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HSO Racing Spotlight: Left-hand vs Right-hand Drive 

August 22, 2019

Racing has been an international phenomenon since the 1880s when the first gasoline- (petrol-) fueled internal-combustion engine was invented. In fact, according to Britannica.com, the first race took place in 1895 from Paris to Bordeaux, France, and back. That same year, organized racing in the U.S. came to life. When we look at the sport in today’s world, however, there are multiple differences between European-style racing and American-style. The most obvious is the preference of the left-hand and right-hand drive. In this spotlight, we will discuss both types of drive and how they are utilized at racetracks across the world.

Different Styles of Cars

Before we dive right into the left-hand and right-hand drive, we must first talk about the different styles of cars. One style is the open-wheel car – a vehicle that has its wheels outside of its body. The other is the non-open-wheel car – a vehicle that places its wheels on the inside of its main body.

Open-Wheel Cars

Most famously seen in Formula 1 racing, these cars can exceed 220 mph. When you think of England, you might recall that their steering wheel is on the right-hand side. However, with these vehicles, the driver can only be seated in the middle. With their helmet-covered head sticking out and the engine located in front or behind them, these racers have no other option but to get comfortable with where they are able to sit.

Non-Open-Wheel Cars

Non-open-wheel cars include a wide variety of racing events including sports, touring, and stock car. Known most famously stateside, of course, is NASCAR. These vehicles have both a driver’s side and a passenger’s side – which can be customized accordingly. For most American drivers, it’s easy to choose a left-hand drive. Outside of the U.S., however, drivers have an interesting choice to make.

Benefits of Left-Hand Drive

Considering the multitude of racetrack choices drivers must compete on, choosing a left-hand drive can have its benefits. If a vehicle is constantly turning left, or counterclockwise, then it will handle smoother when the driver is also located on the left. At the same time, a majority of drivers are accustomed to sitting on the left side of the vehicle when driving. It’s much more difficult to get used to driving on the opposite side.    

Benefits of Right-Hand Drive 

As with the left-hand drive benefiting from counterclockwise courses, the right-hand drive benefits from driving clockwise. Leaning into a turn can keep the vehicle balanced properly while it maintains its high velocity. This way of driving goes back to familiarity for those who are from the United Kingdom or a country that was formerly part of the British Empire.

HSO’s Racing Capabilities

At HSO, we supply VP Racing Fuels to our customers who are looking to rev their engines. No matter what side of the car you drive on, your vehicle will always need fuel. Did we mention that we’re sure to provide the highest quality when it comes to fuel delivery? It’s true! Contact us today at 1-800-467-5044 to find out more or to request our services.