Over the decades of motorsport, racing cars were always laboratories of four wheels that served to test and develop various components. If a specific part endured repeated torture on the track, it was good enough to use in everyday vehicles in mass production. Just like in civilian cars, fasteners are a small but essential part of the championship-winning formula, and in top-notch racing series, constructors pay much attention to them. Today, we will tell you more about the different fasteners used in motorsport.
Firstly, although the fasteners in road-going vehicles and in racing machines serve the same purpose, there is a significant difference in approach and design. First of all, racing fasteners are either made of higher-strength materials or metal, which is more durable. The reason is simple: race cars achieve incredibly high speeds and generate an insane amount of heat, requiring all fasteners on the vehicle to be up to the task. You don’t want your body panels flying off at 200 mph or hearing a suspicious rattle just when you want to overtake somebody for the chequered flag.
Secondly, fasteners have to have a quick-release function on some vehicles since there is a chance that the pit crew needs to replace a part, body panel, or component. Often in the heat of battle, cars swap paint and bump into each resulting in cracked bumpers or damaged front splitters and spoilers. In that case, the pit crew is ready to take the part off and replace it with a brand new one. Using special “quick release” fasteners, it is possible to replace the whole panel in just a couple of seconds, something that couldn’t be done on a regular vehicle.
Thirdly, although race cars use a more advanced set of fasteners, not all kinds are needed for this application. For example, race cars don’t need plastic fasteners that go in the interior and hold door cards or dashboards. Simply, because race cars don’t have an interior or conventional dashboard.
As we mentioned before, automotive fasteners used in motorsport need to be highly durable and withstand extreme heat and forces. For such purposes, manufacturers use high-strength plastics or metal simply because metal can endure higher temperatures. In some cases, aluminum is also used. This leads us to an exciting point that fasteners in motorsport have more in common with those used in the aerospace industry since the requirements are as high and forces they need to withstand are as strong.
One of the critical points in constructing fasteners for motorsport is their weight. In most cases, the weight of a single bolt, spacer, or spring is not relevant, but when you are constructing an extremely expensive race machine from scratch, and you want to find every single way to have a competitive advantage over the rest of the grid, every gram matters.
Types of Motorsport Fasteners
The most common fasteners used in race cars are springs, quick-release latches, rivets, washers, pins, locks, and clips. Most of those are made of metal. For example, the rubber hooks (for holding the bonnet) are also used due to their ability to soften the vibrations.
AFL exists to connect with its automotive customers as a partner, not just a parts supplier. Our aim is to really understand the problems you are facing, to collaborate with you and to help you solve that problem. AFL supports both automotive OEM and aftermarket customers across a whole range of segments including car, truck, commercial, motorcycle, construction and defence.