Power-to-weight is key to the acceleration of any car. The less weight your engine’s power has to move, the faster it will accelerate. While gearing and even aerodynamics will have an effect, from a rolling start and providing both cars have full traction, two cars of the same power to weight ratio will accelerate about as fast as each other – even if one car had 100bhp and the other had 1000bhp engine. That’s why superbikes are so fast despite having significantly less power than most cars.
So, the simple thing here is to make your car as light as you can, but do it wisely. Many parts of cars weigh very little but are often removed, such as carpet and rear seats. But many parts are often ignored, such as heavy wheels, standard front seats and the sticky under-carpet sound deadening, all of which add up to a considerable amount.
It’s also worth considering the distribution of the car’s weight too. Weight over the driven wheels helps push the tyres into the ground, increasing traction. This is why FWD drag cars often have as much weight as possible at the very front of the car, and the opposite is also often true of RWDs. Moving huge amounts of weight around your car isn’t easy on a road car but be mindful of this point when adding parts or removing parts and you can really make a difference. A good corner-weight setup can see adjustable coilovers tweaked to move weight around the car slightly too – a neutral car will be set the same all round, but raising the rear suspension can help push weight of over the front wheels, for example.
Corner weighting helps you to control the weight distribution of the car