Thanks for that site. The 8-wheeler is Japanese, electric, & ultra high performance? Hmmm...
It looked so similar to this old French Citroen...
Apperances can be deceiving, eh?
Reminds me of the 6-wheeled Formula 1 Elf vehicle I saw make a test run at Silverstone racetrack in England ('76 or early '77). [changed, after finding a larger pic, it's a model though]
Yes, the Tyrrell P34, that was a 'think out of the box' approach hehe.
If I recall correctly, it was to improve the aerodynamics of the car, by cutting the front tires size by half, but not compromise the grip.
Here's a video of approx 2 laps around the Monaco circuit in 1976 with comments from their french pilot Patrick Depailler it's subtitled for everybody enjoyment : http://youtube.com/watch?v=P_QeqjhvTU4
That must have been quite a show to witness MrSciTrek, the engine sound like nothing else I've heard, I'd love to have been there too, but I wasn't even born at the time
A USAF buddy & I went to Silverstone race track in his little Mini stationwagon, listening to the Grateful Dead (his choice) on 8-track. SOUND is the most awesome memory I have of the experience: from the song "Trucking" to the blast of the unmuffled engines screaming down the end of the long straightaway.
See the upper left of the map. If memory serves... I was across the course from the main grandstands & the bridge near the starting/finish line.
The crazy thing was I was within 20-30 feet of the cars... behind some serious but below chest-level guardrails. I had my first good camera (Minolta XE-7, last of the manual focus automatics) snapping away w/ slide film & learning to pan w/ the action. Shoot, I probably have the slides tucked in the basement somewhere.
The sound would rattle the jaw & sound like a mega-bee in the head. The only cooler LOUD sound I've ever heard was at an F-111F bombing demo in Florida, early '75: just me & a SSGT from our shop (com, nav, ecm) & we got to stand in a pickup truck bed not 200 feet behind (& to the right side) of a lightly fueled plane that was allowed to "show off" for the dignitaries: maximum allowable afterburner... OMG! Earplugs & hard headphones were barely enough & the... thunder... you could feel shaking the truck & the gut.
I think that as designers / engineers were sorting through the Formula 1 rule book, looking for "hidden" advantages, using creative interpretations, that they found nothing against extra wheels.
I don't know if thet had access to any mainframe computers or sufficiently complex programs that could reasonable predict the advantages & disadvantages of the extra wheels. They must have seen something in it, & had the funding, nerve & expertise to give it a go.
Smaller wheels give some aero advantage. allow better driver sight-lines (?), and rev up & down quicker due to less mass & smaller diameter. But there are more of them, require custom tires, complicate both the suspension & steering, & put new unknowns & get-used-to's on the driver & pit crew.
In the end, I think it got banned by rules changes because if it gave an advantage then the already high cost of running Formula 1 teams would go up even more.
My understanding is that such rules do keep the costs of racing down in many classes. Sadly, it also restricts the range of invention.
Tour de France rules require that all bike frames (& wheels?) have a certain minimum weight. Fabricators had been making structures so thin, to reduce mass, that the bikes would break when hit with an unexpected stress. And when packs of riders are heading down mountain sides at 60+ mph...
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