7 Vehicle Technologies We Owe to Motorsports


If you love cars but don’t think much of motorsports, you really should reconsider. Many people aren’t aware that quite a few technologies they enjoy on a regular basis while driving actually came straight from racing.

Back in the day, some people subscribed to the philosophy that winning a race on a Sunday would lead to more sales for the manufacturer on Monday. Is that still true? Kind of, but that’s not the point. We all owe a debt of gratitude to motorsports of all kinds, because without them cars just wouldn’t be the same.

Without further delay, here’s the list of technologies.


While some make fun of the “VTEC just kicked in” thing, this technology is actually handy (but it doesn’t act like a turbo). Back in the middle of the 1980s, Honda’s motorsports arm needed a way to broaden the torque curve on its Formula One cars. The variable valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC) was created as a direct result.

Really, the biggest benefit of VTEC doesn’t have to do with some surge in torque output and especially not with more horsepower. Instead, it’s boosted the fuel economy for Hondas and helped keep emissions down.

Push-Button Ignitions

Just about every new car these days can be outfitted with a button you push to fire up the engine. While some have questioned the value of such a feature, the fact is it comes directly from the world of motorsports. Every second, every tenth of a second, counts in a race. Automakers have been trying all sorts of time savers for drivers. Porsche used to place the ignition on the left side of the steering column, allowing racers to shift into first gear while starting the engine.

As technology progressed, push-button ignitions started to become popular in racing circuits. After all, pushing a button is even faster than turning a key. Somewhere along the way, automakers got the idea to add this “sporty” feature to performance-oriented vehicles. It turned out that a lot of average consumers liked the idea, hence why it’s so common these days.

View on One Page