photos and story by mike heyse "courtshark"

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Coolant is bad for race tracks. Ordinarily, water-cooled cars use antifreeze mixed 50/50 with distilled water in the cooling system.  Antifreeze does exactly what you would expect; keeps the system from freezing in extreme temperatures. It also contains glycol, which lubricates the parts being cooled. Antifreeze, however, actually reduces the ability of the cooling system to lower the operating temperature of a vehicle. Straight water is the most effective "coolant," but lacks the lubricating components found in antifreeze.

When the temperatures allow it, racers run nearly 100% water, typically with a bottle of Redline's Water Wetter added. In any event, coolant has the properties of a surfactant, which means it has both water soluble and insoluble components, and can allow water and oil to mix. Coolant also doesn’t evaporate, so it absorbs into pavement and won’t go away until it gets properly washed off. Until that happens, it is extremely slippery, and thus bad for race tracks.