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Curious Question About Old Le Mans Cars


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#1 TurboMan

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 06:17 AM

Hi everybody, i've been playing racing videogames and seeing races a lot of time, many of them with Le Mans cars. Something i noticed is that in lot of Le Mans cars from 60s to 90s (maybe more, i haven't seen yet) is that the driving wheel is on the right side of the car. But this is not what i find curious. The weird thing is that the shifter is between the driver and the right door of the car (in British, Japanese, ... cars the shifter is in the centre of the car)

Lot of cars had this:


Mazda 787B: http://cdn.stancewor...7b-interior.jpg

Ferrari 330 P4: http://farm4.static...._10c2312309.jpg

Porsche 917: http://www.porsche91...7interior04.JPG

Ford GT40: http://th03.devianta...mmy-d4a8wbs.jpg

and many many more.

My question is: Why they built the cars like this?

Is any motorsport tradition?
Did the regulations of these eras establish this pattern?

If someone still doens't understand what i'm refering to just tell me. I tried to explain it in the best way.

#2 MECH

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 06:28 AM

Most people aren't leftys, they have better control in the right hand.
So it makes sense to have it on the right side of the steeringwheel :)

#3 Paddy the Irishman

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 08:50 AM

I think that it may be because the majority of the world drives on the right hand side of the road.

Because of this,the driver normlly sits on the lefthand side of the car and with a 'stick shift' uses the right hand. The majority of race circuits are run in a clockwise direction and it benefits to have the driver on the right hand/circuit-inside side of the car, hence the steering wheel there.  Becsuse the drivers are mainly used (in road cars) to using their right hand to change gear, the gearshift is placed on the right.

A few years ago a very good American driver was engaged to drive a US type Lotus coupe in a race series, I can't remember the driver or the exact car, but after one or two races he got them to change the gearshiftlever from the middle of the car to the right side and hence to the right of the steeering wheel.

I learned to drive in England and drove on the LHS for some considerable time(35 years +).  Later I moved to the US and for over ten years had to sit on the other side and change gear with my right hand.  Toward the end of that time a friend  let me drive his (UK) Lotus Elan and I was amazed to find how much more gear changing felt'natural' because I was, again, using the hand which I had learned with originally.

#4 TurboMan

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 10:29 AM

Thx both. I thought it was some classical tradition or something like that. I was wandering about this lot of time.

View PostPaddy the Irishman, on Sep 01 2013 - 08:50 AM, said:

...
Because of this,the driver normlly sits on the lefthand side of the car and with a 'stick shift' uses the right hand. The majority of race circuits are run in a clockwise direction and it benefits to have the driver on the right hand/circuit-inside side of the car, hence the steering wheel there.  Becsuse the drivers are mainly used (in road cars) to using their right hand to change gear, the gearshift is placed on the right.
...

Really thx for your explanation Paddy, that was what i was searching :up:

Edited by TurboMan, Sep 01 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#5 Bob Simpson

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 12:33 PM

I drove a car in England during a vacation many years ago and I got used to the left hand shifting pretty easily.  But I kept looking up and to the right for the inside rear view mirror.  That was the hardest thing for me, interior-wise.  Before I got the car I was worried that the throttle-brake-clutch positions would be reversed :confused:  but they seem to be standard everywhere in the world.

#6 Paddy the Irishman

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 01:47 PM

Mirors, similar in reverse for me Bob ! - but did it feel more natural when you went back to righthand shifting, or did you drive an automatic on your home side of the Atlantic ?

#7 Bob Simpson

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 02:14 PM

Automatic back at home in Canada.  But I seem to be generally ambidextrous.  Not as versatile with the eyes.

#8 Burnsy865

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Posted Sep 01 2013 - 02:50 PM

View PostBob Simpson, on Sep 01 2013 - 12:33 PM, said:

Before I got the car I was worried that the throttle-brake-clutch positions would be reversed :confused:  but they seem to be standard everywhere in the world.

If they were reversed you could just drive with your legs crossed :P :lol:

#9 Border Reiver - guest

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Posted Sep 02 2013 - 11:05 AM

Sports cars in the 50s did sometimes have altered pedal configurations with a centre throttle. In Taruffi's book on the technique of motor racing one of his pieces of advice is to ensure that you find out which pedal configuration the car is using before setting off. :)

This does also beg the question of why it seemed sensible at some point to reorder the pedals in some cars, e.g. racing sports cars, but not in other cars such as single seaters or road cars, especially when drivers in those days might be racing in several different cars on the same day at the same meeting and so swapping back and forth between these various pedal configurations.

Rob

Edited by Border Reiver, Sep 02 2013 - 11:08 AM.


#10 TurboMan

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Posted Sep 03 2013 - 03:57 AM

View PostBorder Reiver, on Sep 02 2013 - 11:05 AM, said:

Sports cars in the 50s did sometimes have altered pedal configurations with a centre throttle. In Taruffi's book on the technique of motor racing one of his pieces of advice is to ensure that you find out which pedal configuration the car is using before setting off. :)

This does also beg the question of why it seemed sensible at some point to reorder the pedals in some cars, e.g. racing sports cars, but not in other cars such as single seaters or road cars, especially when drivers in those days might be racing in several different cars on the same day at the same meeting and so swapping back and forth between these various pedal configurations.

Rob

Thx, that's really interesting. Didn't know this fact :)




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