Auto Manifesto

July 17, 2008

The Future of Motorsport – Part 1

Racing is great. I love it – actually I’m fanatical about it. But one has to wonder how sustainable it is in today’s increasingly environmentally conscious world. Is there a benefit or purpose to auto racing? I believe the answer is yes – if changes are made. But it’s going to take some explaining

First and foremost racing is entertainment. Any racing series that isn’t entertaining enough will fail. And that all depends on people: Fans, sponsors, teams, drivers, and the organizers. Get the word out, make it easy for people to watch and participate, and get them to come back time and again.

On track the racing action has to be exciting and close. Once they can exceed a certain speed, it doesn’t matter how fast the cars are. It’s how close the racing is, and how many different drivers have a genuine chance of winning a given race that matters.

Second, how can it be beneficial to society at large? It can advance the state of the art by encouraging the development of better automotive technologies. I’ll go into more detail about this in part 2, but in these days of fuel conservation and environmental concerns, any series that is not exploring its potential for encouraging the development of technologies that have real world benefits in energy conservation is at risk of becoming driven out of business because it will become irrelevant.

Finally, how do we go about doing this? We do this by making it accessible and enabling more participation on every level: Driving, team ownership, event promotion, and media. And much of that has to do with keeping costs down which, if done well, has the added benefit of increasing value.

The more people there are involved with a given series, and the more passionate they are about it, the better the show will become and the faster the innovations will come; provided the series was well run and the rules were solid. Innovation and stability are hard to balance. But it is by no means impossible.

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