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McLaren Envisions a Wild Future for Grand Prix Racing

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In the year 2050, McLaren Applied Technologies predicts in a new article that grand prix racing will be similar to racing we see in video games like F. Zero or Wipeout. However, instead of someone like Captain Falcon being in the driver seat, it would be a racer wearing a suit that connects to AI. Yeah, this is some serious futurology stuff.

The car that McLaren envisions looks like it came out of a sci-fi movie or video game and it’s called the MCLExtreme (MCLE). It features sidepods that were inspired by the gill of a great white shark, which can expand and contract in order to optimize aerodynamics. When these side pods are narrowed, the MCLE would be able to hit 310 mph down a straight, but when contracted they can slow the car down for braking.

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To make that kind of speed possible, the MCLE would, of course, be powered by electricity. In fact, they say all grand prix racing in 2050 will be electric and charging of the batteries would come from the track itself. Think wireless charging, but the charging pad is the entire track and your phone is a race car. One interesting theory from McLaren is that cars could possibly be able to steal energy from cars in front of them, “keeping fans on the edge of their seats.”

For the track, McLaren sees the future of racing taking crazy twists and turns you’d only expect in a video game. High-tech cars means greater performance, the ability to perform tighter turns and high-speeds. For street circuits, McLaren notes that track designers could build banking to street corners for higher-speeds.

When it comes to more circuit racing, there could be circuits that span great distances. Their example is the Italian Grand Prix of 2050 spanning from the Monza to the Milan city center.

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One of the wildest visions from McLaren Applied Technologies is how AI will serve a role in racing. They believe that “racing could become an incubator for the development of AI.” For the driver, AI would become their super-intelligent co-pilot that would be connected to them via the helmet and race suit.

The future freaks me out, but I’m excited.

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