The gasoline head theory

It makes no sense to drive a fast car slowly, as it (almost) makes no sense to drive an F1 on the asphalt of a race track. This is the basic principle of driving illegal elegant machine on the highway in a straight line without using any maneuvering driving skills. Rather, the ridiculous speed in the race pits cracks the nervous system of most racers. This is the strutting catwalk of an edgy fashion diva in the weirdest dress she can ever wear in other ways let alone on the street!

Formula One is science at its finest and a product of crazy teachers and cool engineers in whitewashed labs. It’s the showdown of the expensive engineering marvels of the automotive industry, where the only fun lies in withstanding the frequent lateral 5G force in multiple left and right turns. Any nerves of steel novice with a 10-2 clock can grab a V8 or V10 in an endurance race and win a quarter mile, unless their piston explodes accelerating to the red line! If speed and automotive engineering were everything in racing, then hypercars and Bloodhound SSCs would rule the racetrack.

The real fun lies in the class of specs / performance series. Only a veteran driver takes an original or tuned car and masters the art of driving formats: NASCAR, Rallycross, Gymkhana and Le Mans.

NASCAR is the racing series that runs on highly banked racetracks. Drivers require sheer driving skill and steer their stock cars at 200mph steadily to the left with 2G force, resulting in the NASCAR chassis literally bending to the left thanks to intense centrifugal force. Rallycross takes specially built road legal cars that race in a point-to-point direction, as opposed to the F1 circuit format. NASCAR and rally sports don’t use laptops or telemetry. Like F1, rally drivers don’t have the technological luxury of tuning their cars on the fly.

Gymkhana is a time and / or speed event and all about acceleration, braking, drifting, which is essentially a first and second gear game. You need hand braking, skidding and sliding, left foot braking and grip driving, and most importantly, strong mental focus to master the gymkhana.

Dubbed the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the epitome of endurance behind the wheel. It’s a mix of closed roads and race tracks, where drivers have to maintain top speed at the expense of running 24 hours without engine failure. This prestigious driving format carries brutal submission to endurance, flawless mechanical design and automotive innovation that requires cars that last long on the tracks and spend less time in the pits.

These racing formats started at the same time but took different paths. Rally and NASCAR sports began with moonshiners racing through mud and gravel, and F1 with rich playboys and their sleek racing machines on clean circuits. Even today, it was simply the cheap vs. elite, dogs versus hors d’oeuvres. Only Gymkhana events began with horseback riding long before speed cars were invented, incorporating pylons and obstacles to showcase horsemanship. Le Mans, on the other side, took a more prestigious and well-founded path, starting with the most reliable GT cars that can stretch performance, endurance, and speed at the same time.

All of these types of racing need specifications tailored to the art of racing, and performance complemented by years of endurance and a set of driving skills that no racing school / simulator can teach. Mastering the heel-to-toe downshift at the fork and chicane, and delving into the symphonies created between clutch shift and crankshaft hit, it’s all in the non-F1 game. No wonder F1 drivers are retiring and joining rally sports and derby leagues!

F1 is the eternal mojo for those who see it only as a sport. Automakers know it’s just the portal to real racing.

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