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Old 2 Apr 2020, 21:59 (Ref:3968325)   #61
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Why am I not surprised to see the same debate I have been reading since ….. since I learned to read?

Economics have changed. No tobacco money, no or low alcohol money, low or no manufacturer money for most teams, while the cost of competing has continues to rise and the cost of design and construction has skyrocketed.

Racing was a huge money-loser even in its heyday—it was sold to boards of directors as “advertising,” and I guess it was a good sales job. Those days have been gone for 40 years now …

The return on investment for a racing program is Very questionable. And it’s not the factories where that is an issue, but all the privateers … the cost of funding a competitive program when the opposition is a global automaking powerhouse is ridiculous. And most teams cannot do it ….

Yeah, some things were better in the past. Can-Am was glorious … even though a “close finish” might be half a lap and half the cars weren’t running at the end …. And all the winners were McLarens until they were always Porsches.

GTP was pretty awesome … particularly for the half the field with 962s.

ILMC and early WEC were great …. Though of course, either Audi or Peugeot won. No one else much had a chance.

ALMS was great …. For Audi in P1 and Porsche in P2.

Nostalgia-vision lies in wait for all of us … except the ones who have already succumbed.

I think we all want the sort of series where teams or factories build their own cars and engines, where all the cars look and sound different ….

We want open rules so teams can modify their cars from race to race, so each weekend we are thrilled to see the new developments each team has concocted.

But we also want big fields, and competitive racing. We want no BoP but if every race was won by the same car by half a lap to two laps, would we complain? You know we would.

The question has been, for years, where does the money come from? If teams cannot afford to design and build chassis, if the cost of computer time and parts manufacture is so great that teams cannot afford to constantly modify their cars, if track testing is too expensive for most teams …. Then how do we keep racing alive?

Sadly, we dumb it down a little. We have to accept the fact that no one can afford to do that kind of racing we wish we could have. We have to limit development or only two or three factories can afford to play. YES, LMP2 and DPi are severely cost-controlled classes—because if they were not, nobody would be able to race.

For those people who would prefer no racing to what we have now … Super. You just solved the problem. Don’t watch racing.

For those people who understand that racing is a non-essential activity, and that we could seriously Not have racing …. We might as well enjoy what we have as much as we can. And if it doesn’t get you where you need to be, you need to move on—for your own sake. The past is Not returning.

We should be glad we don’t line in the era of computer-controlled electronic cars …. Because that is a likely possible future. Drivers never die because they drive from the Driver’s Studio, wired into simulator consoles, while robotic E-racers circle the tracks …. Cleaner, greener, safer, very late 21st –century … we might be headed there.

Enjoy what you can, if you can. If you cannot …. Move on.
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Old 3 Apr 2020, 14:46 (Ref:3968422)   #62
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We have to limit development or only two or three factories can afford to play. [...]

We should be glad we don’t line in the era of computer-controlled electronic cars …. Because that is a likely possible future. Drivers never die because they drive from the Driver’s Studio, wired into simulator consoles, while robotic E-racers circle the tracks …. Cleaner, greener, safer, very late 21st –century … we might be headed there.
Great analysis, but I think you are drawing the wrong conclusions. Yes, the manufacturers are headed for exactly the scenario you are describing. But racing doesn't have to follow them!

I think at this point - and even more so in the future - racing would be better off without manufacturer involvement. Because when you only have privateers, you suddenly can have more open regulations again, because no one has the megabucks to completely outdevelop their opposition and it comes once again down to just being smarter. Point in case: Pescarolo developed the aero for the C60 by coasting down the runway at the Le Mans airport, because he couldn't afford windtunnel time. Worked just fine (against other privateers) and probably saved Henri a ton of money.

Really, I'd rather have three or four guys like Glickenhaus, who are really in it for their love of racing, at the front of the field at Le Mans than three or four manufacturers who just see it as a marketing exercise.

