Should you upgrade your glass windows for polycarbonate?

Initially, most manufacturers employed plate glass for windscreens, windshields, and windows in the earliest vehicles. While plate glass effectively shielded occupants from bugs, dust, and rain, its fragility posed a significant risk, as a break could result in severe injuries during accidents. As automotive technology advanced, safety glass emerged as a replacement, designed to minimise or eliminate injuries in the event of breakage. For decades, safety glass has been the standard choice for windshields and windows in automobiles. However, in the realm of race car modifications, polycarbonate windows gained popularity as a performance upgrade over the stock glass windows.

What are polycarbonate windows?

In recent years, the widespread adoption of polycarbonate windows in various applications formerly dominated by glass has surged in popularity. You might have come across them in different contexts, but what exactly defines a polycarbonate window?

Polycarbonate, a transparent thermoplastic sheet, serves as a modern alternative to traditional glass windows and surpasses both glass and other plastics in numerous aspects. Notably, polycarbonate exhibits exceptional impact resistance, boasting over 200 times the strength of glass and approximately 30 times that of acrylic plastic. Beyond its robustness, polycarbonate offers superior heat resistance, improved insulation, and often better UV (ultraviolet) protection compared to glass. In terms of weight, polycarbonate windows are significantly lighter than their glass counterparts, making them easier to cut, modify, and install.

These distinctive qualities position polycarbonate as the preferred choice for a wide range of settings, including homes, schools, hospitals, offices, and buildings requiring multiple windows of varying thicknesses, especially in regions prone to high winds and adverse weather conditions. Additionally, polycarbonate windows find applications in the cabs of heavy construction equipment and tractors used in safety-critical environments.

In the realm of racing, polycarbonate windows have evolved into an essential performance upgrade due to their durability, lightweight construction, and user-friendly installation and removal processes.

What benefits do polycarbonate windows offer?

For those embarking on the construction of a track car, show car, or an endurance racer pushing the limits, incorporating polycarbonate windows can serve as a performance upgrade that distinguishes your vehicle and provides a competitive edge.

The advantages of replacing glass windows with polycarbonate components are particularly pronounced in the context of a race car. These components are not only roughly half the weight of the factory-installed windows but are also often thinner than traditional glass. Eliminating door glass allows for the removal of associated mechanisms, such as regulators, electric motors, rubber seals, and switches, leading to additional weight savings.

In adherence to the regulations of various racing series, the removal of all door glass, ¼ windows, and sometimes even the back window may be required to meet technical specifications. Each racing series has its unique rulebook, so it's essential to carefully review the guidelines before building your car. Our polycarbonate door windows are securely fastened using two easily removable pins, allowing for effortless removal and reinstallation. This design feature facilitates the option to keep all windows in place during storage or transportation, preventing the accumulation of dust and debris inside the vehicle. While not entirely waterproof around the edges, these windows offer significantly more protection from rain compared to having no windows at all.

Beyond their on-track performance enhancements, polycarbonate windows contribute to a stylistic upgrade for any car. Many options, such as sliding window vents and NACA ducts, can be integrated into polycarbonate windows. These features not only enhance functionality, allowing for controlled cabin airflow, but also contribute to an aesthetic appeal. Combining a set of polycarbonate windows with sliding vents and NACA ducts, along with the right wheels and a precise stance, transforms your rally car into a vehicle that not only performs exceptionally but also exudes a captivating visual allure.

Thinking about making your own DIY polycarbonate windows?

Despite the numerous advantages of installing polycarbonate windows, potential drawbacks should be carefully considered by those contemplating a DIY approach.

Firstly, crafting a template from the original glass and accurately transferring the pattern to a polycarbonate sheet to achieve a snug fit in the window frame can be challenging. Additionally, while polycarbonate is more manageable to cut than glass, achieving a smooth finish with various tools remains a tricky task.

Another consideration is the standard size of polycarbonate panes, typically sold in 4" x 8" sheets. This can result in a notable amount of material waste and, consequently, increased expenses for individuals crafting their own windows.

In light of these challenges, it is advisable to opt for custom-fitted polycarbonate windows, especially when intended for dedicated racing cars. And that is where we can help.

Why use professional polycarbonate windows?

Professional polycarbonate windows offer a crucial performance upgrade, especially for race cars. Polycarbonate's exceptional qualities, including impact resistance, heat resistance, insulation, UV protection, and weight reduction, make it a preferred choice. DIY attempts, outlined with challenges like template creation and smooth cutting, may lead to material waste and increased costs due to standard-sized panes.

Opting for professional polycarbonate windows is recommended, particularly for dedicated racing cars. These windows provide significant weight reduction, enhancing lap times on the track and improving the car's overall aesthetic appeal. In summary, when building a car exclusively for the racetrack, the affirmative answer is to replace glass windows with professional polycarbonate windows for their undeniable benefits.

  • Looking for windows?

    Lightweight impact resistant polycarbonate racing windows for all major vehicle brands and models, available in full kits or individually.

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  • Need a slider kit?

    Our easy retro fit window slider kits are the essential addition to your racing windows with standard and advanced kits available.

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  • Replacing mud flaps?

    Browse our range of mud flaps available in a range of of colours to find the right under belly protection for your rally car's look.

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