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Auto Glass for Off-Road Cars - Fun Facts

2017 was a thIt’s said that any car can be a race car provided it has all the correct parts and fixtures to make it faster, more durable and of course safer to use. That includes auto glass; race cars are more prone to collisions, so the windshield and windows need to be made from a strong substance.

Here you will find information on why auto glass for race cars is so different from conventionally manufactured glass for standard cars.


The Weight of Glass on an Automobile

Race cars are manufactured for one specific reason: to run as fast as any other car on the race track. In order for a race car to reach its full speed potential, it needs to be light. The focus on weight (for internal and external parts) is all about achieving maximum speed.

The auto glass used for race cars also needs to be light in weight. Typically the windshields manufactured for race cars are made with a polycarbonate resin. Polycarbonate is a synthetic material that is at least half the weight of a normal glass windshield.

What is Polycarbonate?

Polycarbonate is similar to plastic but it’s much stronger. It’s the same material used to create shatterproof and bullet resistant glass. This type of glass is also used to manufacture windshields for fighter jets.

Polycarbonate is layered between two sheets of glass which makes the windshield more resistant to cracking from impact.

How is a Polycarbonate Windshield Protected?

Debris, rocks and other small hard materials are lifted off of the ground when cars drive over them. The impact of the debris on a windshield creates scratches, cracks and gouges on the surface of the glass.

Most race cars have a thin clear film covering the windshield that protects the polycarbonate from damage. The film can be removed easily to replace it for the next race. For longer races, several layers of the film are placed over a windshield for maximum protection.

When the top layer of the film gets damaged during a long race, the film is removed to restore visibility for the driver.

Is Polycarbonate Glass Inexpensive?

Unlike normal auto glass, polycarbonate is much cheaper. You can possibly save about $64 on polycarbonate windows and a windshield on your race car.

Polycarbonate isn’t only meant for windshields as you can use this material for the sides and rear windows of a race car to shed more weight off the vehicle.

Can Polycarbonate Be Used for Conventional Cars?

Although polycarbonate is cheap in price, unfortunately the material is not street legal in the USA. Polycarbonate windshields can only be used for off-road vehicles. The reason for this is:

1. Polycarbonate doesn’t provide the same visibility as conventional auto glass.

2. Over time the glass will have a foggy filter, which can hinder visibility.

3. In the event of a collision (if the driver is not wearing a seat belt) the chances of critical injury are higher.

Before making any modifications to your standard vehicle, make sure you adhere to your state’s road protocols.

But there’s good news for those driving on the track: if you’re a rookie race car driver, check your auto glass to see if it’s weighing down your vehicle unnecessarily. It could make you win your first race, provided you know how to take corners.

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