There is more to gaining speed on the track than focusing all your energy on enhancing the power of your car. By taking a “less is more” approach and cutting weight from your car, you can extract more performance, leaving even more room to work on the power aspect if you want to. Performance tuning is about balance, not power, and weight reduction can help with that.
Stripping weight can be done in various ways, and depending on how serious you want to be, you can do anything from merely stripping the insides, to replacing body panels and components. In case you still want to use your car for leisure and passengers, there are also options that reduce weight, but keep your car comfortable. Foreign Affairs Motorsport can diagnose what needs to be done and work on performance upgrades and engine rebuilds with expert skills. Trust our technicians to perform optimal tuning that retains the integrity of the car, as well as the safety of the driver.
Start with the Inside
An easy way to lose weight is by swapping out interior parts of the car for lighter versions better suited to racing. Removing the back seats and passenger seat, as well as replacing your own with a lightweight racing seat, removes a good 200 pounds from the weight. Electrically adjustable seats can weigh 70 pounds each, and are worth removing for the ultimate power gain from the lost weight.
If you are removing items from inside your car, you need to keep in mind that it still needs to be legal for street use. Removing the spare wheel is an option if your car has modern run flat tires, but removing airbags and wiper motors renders your car illegal and is a risk to your safety. We will always be able to advise you on the correct way to strip your car. If you can live without a stereo or A/C, consider removing those too, as well as the carpets.
Put Your Pedal to the Fiber
If you are serious about reducing as much weight as possible, consider Carbon Fiber and GRP (glass fiber-reinforced plastic) as replacements for steel and aluminum door panels, trunk lids, hoods and fenders. Carbon Fiber is the strongest and lightest alternative, although it costs a pretty penny, fiberglass being the cheaper alternative.
If the cost makes you think twice about replacing it, consider how much a new paint job will cost from all the dents and bumps track racing may have already earned you. Carbon Fiber becomes an attractive investment due to its durability and good resale value should the need arise.
If you are considering carbon fiber wheels, know that they shatter and crack on impact and are not repairable, incurring high costs should they break. On the other hand, alloy magnesium wheels are light, making it easier for the engine to spin them, and have increased airflow which improve stopping power. We will make sure that every change optimizes your track car for ultimate performance. Why only focus on speed when you can also improve control?
Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, But Your Car Shouldn’t Be
If you opt for swapping the steel panels in your car out for carbon fiber, we recommend adding a roll cage. Steel and aluminum are better at handling impact, and in order to maintain the structural integrity of the car and ensure your safety – especially with the increased speed from all the weight loss – a roll cage will do you a favor. Adding a roll cage protects you should an accident occur, but it also means that we can remove more metal from the interior, while still keeping it strong.
Go Plastic, It’s Fantastic
Glass windows protect the inside of your car, and may also aid the aerodynamic factor of the car. If you want to shed weight but keep the aerodynamics, try out Plexiglas or Perspex instead. It’s 50% lighter than glass, which adds more pounds to the weight loss counter if you have already shed weight in other areas of your car. The front window, however, needs to stay in place for safety reasons.
Keep in mind that Plexiglas and Perspex do have a tendency to haze under UV light, and are susceptible to scratching easier, but at a weight reduction of up to 50 pounds. Going without side windows is also an option if you aren’t using your car for leisure.
Replace Heavier Components for Lighter Alternatives
All the pounds add up, and finding ways to make even a small difference will help in extracting as much performance as possible in the end. Some engine components have heavy factory defaults for alternators, water pumps, fly wheels, pistons and blocks – where lighter options can be found by our knowledgeable team. Your battery and radiator can also be swopped out for lighter ones, and our fitment center will ensure that the new one is compatible with your car’s engine.
Speaking of heavy components, if the driver of the car can stand to lose a few pounds, it may be worth considering. And if you are doing a smaller race, only put in as much fuel as you need, the rest becomes unnecessary weight.
We will always be able to consult you on the best performance tuning options for your car, and which combination of parts will give you the most performance gain. Our experience at Foreign Affairs Motorsport will refine your car into a masterpiece, instead of the hassle and heartbreak of going DIY.