Using the right car terms - SunStar

Using the right car terms

Jerome NeriBy Atty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

WHEN one repaints a car without scraping the previous paint out, this is what is called giving it a “once over” paint job. For some reason, everyone nowadays calls this type of paint job a “wash over”. Even mainstream car dealerships call it a “wash over”! The car is not being washed, it is being painted once over.

In motorsports, when a competitor has to compete several times in the same event, each race is called a “Heat race.” You have the first heat, second heat and so on and so forth. I was cringing when I saw on social media in a Facebook page of a group of racers describing each event as a “Hit.” On the first “hit” car A won but car B got him on the second “hit.” So, I went through the history of that Facebook page and yes that is how it described races as “hit,” instead of the correct term “heat.” Tsk, Tsk.

About a couple of months ago, a Nissan GTR recorded the lowest elapsed time ever in a drag race. The car clocked in the vicinity of 8.8 seconds. This is the first car to have broken the nine second barrier in the Philippines.

Quick or fast?
Quick or fast?

Naturally, social media went abuzz with the new record. Mainstream media also reported the monumental achievement. But there was a problem with the way this achievement was reported and went viral. The car was dubbed as the “Philippines’ Fastest Car.”

A number of people were quick to point out that fast connotes speed, and because the achievement was based on the shortest amount of time the car could cover a quarter of a mile, the proper term should be the “Philippine’s Quickest Car.”

There were even those who pointed out that there were cars in another event called the mile run that posted top speeds in excess of 300kph, which was a higher top speed recorded than that of the GTR, therefore making the GTR the quickest car but not the fastest car. So, what is the correct term?

In circuit races the driver that has the lowest lap time around the circuit has the fastest lap, and it is recorded in the record books as the fastest lap. In Autocross, the driver who negotiates the course in the shortest possible time gets the Fastest Time of the Day award. This is an instance when the word fast is used to connote time.

Are the terms wrong? Should fastest be replaced with quickest? Well, according to the dictionary, the words quick and fast are synonyms. But as a car guy, I do know and recognize that there is a difference between a quick car and a fast car. If I have a car that can go from 0-100 km/h in three seconds but has only a top speed of 120kph, then I have a quick but slow car. On the other hand, if I have a car that can travel at 300kph but has a 0-100 time of 12 seconds, I have a fast car that is not quick.

It seems to me that when the event is described as a lap, the word fastest and quickest can be interchanged and still sounds right, therefore, fastest lap and quickest lap are both correct terms. But when it is the object such as the car that is being described, then the words quick and fast must be looked at in a more scientific context, where “quicker” usually refers to acceleration, or the rate at which an object gains speed, and “faster” usually refers to velocity, or the speed of the object in a given direction. Therefore, the correct term for the record breaking Nissan GTR is “Philippines’ Quickest Car”.

TRAGIC NEWS. I just received some sad and tragic news. Race organizer and racing icon Enzo Pastor was shot dead by unidentified gunmen riding in tandem in Quezon City. Enzo is an advocate of grassroots motorsports. His passing is a big loss to Philippine motorsports. May he rest in peace. Godspeed Enzo!

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