Street stocks take the green...
Street stocks take the green flag at Wall Stadium in Wall, NJ Jim Smith
Four decades ago, Bob Dylan sang about it and we're still living it today; "The times they are a-changing." Much more recently, people close to the sport of motor racing have suggested that global motorsports is facing challenging times, particularly with respect to fuel sustainability, environmental accountability, and a fundamental relationship between new vehicle technologies and what we race.
Persons responsible for the editorial content of Circle Track magazine have considered its role to establish some traction with respect to what their participation in this issue should become. In fact, peripheral discussions about the project to be shared in this story began more than a year ago, sorting through a variety of possibilities to help its readership begin thinking about what the future may hold for their sport or livelihood.
Recently, suggestions from persons both inside and outside the motor racing community have indicated the sport may be approaching, or even at, a crossroads. Of the arguments presented, one maintains that there is a growing disconnect between the technologies pursued, practiced, and developed by the OEM and those in the racing industry that includes certain sanctioning bodies. Quoting from one of the documents citing this perspective, "There is mounting realization that racing has lost its relevancy to automotive technology development and innovation."
Could the new Camaro be the...
Could the new Camaro be the next great oval track stock car? Rob Fisher
Of course, there are other issues that include the desirability to develop sustainable alternative fuels, optional powerplants, and corresponding rules structures. Overall costs and the technology required to be competitive notwithstanding, the landscape on which racing appears operating today is undergoing change. Whether such changes are appropriate or not, there is little doubt environmental concerns are present, be they powerplant, noise, emissions, or sustainable fuels related.
As a publication founded on racing, racing products and the technology fabric that holds these elements together, Circle Track has grown in proportion to the industry and readership that represents its reason for being. But from a position of journalistic leadership, the magazine also has a responsibility to be not only a forum for new ideas and direction but a stage on which opportunities can be presented and evaluated.
On that basis, this story and the accompanying one on page 34 will present the "green" comments, opinions, and beliefs of a group of people intimately involved in expanding, perpetuating, and providing options to the path on which motor racing has evolved to this point. As a medium, Circle Track magazine is fortunate to have engaged these individuals for some discussion and participation. The story titled "Back to the Future" on page 34 details a Q&A I had with each one of them.
The Financial Side Of Racing Green
Wisconsin racer Bobby Wilberg...
Wisconsin racer Bobby Wilberg hand built an '09 Dodge Challenger using front end parts from a local dealership and a roof from an early '70s car salvaged from the junkyard. He races at Madison International Raceway in the Area Sportsman class where he reports that the Challenger is easily the most popular car at the track.
In recent years, there have been a variety of efforts directed at reducing the cost of racing. Many of these occurred before the current, global economic situation. Today, the ability to secure product or financial sponsorships has become even more problematic. Whether we consider a full-blown, professional team or simply a weekend racer trying to meet household financial obligations while racing, the full spectrum of motorsports seems to have been affected by the economy. But what if we could introduce some ways, for example, to reduce the fuel bill that allows more funds for buying tires? Or what if it was possible to compete using an engine with power equal to those more expensive to build? How would it be to reduce the frequency and cost of periodic engine refurbishment? Would not a cost reduction for any of these categories translate into more funds for other expenses, perhaps even keep a given team alive? In fact, some of the savings could be used for travel fuel in the hauler. Is there a chance alternative fuels, maybe even those that are renewable, could further reduce net costs?