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Racing Vocabulary:
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Fuel Injection: A system that meters fuel to an engine by measuring its needs to via computer, it then regulates the fuel flow through a pump and injectors. Throttle-body injection locates the injectors centrally in the throttle-body housimg (the piece above the intake), while port injection allocates at least one injector for each cylinder near its intake port.

Power Band: The rather broad rpm range over which an engine delivers most of it peak power. The power band usually extends from slightly below the engines torque peak to slightly about its power peak, and is an often used term in competitive racing.

Targa: A removable roof body style that is similiar to a convertible, except that it incorporates a fixed, bar-like structure running from side to side behind the front seats. These are available on many late model Corvettes, and also Acura NSX's.

Traction Control: A control system that pervents wheelspin by detecting when a wheel is about to break traction, thereby reducing engine power and/or applying the appropriate brakes to prevent it from happening. Traction control system (TCS) are available in GT3.

Valvetrain: The collection of parts that make the valves operate. The valvetrain includes the camshaft(s) and all related drive components, the various part that convert the camshafts rotary motion into reciprocating motion at the valves, and the valves and their associated parts.

Wheel Hop: An undesirable suspension characteristic in which a drive wheel moves up and down so violently that it actually leaves the ground. Wheel hop can be caused by many problems, including excessive unsprung weight, insufficient shock damping, or poor torsional axle control.

Rich & Lean: Back when most cars used carburators, the actual fuel jet size determined the amount of gas that would enter your engine. Tuners would simply swap out larger jets if they wanted a richer mixture (more gas, less air), and smaller jets if they wanted a leaner mixture (more air, less gas). You'll still hear these term today, although not as much since this sensitive mixture is now precisely controlled by a computer chip.

Dual Quad, Tri-Power, Cross Ram, Six Pack: All of these are denominations are for different types of vintage carburators. During the muscle car era, every manufacturer had their own special name to seperate them from the crowd.

Cowl: A small scoop at the base of the windshield and rear of the hood the forces air into the air filter. In the United States, this was extremely populat in the late sixties and early seventies with muscle cars.

Heel & Toe Downshifting: A technique of downshifting used to match engine speed with gearbox speeds, all while continuing to brake. The trick is to brake, then while clutching, "blip" the throttle with the right side of the right foot, then shift to a lower gear and clutch out.

Anti-Dive: A front suspension characteristic that converts braking-induced forces in the suspension links into a vertical force that tends to lift the body, thereby reducing dive under braking.

Balancing & Blueprinting: The meticulous matching to factory specifications all parts and/or components. Hand-fitting parts to the absolute design callout or manufacturer's specifications.

Detonation: A condition where after the spark plug fires, some of the unburned air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber explodes simultaneously. It's set off only by the heat and pressure of air-fuel mixture that has already been ignited. Detonation, or "engine knock," greatly increases the mechanical and thermal stresses on the engine, thereby reducing engine life.

Engine Displacement: Contrary to popular belief, engine displacement isn't measured by just combining the size of the piston bores. It's actually the total volume of fuel/air mixture that engine is capable of drawing into all cylinders during one operating cycle. To put it simply, a standard 2.4 liter V6 actually pulls in 2.4 liters of fuel/air mixture during the time it takes for all six cylinders to make one complete revolution through the engine.

Torque: In an engine, torque is the twisting motion at the crankshaft measured in foot-pounds (lb-ft). One foot-pound is the force of one pound acting at right angles at the end of the arm one foot long. Simply stated, torque is the engine power that gets a vehicle to speed -- felt especially during the launch and subsquent acceleration.

Ram-Air: The process of jamming more air into either the carb or intake manifold with the intent of making more power. The faster you can get more air into the cylinders, the more power you make.

Burnout: In drag racing, a burnout is the spinning of the rear wheels at very high RPM. This is done to heat tire rubber prior to a race, making it softer and resulting in greater traction.

Holeshot: This term is usually only used when talking about drag racers. The driver who gets the faster reaction time out of the box is usually said to have pulled a holeshot.

Pole Position: The foremost position on the starting grid, awarded to the fastest racer during qualifying. Thankfully, they've brought this back to Gran Turismo 3!

Redline: The redline is the maximum recommended RPM for an engine. In cars equipped with a tachometer, the redline is usually indicated by a thin red line, hence the nickname.

All Throttle, No Bottle: A term that racers use to describe naturally aspirated engine versus those that use Nitrous-Oxide (NO2). All "throttle" would be a naturally aspirated engine, and the term "bottle" represents teh actual Nitrous Oxide container that would rest in the trunk or rear seat of the car.

Boost Pressure: This is the increase above atmospheric pressure produced inside the intake manifold by any turbo or supercarger. It is commonly measured in PSi (pounds per square inch).

Gearbox, Tranny: Both of these terms are used interchangeably with the word transmission. Basically, it's racer's slang.

Neutral Drop: In a car with an automatic transmission, this is the process of revving an engine up in neutral, then dropping it into gear as you launch. If you couldn't tell from the description, this is extremely hard on the gearbox (and final drive gear), so we recommen that you DON'T try this in Daddy's new car. When you do it and your transmission falls out, don't say we didn't warn you.

Rev Limiter: This device is electronically wired into the cars ignition system and prevents the engine from exceeding maximum RPM's. In GT3, all of the cars have rev limiters that connot be bypassed, which is why you can't blow your engine.

Brake Torquing: A procedure generally used in performance tests to improve the off-the-line acceleration on a car equipped with an automatic transmission. Hold down the brakes with the left foot, then hit the throttle with the car in gear to increase engine rpm and release the brakes. This is also a good way to smoke your tires right off their rims.

