Durban - Almost every car junkie has a moment when they see a car on a race track and think, “Gosh I would love to own one of those!” The sad truth is that you really don't want to own one of those, well not for a daily commute anyway.
Before a car is strapped for the track, you can expect a hard suspension to have been thrown in and a roll cage fitted to keep the cabin sturdy in the event of an accident. All excess weight is stripped from the car, and the engine and drivetrain are usually beefed up. This all adds up to a beautiful and well-honed track machine but certainly not one you'd want for your daily drive.
A hard suspension means that you feel every bump in the road. While such a set-up is beautiful for preventing the car from wallowing about on a track and allows you to kiss every apex, on a street car it means that for the large part of your time you nurse a sore back and every bump in the road assaults you as if it has a personal vendetta against you.
A roll cage can be most annoying. Although it is a prerequisite for a track car safety, on a 'daily-drive' you have to deal with the hassle of getting into a vehicle that equates with trying to climb a jungle gym every morning. If you make a sudden stop or try to get into the car too quickly, you run the risk of potentially concussing yourself on the roll cage. Then there is the added irritation of having to buckle up with a racing harness instead of a simple seat belt.
Weight loss = comfort lost
We know that every motorsport enthusiast loves the sound of a well-tuned engine but in a track car, due to the stripping away of all unnecessary weight, sound deadening material and insulation are generally removed.
In a daily commute, it can become tiresome to sit around in traffic listening to an extremely loud engine note that you're not insulted from. On a hot day you will miss the air conditioner that would have been removed and on a cold day, feel arthritic pain from the lack of insulation or heater for that matter.
If your window mists up in front of you, you need not resist the urge to lean forward and wipe it because the racing harness fastening you into your seat ensures that you have similar mobility to somebody in a straightjacket.
What about a beefy engine and drivetrain?
Surely there can be nothing wrong with this on a 'daily-drive'? Unfortunately there is a lot wrong with this for daily use.
Race engines are heavily tuned and high-wear motors. They require extra maintenance, are extremely powerful and tend to be loud. Not only do you run a risk of having police impound your car for not being street legal but you will assault your eardrums continuously with engine noise.
Most racing cars usually have an aggressive clutch, meaning that the clutch engages very hard and quite roughly. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, inching forward with an aggressive clutch will require a gargantuan amount of patience and you will probably burn through clutches very quickly as racing clutches are not really suited for this purpose.
Racing cars also generally use 'semi-slick' tyres for track use. On a track, where the tyres are hot, these wheels provide exemplary grip but in real-life and on the street, the moment it is cold, rainy or slippery, it becomes plain hazardous to drive with these tyres.
The bottom line
There is a reason that daily vehicles do not move and perform like racing cars. The reason is because they are not supposed to. Production vehicles are generally made to serve the daily needs of a driver and to do so well. Very few cars can promise daily comfort with extreme track performance and those cars that do usually have exotic names and price tags to make your eyes water.
The truth is that having a track car for a 'daily-drive' is a nuisance and an inconvenience. While you may get admiring glances in traffic, you will definitely look cooler than you feel.
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