Historically, transformative racecar designs have arrived about once every decade, each one changing both the physical shape of the cars and the nature of the sport. In the 1950s, engines moved from the front to the back of racecars, thus eliminating the driveshaft and optimizing weight distribution, which improved handling. In the '60s, cars sprouted wings that redirected airflow to pin the tires to the ground for better traction and higher cornering speeds. The '70s brought ground effects, which sucked cars toward the pavement even more effectively using underwings cut into the bottom of the chassis. In the '80s, lightweight, superstrong carbon-fiber chassis became standard. But starting in the 1990s, electronic aids such as active suspension combined with aerodynamic advances to make racecars so fast and so dangerous—contributing to the death of Formula One icon Ayrton Senna in front of a television audience of 300 million people—that rule-makers began slowing cars down. They banned the most exotic electronic aids. They intentionally compromised aerodynamic efficiency. And since then, racecar design has stagnated. "Most racecars are exercises in staying inside the envelope," says Ricardo Divila, a Brazilian racecar designer whose credits include Formula One cars, the technical apogee of the sport. "Look at airliners. Boeings and Airbuses look alike because they're optimized within a very narrow window of specs. It's the same with racecars."