Why do prototypes look bigger than they are: i have a theory!

2y ago

3.4K

To put it briefly, the main thing is the size of the windshield.

Because when looking at a picture of a non-street derived race-car, you have no obvious reference point to quickly decide what size it really is, so your brain grabs the biggest thing that looks normal: the windshield. And it assumes that all windshields must be somewhat as big, because you still have to fit a driver behind, right?

Well, actually, no. Street cars, and thus streat-derived cars have a much, much bigger cockpit, because a driver and 1 to 4 other persons must be able to fit in it somewhat comfortably, and have a good vision out. The passengers’ legs are more or less contained in the cockpit, for example. For comparison, here’s how the cockpit of an LMP1 car looks like:

Pretty cramped, right? Look, the driver has to be laying almost flat to fit in height, and his head is much farther back than your brain would have you think when looking at the exterior of the car. And even if by tradition LMP1 have to be able to house two human beings, realistically you’re not going to put anyone besides the driver. He fills almost all the room there is, and he takes up almost half of the total length of the car!

So, to sum it all up, here's how your brain sees an LMP1 car:

Quick and dirty photoshop of what the 919 would look like if its windshield were the size of the 911's. Yooge!

And here's how it really looks like:

See? Tiny, tiny windshield; ridiculously small car.

Add to that the fact that we generally think that everything we see in a picture is bigger than it really is, and if you happen to see an LMP1 in real life up close, you’re up for quite the shocker!

If you enjoyed the things this post tried to do to your brain and would like to see more wacky car-related theories, feel free to join my new tribe, I HAVE A THEORY!

Https://drivetribe.com/t/V3-9xK4cQgyVVWM3L1rV3g/YMe0mdJGSNSe9wYi0UyBJQ

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Comments (5)
  • Very good point. When I finally saw a real one I thought it was only a model, like Camelot.

    1 year ago
    1 Bump
    • Yes, it seems racing driver are so tiny because they have evolved to fit in model race cars. Darwin would be proud.

      1 year ago
  • It's the overall proportions, rather than just one of them. The windscreen makes it seem taller than it is, as you mentioned. The narrow cockpit makes the gap from cabin to wheels look bigger, giving an impression of width. The lowness of the side pods makes them look really long (although I think the wheelbase actually is quite long) and so on. That's why in isolation they look bigger than they are.

    The same goes for the 917, as it happens. It's smaller than a 914!

    1 year ago

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