Racing took the production sales numbers of The Fabulous Hudson Hornet from 27,000 cars pe
Editor's Note: The latest Circle Track race car project is a significant departure from any project we have taken on in the past. It will incorporate everything from traditional race car building techniques to emerging OEM technologies to alternative fuels and more over the course of its life. Given that fact, we thought it would be interesting, and hopefully thought provoking, to talk to a group of motorsports industry leaders and professionals who have embraced this idea of marrying current vehicle technology with oval track racing. To that end, we turned Jim McFarland loose with his recorder as he talked with eight racing insiders. Jim asked each one the same five questions, their responses were as varied as their backgrounds. The first four subjects appear in this story, look for the remaining four in the February issue.
Herb Fishel Recently retired as the Director of Racing at General Motors, Herb has an automotive background rich in contributions to the motorsports landscape. Aside from information shared in the sidebar for "One More Lap 'Til Green" (page 24), his experiences recently culminated in a quest to organize representatives from a broad range of racing interests to assist in forming the "Green Racing Protocols" as a functional template of recommendations intended to guide global motorsports activities in an environmentally conscious and responsible fashion.
Why do you think the motorsports community should be concerned about a green approach to racing?
From an overall perspective, it's clear that energy costs and climate change are unavoidably global, long-term issues. No one is immune from the economic impact of these problems. In my view, sooner than later, race fans will be asking why racing hasn't done more to reduce our nation's dependency on petroleum, regardless of its source, and the production of greenhouse gases. This curiosity will be fueled by a rise in what consumers pay for their monthly energy needs.
Short-term, what changes do you think are worth considering?
The most immediate option for sanctioning organizations is to specify the use of bio-fuels. They should also consider compressing race schedules and shortening the length of races. Any means of mass transportation should be seriously considered, moving people to and from racing events. Educational elements pertaining to environmental issues and potential solutions should be integrated into race programs and other promotional materials. For example, why not invite educators and high school science students as VIP guests to talk about environmentally-relevant issues? And most importantly, in the short-term, create a viable and convincing presence that acknowledges related motorsports problems and communicates the evidence that racing is doing its part to solve them."
Long-term, what changes do you think are worth considering?
On a long-term basis, a strategic plan will be needed to revise race car technical specifications that allow the adaptation of mainstream technology to include electric powertrains that improve vehicle efficiency while reducing greenhouses gases. Racing regulations will all be required that reward participants for achieving more with less by recognizing the lower the levels (of emissions) the higher the rewards. Overall, it's a given that racers are always looking for more horsepower and faster speeds. As this applies to energy and environmental issues, the most important word to consider is 'reduction.'