Jonathan Gitlin:

Last year Ars traveled down to Austin, Texas, to take a look at some of the most technologically advanced race cars the world has ever seen. But racing—unlike its consumer counterparts—is much like the tech sector; it waits for no one. A single year passes, and the Audi R18 and Toyota TS030 are now obsolete. So too are the machines of last year’s Formula 1 season. As fast as ever, the new cars make that speed without nearly as much fuel, thanks to new rules that force them to develop much more efficient hybrid systems. The result is a technological revolution at the race track that’s as exciting as as any time in the sport’s past.
 The cars in each major racing series—Formula 1, IndyCar, LeMans, NASCAR—are shaped by their respective rulebooks, and those get rewritten from time to time. It’s usually an effort to either slow the cars down (if they’re getting too fast for the tracks on which they race), make them more socially relevant (i.e., more fuel efficient), or level the playing field and make things more competitive. On the other side of the equation are the teams who go racing, whose ambition is to be the fastest and take home the trophies. If that means pushing the boundaries of what’s legal—well, that’s racing.
 Given that the two sides of this delicate balance had 12 months to tinker, we decided to take stock of where race car design stands midway through 2014. The best part of all the exciting tweaks outlined below? There’s still half a year of driving to come.

Via Steve Crandall.