Short-term, what changes do you think are worth considering?
Environmental concerns, such...
Environmental concerns, such as emissions that contribute to global warming and melting glaciers, are some of the forces changing the vehicles we drive and the technologies in them. Carolyn Woodard
I believe the most immediate opportunity is to embrace the potential of renewable fuels, specifically those that have a significant non-petroleum component. Our current dependence on petroleum-based fuels not only threatens our national security but also has an enormous economic impact, especially in terms of oil price shocks and the huge amounts of money that leaves our economy. We simply need to start developing and using fuels that are produced in this country, that have local economic benefits instead of being manipulated by a monopoly and funding our enemies.
Of course the other benefits to this step are environmental, especially with respect to how we can reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate the effects of climate change. I think we can make a big positive impact in this area at low cost and with low risk without a negative effect on motorsports. In fact, I can only see good things coming from it. The big bonus is that this approach will put racing on the path for a sustainable future for many years to come.
Long-term, what changes do you think are worth considering?
Here's where the technologies developed and used in racing need to move closer to and eventually parallel those going into road vehicles. There's currently such a huge gap between what's commonplace in production vehicles and what we see on the racetrack, generally speaking. Again, this is something that will take some time but it's clearly the direction racing needs to be moving in.
This is an area that'll provide for growth and development of motorsports, at the same time. Some of this will probably involve engines of smaller displacement and vehicles that are lighter and more aerodynamic. It'll also need to include an awareness that efficiency and performance are not in conflict with each other, in my opinion.
What we want to do is harness the creativity and rapid development cycle of racing to start leading the way in improving the kinds of vehicles in the developmental pipeline that are more efficient and still fun to drive. None of this comes from a 'doom and gloom' perspective. Rather, I see it as a significant opportunity for the entire motorsports community. Part of that opportunity will be exploring hybrid-electric vehicles and advanced energy storage, too. There is huge potential there. Moving in this direction will also deflect a lot of possible criticism racing could receive and, in the process, maybe attract an additional range of racing fans.