Why Powerful Audio Systems and Racecars Are a Bad Mix

by SM Staff On Wed, Sep. 06, 2017

Photo Credit: Barry Albert / Speedwaymedia.com

Putting powerful stereo systems in racecars have always been a controversial subject. Some say that racecars should be as pure as possible, and that means taking out everything that doesn’t contribute to performance.

If you’re lucky enough to have a vehicle that you only use for the track, that approach might make sense. But for a lot of us, our track car is also the vehicle we use to drive to work and back. If you’re using a car on a daily basis, it’s certainly nice to be able to listen to music.

But – and it’s a big but – to my mind, you should never fit a powerful audio system to your racecar. A small, lightweight system is great, of course, but don’t make the mistake of loading your performance machine down with heavy, expensive, and potentially dangerous amplifiers and subwoofers. Here’s why.

                        Hearing Damage

That’s right, having a powerful amp in your car can cause permanent damage to your hearing. A lot of car audio enthusiasts report permanent damage to their ears after pushing their stereo too high for too long. Though some claim that their hearing has recovered after a period of taking it easy, medical opinion still maintains that any noise above 98 dB will cause permanent damage.

Of course, it’s possible to have a powerful audio system and use it carefully, at a reduced volume. Equally, it’s even possible to wear ear-plugs when it’s turned up loud. But what’s the point?


The above warning – that powerful audio systems can cause hearing damage – applies to anyone who is into modifying their car, whether they are seeking performance or style. For those of us who are primarily concerned with building racecars, however, there is another big reason why a powerful audio system is not a good idea: they weigh you down.

If you’re the kind of person who stripped the carpets out of your car in order to “reduce weight”, it’s a bit stupid to then stick 20 pounds of amplifier and speakers in the back of the same car.


And lastly, if you’ve set up your racecar to give you the best possible performance, you should be focusing on that rather than what your sound system sounds like. If you’ve done it correctly, the sound of your engine should be all the music you will ever need!

Tinkering with car audio can be distracting at another level, as well. If you start to worry about amplifier voltages and impedance ratings, you are going to have less time to focus on what matters, at least to me – performance.

Take a look at some of the absurd lengths that audiophiles go to in building audio systems into their cars to get an idea of what I mean. Troy Irving, currently the owner of the most powerful car audio system in the world, has a Dodge caravan that is virtually undrivable and weighs 10,000 pounds. While I’m sure it makes him happy, I can think of nothing worse than a car you can’t even drive.

So take my advice, and take that stereo out of your racecar.

** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c)SpeedwayMedia.com. **

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