I suspect that what you really need right now is something nice and juicy to contemplate, as you swirl expensive liquors and antifreezes in a snifter as you look over the bay/ravine/chasm/smoldering ruins from the comfort of your veranda. And I have just the thing to contemplate: would you drive this?
Yes, it’s another edition of Would You Drive This, where I show you a hypothetical car and ask if you would, you know, drive it. This time I want to know: would you drive a car where you had to be prone to drive it?
Long and low has always been the ideal form of a sports car, offering better aero and the sort of look that makes you feel complicated in the pantsal zones. The car I’m using as a baseline for the prone-driver concept here is one of the most iconic long, low wedges there ever was, the Lancia Stratos HF Zero concept car.
The seats in that car were fairly conventional, if very reclined:
The driver there was in a position quite close to Indy car and F1 drivers, almost laying on their backs:
But I want to know what you’d think of driving prone the other way, on your stomach, with your feet controlling the usual set of pedals, just mounted at the rear firewall of the car with your hands on the wheel and shifter, just like always.
There’d be a special lounge-type seat in the car, well-padded and shaped to keep you (and your passenger) in the optimal position. For the sake of this thought-experiment, let’s say all safety equipment–seat belts, airbags, etc.–have been adapted and are as comfortable as the conventional ones.
Let’s also say that getting into this car isn’t appreciably harder than getting into a normal car. You open the door, and just sort of lie down on your stomach, on the ‘seat.’
Aside from being able to design cars lower than ever before, I suspect this position may also allow for better weight-shifting as the car corners and leans into turns. In my head, it seems like this position on a track would be a hell of a lot of fun.
I think, depending on design, visibility could be amazing, though clearly to make this work right, you’d probably have to stick with mid- or rear-engine designs. This is unlikely to be useful for a family car. But I’m open!
To date, we’ve really only seen this position used in things like extremely light and aerodynamic solar racing cars and strange novelties. Oh, and in one Batman movie.
So, I ask again: would you consider driving a car that made you pilot it like this, on your stomach? What if I gave you a fast, sleek supercar, but this was part of the deal? Would you drive it a lot, or just as an occasional novelty?
Let me know, so I know if I should gas it up for you or not.