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How Different Are Race Cars To Road Cars? 

If you’ve ever driven a car, chances are that you know that there can be massive differences between each car that you drive. The feel of them, the braking system and how they react to you can feel worlds apart.

There are many elements that can cause this, from the engine, the braking or whether they’re using the Lionhart all-season tires or not. But the biggest difference you’re going to see between cars is the difference between road cars and racing cars.

Most people haven’t had the opportunity to drive a racing car, but we can tell you right off the bat that it is a wholly different experience.

Let’s look through the differences between race cars and road cars.

Difference between race cars and road cars



As you will know from seeing race cars on TV, their whole appearance is very different to that of a road car. Race cars are a lot closer to the ground and their entire construction is based around being more aerodynamic.

The more aerodynamic the car, the faster it goes, and this is the prime goal of any race car. The greater the aerodynamic quality of the car, the better chance they have at winning the race.

The main way to do this is to make the car cut through wind. The less wind resistance, the faster the car is able to travel. This also means that it uses less fuel so there’s less stopping time for drivers. Aerodynamics are of high importance especially within NASCAR, as they have partnered with NASA to aid in the aerodynamics, calling this testing “Rockets to Race cars.”


Control is another very important factor for race cars. Although this is important in a road car too, there is a tighter margin to deal with in a race car. One corner can be the difference in between winning or losing a race.

Downforce is the main element that a race car is contending with here. It needs to be so great that nothing could make the car lose grip on the track. This is why the tires are so much bigger on a race car. They need to be almost glued to the track in order for the racers to go round the track fast enough.



Power is another element of a race car that’s very different to a road car. Although there are road cars that can reach high speeds quickly, this is nothing in comparison to race cars.

The horsepower on a race car in comparison to a road car is unmatched. The more power a race car has, the faster its able to go and the bigger chance it has at winning the race. For this reason, race cars also have a dual gear system which means that the drivers can change gear faster and therefore waste less time.

The power behind the car is down to the way the Camshaft works. The power the engine generates is up to the efficiently of the amount of fuel it burns, and this is regulated by the cam due to the amount of air/fuel combination the engine takes in and expels out. A Race car performs better, as the cam opens the intake valve for a longer period of time when it reaches certain high speeds, taking the engine to its peak performance.



Weight between race cars and road cars are highly different. Race cars are very light to help them go faster around the track. They are made of durable materials to help protect the car, but they have to be light so as not to infringe on the speed.

The weight distribution is also different in a race car. There is more weight put on the back end of the car in order to maximize the control it has when going around corners.

Any unnecessary elements on a race car are immediately gotten rid of to help with the weight as well. This means any extra seats; the trunk and any other unnecessary equipment will not be present in a race car.



Race cars are known for being noisy – you can hear them from miles away going around the track. This is because they have a different exhaust system to a road car. Race car engines draw in more air and have to let it out quicker to enhance the performance of the car, even if you have a component that will enhance your road car .

The simplest accessory that alters the interior of a race car compared to a road car is the racing seats. They are designed to fit the race driver to ensure maximum safety and comfort. The majority of racing seats are designed with 2”-3” 5-point safety belts, but for the highest level of safety the best to choose is the 6-point harness.

You will find now that some new cars come installed with racer like bucket seats.  This is due to their design and the high-performance that can come with some road cars now, as they are designed to support the body and contoured to fit only one person.

Race cars and road cars couldn’t be more different from each other due to their different needs. One is for practicality, and one is definitely better used for entertainment! There are some features however that transferred from race cars to road cars. A prime example is if you were to buy a luxury road car like a Porsche. The ignition can be found on the left side of the steering wheel as this is inherited from Porsches racing history. This is due to the convenience of being able to start your ignition whilst simultaneously shifting into first gear.

Not to mention the road cars inspired by race cars. You’ve got road cars like the BMW M4, Ford Mustang GT and the well-known Dodge Charger, that all exceed being road cars with their unique and beautiful designs and powerful engines.

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