Chassis: This decribes the underlying "frame" portion of the car. In other words, when all of the car's components and sub-assembles are stripped off, you'd be left with just a bare frame or chassis.

Monocoque: A type of body structure that derives its strength and rigidity from the use of thin, carefully shaped and joined panels, rather than from a framework of thick members. This is derived from a French word meaning "single shell."

Skidpad: A large area of smooth, flat pavement used for handling tests. The car's ability to "stick" is measured by defining a large-diameter circle on the skidpad and measuring the fastest speed at which the car can go without sliding off.

Turbo Lag: Within a turbocharger's operating range, lag is the delay between the instant a car's accelerator is depressed and the time the turbocharged engine develops a large fraction of the power available (at that point in the engine's power curve). One of the main weakness of turbocharged engine.

Valve Float: At very high RPM, an engine condition in which the valve lifters actually float because the valve springs are not strong enough to overcome the momentum of the various valvetrain components. This can be fixed by replacing the springs, but extended periods of valve float will damage the valvetrain beyond repair.

Chassis Roll: As the car travels around corners at high speeds (especially on ovals), the side of the car facing the inside of the turn becomes significantly lighter, causing it to raise up. On the flipside, that extra weight that shifts toward the outside of the turn causes the other side of the car to pitch downward. Chassis Roll describes this movement from side to side.

Draftting: The practice of two or more cars running bumper to bumper in order to get a speed advantage. By displacing the air in front of it, the lead car creates a vacuum between its rear bumper and the following car. As such, the second car is actually pulled by the first, giving it a burst of speed.

Groove: Road course racing will use the term line, but oval racing like NASCAR will use the term groove. On a super speedway the one in GT3, there's usually both a high and low groove.

Tire Compound: Tire compound is basically a mixture of chemicals that determines the overall softnees of a racing tire. In general, most oval courses require a certain type of tire compound be run on their track. The inside tires are considerably softer than outside tires, and sometimes it's against the rules to run them on the wrong side of the car.

200 MPH Tape: We don't think you'll ever come across a professional (or amateur) racing team that hasn't used duct tape at one time or another. In fact, out designer uses it to hold together his daily driver.

Composite: Any material that consists of two or more components, typically one or more of high strength and one an adhesive binder. In auto racing, the most common composite is fiberglass, which consists of thin glass fibers bonded together in a plastic matrix. Fiberglass is desirable for its light weight, relatively low cost and ease of maintenance. Many of the higher tech racing teams are using carbon fiber composites instead.

Compression Ratio: Amount that the air/mixture is compressed as the piston reaches the top of the bore. As such, the higher the compression, the greateer the horsepower. The ratio between the combined volume of a cylinder and a combustion chamber when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke, and the volume when the piston is at the top of its stroke. The higher the compression ratio, the more mechanical energy an engine can squeeze from its air/mixture.

Magnaflux: Short for "magnetic particle inspection." A procedure for checking all steel parts in a car - engine blocks, connecting rods, cylinder heads, etc. - for cracls and other defects utilizing a solution of metal particles, fluorescent dye and a black light. Surface cracks will appear as red lines, which will let the mechanic know where they have problems.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE): The profession association of transportation-industry engineers. The SAE sets most auto-industry standasds for the testing, measuring, and designing of automoblies and their components. So in other words, these guys make you cars safe, kids. Thank goodness they weren't around in the 1960's - or else muscle cars would have never existed.

Spoiler: An aerodynamic part of the car's body that changes the direction of airflow in order to reduce lift or aerodynamic drag.

Aerodynamics: In general, the aerodynamics of a car represent the outer shell's ability to move through the aid. Aerodynamics play a huge role in keeping your car on the ground, in conjunction with downforce.

Aerodynamic Drag: The drag produced by a moving object as it displaces the air in its path. The less aerodynamic drag your car is getting, the faster you go. This term ties in directly wiith Drafting and Vaccum.

Anti-Roll Bar: This is a mechanical linage, set up for both the front and rear suspension (in some cars), that helps keep the car from getting too loose in the corners. It does so by keeping all four tires gripping the track. Sometimes it's also called a sway bar.

Chicane: Most people simply refer to this type fo turn as an S-curve, but the die-hard race fanatics wil always refer to it as a chicane (pronounced: sh-KAYne). The purpose of the chicane is not only to present a challenging turn to the drivers, but to also considerably slow down the speeds for the next stretch of track.

Horsepower: The common measurement when rating an engine's power. One horsepower equals 500 ft-lbs. per second, which is basically the power needed to lift 550 pounds one foot off the ground in exactly one second.

Kickdown: A downshift in an automatic transmission caused by depressing the throttle. As such, a kickdown isn't possible with a manual transmission.

Pound-Feet (lb-ft.): The most common unit of measurement when rating torque. One pound-foot is equal to the twisting force produced when a one-pound force is applied to the end ot a one-foot long lever. The best thing to remember to differentiate horsepower and torque is that horsepower is a lifting power, and torque is a twisting power.

Super Speedway: Any track that's a mile or more in total distance - road courses included.
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Apricot Hill Raceway  /   Complex String  /   Cote D'Azur  /   Deep Forest Raceway  /   Grand Valley Speedway  /   Laguna Seca Raceway  /   Mid-Field Raceway  /   Rome Circuit  /   Seattle Circuit  /   Smokey Mountain  /   Special Stage R11  /   Special Stage R5  /   Super Speedway  /   Swiss Alps  /   Tahiti Circuit  /   Tahiti Maze  /   Test Course  /   Tokyo R246  /   Trial Mountain  /  

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