I think a lot of responsibility rests with the ACO here: If they follow the manufacturers to that electric, computer-controlled future, ICE-powered and human driven race cars will become a very niche sport. But if the ACO decided to stick with the ICE (and by all means fuel it with something green like the Isobutanol Dyson used in 2011!), the lustre and standing of the 24h of Le Mans will continue to attract the sort of well-heeled individuals that can afford to race and develop their own top-level prototypes.
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Old 3 Apr 2020, 16:28 (Ref:3968445)   #63
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I think at this point - and even more so in the future - racing would be better off without manufacturer involvement. Because when you only have privateers, you suddenly can have more open regulations again, because no one has the megabucks to completely outdevelop their opposition and it comes once again down to just being smarter.



...


Really, I'd rather have three or four guys like Glickenhaus, who are really in it for their love of racing, at the front of the field at Le Mans than three or four manufacturers who just see it as a marketing exercise.
I totally agree. I also think Maeloch's analysis of the changing world is completely spot on. The passionate arguments here for a world that is different are heart-felt but pointless. The future of our sport is privateers, not manufacturers.
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Old 5 Apr 2020, 02:35 (Ref:3968694)   #64
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I totally agree. I also think Maeloch's analysis of the changing world is completely spot on. The passionate arguments here for a world that is different are heart-felt but pointless. The future of our sport is privateers, not manufacturers.


Perhaps you might want to suggest that line of thought to the ACO!

Only I would not plan on standing there waiting for their answer, as you may be there forever.

The ACO's business model is entirely based around OEM's. Just look how Glickenhaus has been treated almost with disdain, because he was not going to be dropping large bundles of cash in their laps. However, in a post Virus world, they may just have to re-think that business model.
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Old 5 Apr 2020, 06:21 (Ref:3968704)   #65
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Great analysis, but I think you are drawing the wrong conclusions. Yes, the manufacturers are headed for exactly the scenario you are describing. But racing doesn't have to follow them!

I think at this point - and even more so in the future - racing would be better off without manufacturer involvement. Because when you only have privateers, you suddenly can have more open regulations again, because no one has the megabucks to completely outdevelop their opposition and it comes once again down to just being smarter.
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I totally agree. I also think Maeloch's analysis of the changing world is completely spot on. The passionate arguments here for a world that is different are heart-felt but pointless. The future of our sport is privateers, not manufacturers.
I hope both of you are right.
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Old 5 Apr 2020, 14:34 (Ref:3968775)   #66
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Perhaps you might want to suggest that line of thought to the ACO!
If only they were regular browsers of this forum, they wouldn't be making such silly mistakes! :-)
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Old 5 Apr 2020, 21:33 (Ref:3968811)   #67
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If only they were regular browsers of this forum, they wouldn't be making such silly mistakes! :-)
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Old 6 Apr 2020, 18:31 (Ref:3968982)   #68
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The ACO's business model is entirely based around OEM's.
Because the ACO's business model is entirely based around Le Mans, which operates on an entirely different plane from the rest of sports car racing. That race alone is one of the few things in motorsport that approaches F1 for prestige and attention and they've always tried to pull up the sport with that rather than pull down the race to the level of everything else like Indy did.

F1 itself is going to be back to a privateer based sport if anything after this anyways though, so we're going to be in for a big adjustment to what a big time racing program looks like. Hopefully the answer isn't just spec cars and GT4 for everyone but scaling down to where innovation is viable instead of 100 people working on a winglet.
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Old 7 Apr 2020, 11:13 (Ref:3969095)   #69
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But they do have a plan B... it's called Alpine-Aurus Roadshow...
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Old 7 Apr 2020, 13:28 (Ref:3969117)   #70
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Because the ACO's business model is entirely based around Le Mans, which operates on an entirely different plane from the rest of sports car racing. That race alone is one of the few things in motorsport that approaches F1 for prestige and attention and they've always tried to pull up the sport with that rather than pull down the race to the level of everything else like Indy did.
Maybe until 2012, but with the advent of BoP and bespoke privateer classes, they abandoned any pretext of that at least for the GT classes. Next was new LMP2 aka the Oreca-Gibson cartel, and with hypercar/LMDH even the top class is falling into that mold now.

