Jaguar has staged a unique drone race to demonstrate how much room there is inside the luxurious long-wheelbase XJ saloon. High-speed drones piloted by professional racers flew through three cars during the race at Alexandra Palace, London, on a course marked out with 13 gates the same shape as an XJL rear door. Travelling at …
Vauxhall is marking a major milestone at its Ellesmere Port plant where the four millionth Briitsh-built Astra has rolled off the production line. The Cheshire manufacturing base has been making the popular family car since 1981 and Vaxuhall marked the occassion with a choreographed display of 236 Astra Sport Tourers to spell out the feat. …
It’s really not that difficult to organize a competitive race series. But turning down money? Now that’s tough,blogs Stephen Cox.
The easy way to run a series is to have an official provider for everything from tires to body kits to engines. Mandatory components (spec parts) are frequently offered as a fix-all solution though in reality, costs are rarely contained. Remember, everyone at every step along the way has to make money. That means the series, parts manufacturers, distributors and on and on. Everyone gets a piece of the action and team owners are stuck with the ever-spiraling bills. The usual result is just what we see in the Indy Lights Series and Indycar – higher costs and lower car count.
All of this is a result of wrong thinking. The job of a race series is not to put a limit on how much money teams can spend. The job of a race series is to make sure that spending money doesn’t help. NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series is in trouble because competitive engine packages are too expensive. Teams are losing money and closing up shop. NASCAR’s response is to consider a spec engine. Wrong thinking.
Take away their tires and everything else becomes elementary. NASCAR tires are enormously wide and offer a broad, sticky contact patch with the asphalt. The trucks reach tremendous speeds before they begin to lose adhesion and when they do, the drift is slight and nearly imperceptible to the average race fan. The racing isn’t that good. The tires are just too wide. If NASCAR trucks adopted a narrow, hard compound tire, the importance of horsepower would diminish considerably. Speeds would drop. The trucks would visibly slide on the racetrack and average race fans could see and appreciate the skill of the drivers.
Teams who spend fantastic sums on engine power would find themselves gaining little, if any, real advantage because without big, wide tires, it would be impossible to utilize all that engine power. The limiting factor in a truck’s speed would no longer be the engine; it would be the tires. The series should concern itself with reducing mechanical grip and to a lesser extent, aerodynamic grip. When the trucks begin to slide, the real racing begins and the unbridled supremacy of overpriced engines quickly fades.
The job of the series isn’t to limit horsepower or spending. NASCAR’s job is to limit the amount of horsepower that can be used in a race by eliminating traction. When that is achieved, the enormous horsepower and massive engine budgets will collapse of their own weight and teams will begin considering the Camping World Truck Series as a viable alternative again. That’s how to save truck racing.
Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN. Sponsored by http://www.mcgunegillengines.com/and http://www.boschett-timepieces.com/index.php
A single-owner collection of 13 of the most iconic road-going Ferraris has been auctioned by RM Sotheby’s during Monterey Car Week for a total of $16.5m (£12.8m). Representing more than 50 years of Ferrari history, the cars were offered almost entirely without reserve. The ‘Ferrari Performance Collection’ was headlined by a Platinum Award-winning 1961 250 …
Go find yourself a Kart track this weekend. No, it’s not “real” racing, but for millions of Americans it’s the only first-hand motorsports experience they’ll ever have. And that’s surely better than the alternative, blogs Stephen Cox.
I started late. I didn’t drive in my first professional auto race until age 21. Before that, I was addicted to Go Kart racing. No, not the World Karting Association or the National Karting Alliance. I’d never heard of them.
My Karting career began by paying five dollars for ten minutes of track time. They were 5-horsepower, 25-mph “fun Karts” at tiny, tourist-driven venues during our family vacations. We stopped at Go Kart tracks from Virginia to Utah. Any track, any time. It wasn’t real racing, but it was the only racing I had.
The tracks were minuscule. The Karts were poky rent-a-wrecks. Sometimes they didn’t even require a helmet. My first races were on tracks like the Salty Dog Grand Prix against other vacationing kids, most of whom never realized they were locked in bitter competition with a teenager and his visions of grandeur.
Several days ago, while returning from my entirely unsuccessful run in the Super Cup Stock Car Series American Racer Twin 50’s at Jennerstown Speedway, I stumbled across what appeared to be an abandoned rental Kart track. The sign said it was “The Salty Dog Grand Prix” of Mt. Pleasant, PA. I parked the Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions van and started walking. The track was closed but the gate was open.
It had apparently been closed since 2015, though information has been hard to come by. The property was well kept but a sign in front of the track advertised Karts for sale, which means they probably have no intention of re-opening soon, if at all.
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe that little Go Kart tracks like the Salty Dog are perhaps the canary in the coal mine for American auto racing. I’ve made it clear many times why I believe the average age of race fans continues to get older and older. Kids are losing interest in automobiles, and those who don’t care about cars will never pay to see anyone race them. Until the automobile is again viewed as a teenage ticket to mischief, personal liberty, speed and late-night fun, interest in cars will continue to decline and the snowball effect on motorsports is inevitable.
I hope the property can re-open because it’s tough to see time move on from places like the Salty Dog Grand Prix. The asphalt is still good. The tire barriers are solid. The pit area and outbuildings are nicely maintained.
Yet people just don’t flock to these venues as they once did. The world is too full of I-gadgets and screens and distractions. And lame superhero movies.
And cheap milk shakes masquerading as status-symbol coffee drinks. And discredited evening news programs that claim everything else is fake. And social media that’s not. The more hear from Bruno Mars, the better I like the smell of gasoline!
Long before I landed my first sponsor or won my first race, I looked forward to the simple purity of racing a cheap Go Kart on “tourist” tracks. No qualifying. No mandatory autograph sessions. No drivers meetings. Go Kart racing was all fun and no pressure.
Stephen Cox is Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions Driver, Super Cup Series & EGT Championship, and Co-Host, Mecum Auctions on NBCSN.