|Quoting GrahamHill (Reply 8):|
I've been to 4 F1 races, 1 Champcar race and I go every year to Le Mans.
I heard some cars like the Mazda 787B that has the most high-pitched sound you could ever hear.
I heard F1's V10s and V12s in the 1990s. They are astonishingly loud.
But I've never had any ear protection. It's so good to ear these engines!!! After the race, my ears are whistling, but I don't really mind. It's not that I go every week-end to a F1 race. If I were working in a F1 team, I would of course wear ear plugs because you would really end up deaf.
I've also been to every sort of racing event you can imagine, from IRL to CART back in the day to ALMS to F1 to stock cars, and I've also never used ear plugs. Maybe I'll have reduced hearing when I'm older, but for now it's important that I get the full visceral experience of the cars because sound is such an important part of it. Graham, you've probably noticed that the ACO has implemented reduced noise restrictions on the Le Mans cars, which is a huge shame because when I was at Sebring for the 12 hours the cars which used to sound so good are now nearly silenced, like the Acura LMP2 car.
As for the loudest thing I've ever heard on a track- 3 moments come to mind. The most painful moment was at Sebring in 1999. I was there for my first 12 hours, and there was a car entered called a Mazda-Kudzu DLY. It had a 4 rotor, normally aspirated Mazda engine similar to the 787B which won Le Mans in 1991. It had the highest pitch and sharpest engine note I've heard before or since, and standing right on the fence at the pit out with the Mazda accelerating hard about 10 feet away from me made me think my ears were going to bleed, literally. It was actually painful.
The second experience was at an FIA GT
race at Homestead in 1998. Entered in that race was a Panoz GTR
coupe, with a thumping Ford-based V8
engine. The car had more bass thump than noise, but when it would come past, you'd feel the vibration in your body. It felt like you were being shaken to pieces by the blasting noise of that thing, it was very cool.
Finally, during one of my trips to Montreal for the F1 race over the last 10 years I walked along the back straight until I got to the point just beyond the walkover bridge right before they start braking for the chicane that brings them onto the front straight. Leaning against the fence there and having the cars come past at about 200 mph, THAT was loud. This was also during the V10 era, I think in 2004, so the cars were revving to about 20,000 RPM with free flowing V10s. No choice but to plug up my ears with my fingers and enjoy the show.