A lot of arguments take place, about how much of the racing car development flows into the production of serial cars. To be quite honest, we also won't be able to clear this up once and for all either. However, it would be a good idea if they do contribute anything at all.
In addition to this of course, the expression 'racing car' must be more precisely defined. If a manufacturer provides the cars for a certain cup-race at a lower price and then determines the rules, that could be the most reasonable method of breaking into the racing world. Quite often this results in the discovery of exceptionally talented drivers.
The vehicles used for rally-racing have even less to do with serial vehicles and the so-called 'prototypes', are even further away from any serial-car. The single-seaters (monoposti), regardless of whether they have covered wheels or not (Formula-cars), are vehicles which have been conceived purely for racing purposes.
There are also striking differences between the tracks to be mastered. One can, e.g., like on the Nürburgring in Germany, race around on a circular track or on a free stretch of road like on the Mille Miglia in Italy. These races can also consist of several laps, e.g., like the Targa Florio. In the USA they have drag-racing, a quarter-mile acceleration competition.
Whereby everything in serial vehicles is apparently, decided by the buyers, the most important components in a racing car, are strictly bound to certain regulations. This provides for a certain amount of equality among the competitors. Indeed the wording in these regulations also presents a challenge to get the most out of the components, the further away the vehicle is from the series, the greater the challenge.
A racing car doesn't have to be accepted by the spectators, but by the technical scrutineering and afterwards it has to prove itself against the competition. In the event that any repairs have to be made, it isn't a case of how much will the workshop charge, but how long will it take during a pit-stop. All these factors certainly have an influence on how the vehicle is constructed.
By the way, the technicians who work on the two types of car are also very different. A motor mechatronics expert has to undergo additional training for the racing car. Added to this, he/she must have the ability to work to the stopwatch in a team and not to get in the way of other technicians. Of course, no final test-drive is done by the master-mechanic either, thus the whole team takes the responsibility.
In the case of the serial vehicle, it still today, takes years from the first sketch until the standard car body is pressed. As far as really new engines are concerned, the development time is more than likely twice as long. A new Formula-1 car can be designed, built and tested in the space of only a few months. By the way, as in the case of the previous season compared with the current one, approx. 90% of the car is new.
In the hands of the customer, basically all the components in a serial car should last the entire life of the vehicle, of course, apart from some parts subject to wear and tear. In a racing car, the lifespan of the individual components depends largely on the regulations. They have the opportunity of using so-called 'qualification-engines' which are only intended for achieving the best place in the starting line, and wouldn't last the length of a race. On the other hand, the actual Formula-1 engines have to be able to compete in several races without revision.
In the cold reality of serial-car production, the manufacturer is also bound by regulations, e.g., CO2- and Euro-emission-regulations. Indeed, recently there are also attempts to carry this over to the racing sector, quite often, with questionable results. In racing, specialists sit in the car which is supervised from the pits, in the serial cars, it's often laymen, who depend on reports given out by the electronics.
In the course of this series, we'll be dealing with the differences much more comprehensively. Just one further point, and this may surprise you. You may have wagered, that the engine is probably the most important guarantor for the success of a competition vehicle, more important by far, are the tyres, followed by the chassis and only then, by the engine. 04/14