It's really a shame, though. Rebellion and SMP did a great job at showing us that open development between privateers is still a viable concept - and I'm sure even more private teams would join the fray if they had no manufacturers to content with and thus a reasonable chance at an overall victory at LM.
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Old 7 Apr 2020, 23:04 (Ref:3969207)   #71
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Because the ACO's business model is entirely based around Le Mans, which operates on an entirely different plane from the rest of sports car racing. That race alone is one of the few things in motorsport that approaches F1 for prestige and attention and they've always tried to pull up the sport with that rather than pull down the race to the level of everything else like Indy did.

F1 itself is going to be back to a privateer based sport if anything after this anyways though, so we're going to be in for a big adjustment to what a big time racing program looks like. Hopefully the answer isn't just spec cars and GT4 for everyone but scaling down to where innovation is viable instead of 100 people working on a winglet.
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Old 8 Apr 2020, 10:59 (Ref:3969295)   #72
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Maybe until 2012, but with the advent of BoP and bespoke privateer classes, they abandoned any pretext of that at least for the GT classes. Next was new LMP2 aka the Oreca-Gibson cartel, and with hypercar/LMDH even the top class is falling into that mold now.

It's really a shame, though. Rebellion and SMP did a great job at showing us that open development between privateers is still a viable concept - and I'm sure even more private teams would join the fray if they had no manufacturers to content with and thus a reasonable chance at an overall victory at LM.
Yessssss SMP vs Rebellion was great.

I like making historical comparisons, and I'd like to think the last few years as like the one of "Five Good Emperors" in ancient Rome. While it was true that the underlying system had been fundamentally broken and made corrupt, the powers in force still managed to make relative best of the situation and enable the Empire, or here racing, to breath. There was no going back to the Republic - or Le Mans of the past - but in relative terms, there was prosperity to be had. Now, next will come the ascension of Commodus however, or in other terms the mandation of full bop and spec regs with OEM branding focus (in conjunction with economical crisis), the start of final collapse...
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Old 8 Apr 2020, 16:35 (Ref:3969388)   #73
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Yessssss SMP vs Rebellion was great.

I like making historical comparisons, and I'd like to think the last few years as like the one of "Five Good Emperors" in ancient Rome. While it was true that the underlying system had been fundamentally broken and made corrupt, the powers in force still managed to make relative best of the situation and enable the Empire, or here racing, to breath. There was no going back to the Republic - or Le Mans of the past - but in relative terms, there was prosperity to be had. Now, next will come the ascension of Commodus however, or in other terms the mandation of full bop and spec regs with OEM branding focus (in conjunction with economical crisis), the start of final collapse...
Awesome historical metaphor. Will we have East and West Le Mans?

I sort of agree. There is no way to return to the past ... fifty or 80 years ago, everything was new and exciting. By the mid-70s, people had seen 220+ mph cars, several hundred horsepower, huge downforce .... the public was jaded, the businesses were starting to question RoI, and the weasels were looking for ways to take over motor racing (as they have taken over everything else) to leach value out of it without adding any real value to it.

Maybe motor racing on a smaller scale will work .... but given real estate costs, track maintenance, and the cost of media contracts (not sure TV will be a big force 20 years from now) I am not sure that motor racing, as it has been for the last century, will exist much any more.

It is a question of fan base, ultimately. There have to be enough fans for sponsors to be willing to fund teams, even privateers ... or enough billionaire enthusiasts willing to bankroll teams at a loss for the fun of it. Sponsors are the only sustainable cash source ... and as the fan base shrinks (how many 18-25-year-olds are excited by cars anymore?) sponsor value shrinks ....

Fans used to pay for the tracks, but with real estate values rising, how many track owners are going to make enough money selling tickets to cover the cost of the tracks? How many will sell out to developers?

