possible solutions could be to this problem. Some people believe that dynamic ice packs placed inside of the driver suit could be one possible idea. Some experts even believe that air fresheners could have an impact of keeping the interior cockpits of race cars cool during the race. In the following sections of this article, we are going to explore the various possibilities and resolutions to this ongoing issue in the racing world.
The Air Freshener Solution
Some experts have explored the possibility of using air fresheners to try and keep the interior of race cars at a reasonable temperature. This is an extremely unique idea that hasn’t really gained any traction because of the potential hazards that come along with the idea. One major reason this has not been done yet is that because if an air freshener reaches an extremely high temperature, it can actually cause a major hazard to the driver over a prolonged period at a high temperature. Until there is a way to circumnavigate this set back, the air freshener solution will not work under extreme conditions. If you are a car racer, then you’ll also want to do your research before you invest in a car air freshener. A lot of the time, these products can be low quality and potentially harmful to your health. This guide on the best car air fresheners will help you out in making a purchasing decision if that’s the route that you’re going to be taking.
Under slightly warm conditions, the air freshener solution could potentially work. But it would be hard to place drivers into a potentially hazardous environment where the temperatures are constantly changing at a rapid pace.
There are a number of factors that can impact how warm the interior of a race car gets. First and foremost, the outside ambient temperature is probably the most important direct factor that can impact this specific subject. On a cooler winter day, race car interiors will not get as hot as they would normally during a scorching hot summer day under the boiling sun. Another important factor is the tenseness of the driver himself. Drivers that are relaxed tend to stay cooler during the race, while drivers that are working hard inside of the car and are acting in a tense situation tend to warm up much quicker and reach higher internal body temperatures.
The type of race car is also an important factor, whether it’s a stock car, touring car, drift car, or some other type of race car. The duration in which the car is performing has a significant impact. In some racing series, races go on for hours and this time can allow for the interior to build up to an incredibly high temperature. Shorter races like drag or drift racing events do not have sustained performance from the race car, which allows for the temperature to drop every so often.
Other Possible Resolutions
While the air freshener approach may not be the perfect resolution to hot race car interiors, there are some other potential resolutions that can help drivers stay cool and relaxed during the race. One option is to install dynamic air conditioning or ice packs into driver fire suits so that they can constantly adjust their fire suit air conditioning. This process is similar to how astronauts pressurize and depressurize, although it would be with temperature rather than oxygen levels. (Source)
Helmet blowers exist for some racing series and could make a global push through the motor sports world if they could be adjusted specifically for each type of race car. These blowers pump extremely cold air into the helmet of the driver, which can help keep the driver fresh during intense and durable circumstances. The only problem with this resolution is the fact that it really only ever has an impact in the driver’s helmet, and not so much the rest of his body where he needs it most. (Source)
Drivers until now have sustained their body temperature by ensuring they remain hydrated in the days prior to the race. Prior preparation is extremely important because drivers will need to be prepared to lose a lot of body water when racing for several hours under extreme conditions at high temperatures. New technological break-throughs are always on the horizon, and perhaps one day in the not too distant future we’ll see integrated fire suit systems with complete body air conditions, or perhaps an extended air freshener capability that can keep air cool in the interior of a boiling hot race car.