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Maximise your performance gains with strict weight reduction.

"Weight reduction. Putting your car on a diet.."

Lighter cars are quicker and the handling is much better.

Obviously taking out the seats, carpets, radio, seat belts, headlining and air conditioning will turn the family car into a rather impractical daily hack.

But throwing in a few bean bags for the kids to sit on will not add much to the weight (Please note that it would not be legal or safe to sit your children on a bean bag in a car!).

Spare wheels can add weight so ideally removing this will be a fairly easy weight reduction modification with many modern run flat tyres you can limp home without air in your tyres so the spare is going to become obsolete. The addition of a light weight racing seat will further reduce weight.

Making the car lighter will improve handling and performance.

For serious weight reduction removal of the glass windows and replacement with perspex will save  a fair chunk of weight. Replacing the windows with lexan or plexi makes significant weight savings but the main front screen should be left as safety glass for obvious reasons. 

Many companies are offering replacement body panels in aluminium, GRP fibreglass or for the maximum weight reduction and best strength go for carbon fibre body panels. You realise how heavy the panels are in a car when lifting up the bonnet so serious weight can be lost in stripping out as much metal as possible.

Carbon fibre bonnets/hoods still look very cool but make sure you buy a good quality fit as many panels are not very well built - always try the panel/bonnet/hood on the car for size before drilling and adding fasteners etc.

Fitting a roll cage will add a little to the weight you have saved but can really be a lifesaver and also will improve the handling as it maintains the rigidity of the car. With a roll cage fitted you can strip out a lot more metal from the car - side impact beams and cut away inner arches and panels but do not remove any part of the structure of the car.

Many other metal parts can be lightened by drilling holes in them and they should, if you know what you are doing, retain much of the rigidity of the structure. Alloy wheels help further reduce the weight. Because of rotational forces, lighter wheels mean better handling when changing direction. Usually most alloy magnesium wheels improve airflow to the brakes and improve stopping.

Door hinges and locks also add weight so these can be removed if the doors are welded shut, the welding will also help add some more strength to the body shell of the car. When fitting new parts to the car it is worth weighing them and going for the lighter option even things like brake pads, disks.

Many engine components are unnecessarily heavy - alternators, water pumps, fly wheels even pistons and blocks etc so always look for ways to reduce weight - we are starting to seem picky but saving 200g in 5 separate areas cumulatively reduces weight by 1 KG.

Specialist companies offer light weight radiators which are more efficient than the standard factory radiator. More and more traditionally cast iron parts are provided in lighter weight materials.

Don't just stop with the car - go on a diet yourself (have you ever seen a fat guy win a race? I'm expecting floods of correspondence on this one!)

For more information on weight reduction we suggest you join our forum (have a read of one of our weight reduction threads for some more ideas on this and all other aspects of car modification).

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