Why right hand drive race cars?


ChipBeck

GT Owner
Staff member
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Feb 13, 2006
5,682
Scottsdale, Arizona
Yesterday morning I was drinking coffee and reading an article about the yellow Ford GT Mark IV that finished fourth at LeMans in 1967. Henry Ford II was apparently aggravated when critics pointed out that his 1966 winner, a GT40 Mark II was not an American car but rather a British built car with an American engine. So he goes back to the drawing board and has an all American car built with an American engine and two American drivers. But he builds a car with right-hand drive that forces the drivers to hop over the top of the stick shifter thats mounted on the right door sill. What's the deal with this? :confused Do the rules at LeMans require right-hand drive automobiles or is there some advantage to this layout that I'm not seeing?

Chip
 
Last edited:

Neilda

GT Owner
Oct 19, 2005
3,559
London, UK
Don't know why - but probably something to do with simply a British car, no regulations particularly.

The Romans used to drive on the left - it is the correct side, leaving your sword arm free to defend yourself! :biggrin

 

AtomicGT

GT Owner
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Apr 12, 2006
3,025
Los Angeles
I be;ieve the early British cars had the shift out side the right side fo the car, driver on the right side. When enclosed cars came on the scene, the Brits moved the shift to teh centre consule and kept the driver's seat on the right side to avoid having to change a generation of right sidede drivers! It is not simply a UK driving fad, most of the United Kingdom Coutries also drive on the right side. I actually enjoy traveling in the UK on the right side of the road.

:thumbsup
 

Bill M

GT Owner
Aug 18, 2007
85
Most race tracks are mostly right hand coners this keeps the weight too the inside. It also lets the gear shift lever go back to the trans. without to many turns. Some early English sports racers had center shift this did not last long.
 

SteveA

GT Owner/B.O.D
Mark IV Lifetime
Dec 13, 2005
3,688
Sandpoint Id
Yesterday morning I was drinking coffee and reading an article about the yellow Ford GT Mark IV that finished fourth at LeMans in 1967. Henry Ford II was apparently aggravated when critics pointed out that his 1966 winner, a GT40 Mark II was not an American car but rather a British built car with an American engine. So he goes back to the drawing board and has an all American car built with an American engine and two American drivers. But he builds a car with right-hand drive that forces the drivers to hop over the top of the stick shifter thats mounted on the right door sill. What's the deal with this? :confused Do the rules at LeMans require right-hand drive automobiles or is there some advantage to this layout that I'm not seeing?

Chip
Chip,
I understand the point your making with the MKIV being a totally American built so why the right hand drive? So, I put a call into Phil Remington.
Phil recalls that MKIV was a CarCraft project headed by Roy Lunn. Roy was an Englishman but Phil doesn't think this was the reason for the right hand drive. But more due to the car being designed to run closed European road courses which were all run clock wise. Sitting on the right was thought to be better for both turning (visual) and weight distribution.
 

Piccola

GT aficionado
Mark IV Lifetime
Feb 17, 2006
1,036
Grand Junction, CO
Chip,
I understand the point your making with the MKIV being a totally American built so why the right hand drive? So, I put a call into Phil Remington.
Phil recalls that MKIV was a CarCraft project headed by Roy Lunn. Roy was an Englishman but Phil doesn't think this was the reason for the right hand drive. But more due to the car being designed to run closed European road courses which were all run clock wise. Sitting on the right was thought to be better for both turning (visual) and weight distribution.
That's interesting as most American tracks run counterclockwise. I didn't think it had anything to do w/the fact we are sitting in the lefthand seat, but thought it was just because we have a history of racing in that direction (ie, horseracing, track & field running, etc).

A little off "track", :wink but do you know if most European tracks run clockwise or is it just the English?
 

ChipBeck

GT Owner
Staff member
Mark IV Lifetime
Le Mans 2010 Supporter
Feb 13, 2006
5,682
Scottsdale, Arizona
Like clockwork.....

Chip,
I understand the point your making with the MKIV being a totally American built so why the right hand drive? So, I put a call into Phil Remington.
Phil recalls that MKIV was a CarCraft project headed by Roy Lunn. Roy was an Englishman but Phil doesn't think this was the reason for the right hand drive. But more due to the car being designed to run closed European road courses which were all run clock wise. Sitting on the right was thought to be better for both turning (visual) and weight distribution.
Straight from Phil Remington, uhh, yeah, that'll do. :banana Unbelievable, this forum never ceases to amaze me. Thanks Steve, I feel smarter.

Chip