I'd be happy to see a bunch of full-on two- and three-liter normally aspirated sports racers and GTs going at it .... a lot more affordable than all the "cutting-edge", change-every-season regulations we have now. But how many people will be happy watching cars going by slower than they used to?

For me, Matra V-12s and Cosworth DFVs, Ferrari 312s, Porche 907s and 908s, 910s .... Alpines .... absolutely fine with me. But how many people (other than fans of this site) would be up for that?

Shoot, I would be fine with stock-block engines, given the degree of sophistication out there now .... just wrap them in light little bodies, insane power/weight ratios .... but how do you excite a new fan who doesn't own or ever want to own a car to begin with?

Uber Le Mans? the Lyft 12 Hours of Sebring. Not seeing it .....
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Old 8 Apr 2020, 18:16 (Ref:3969405)   #74
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Awesome historical metaphor. Will we have East and West Le Mans?

I sort of agree. There is no way to return to the past ... fifty or 80 years ago, everything was new and exciting. By the mid-70s, people had seen 220+ mph cars, several hundred horsepower, huge downforce .... the public was jaded, the businesses were starting to question RoI, and the weasels were looking for ways to take over motor racing (as they have taken over everything else) to leach value out of it without adding any real value to it.

Maybe motor racing on a smaller scale will work .... but given real estate costs, track maintenance, and the cost of media contracts (not sure TV will be a big force 20 years from now) I am not sure that motor racing, as it has been for the last century, will exist much any more.

It is a question of fan base, ultimately. There have to be enough fans for sponsors to be willing to fund teams, even privateers ... or enough billionaire enthusiasts willing to bankroll teams at a loss for the fun of it. Sponsors are the only sustainable cash source ... and as the fan base shrinks (how many 18-25-year-olds are excited by cars anymore?) sponsor value shrinks ....

Fans used to pay for the tracks, but with real estate values rising, how many track owners are going to make enough money selling tickets to cover the cost of the tracks? How many will sell out to developers?

I'd be happy to see a bunch of full-on two- and three-liter normally aspirated sports racers and GTs going at it .... a lot more affordable than all the "cutting-edge", change-every-season regulations we have now. But how many people will be happy watching cars going by slower than they used to?

For me, Matra V-12s and Cosworth DFVs, Ferrari 312s, Porche 907s and 908s, 910s .... Alpines .... absolutely fine with me. But how many people (other than fans of this site) would be up for that?

Shoot, I would be fine with stock-block engines, given the degree of sophistication out there now .... just wrap them in light little bodies, insane power/weight ratios .... but how do you excite a new fan who doesn't own or ever want to own a car to begin with?

Uber Le Mans? the Lyft 12 Hours of Sebring. Not seeing it .....
Sensible, logical assessment, I applaud you!

Motorsports as we all knew it a few scant months ago, is gone forever.

What format, if any, will come along to replace it?

No one knows right here and now. Truth is, motorsports had become the dog eating its own tail and was destined to collapse even without this man made virus crisis we find ourselves in.

Has anyone seen any dinosaurs in their neighborhood recently?
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Old 8 Apr 2020, 21:11 (Ref:3969440)   #75
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I'd be happy to see a bunch of full-on two- and three-liter normally aspirated sports racers and GTs going at it .... a lot more affordable than all the "cutting-edge", change-every-season regulations we have now. But how many people will be happy watching cars going by slower than they used to?
It does not cost nearly the current budgets to produce current lap times, they are massively inflated by marketing requirements forcing sub-optimal performance platforms that operate in actual performance windows that haven't really changed from 20 or 30 years ago. A $100,000 tube frame pushrod Trans-Am car is as fast as a $600,000 direct injected turbocharged carbon everything GT3. Heck just look at Hypercar's projected lap times being the same as a current LMP2 car for several times the money, or how LMP3 is the cheapest class in ELMS by a wide margin but the second fastest.

If you take the factories and the "gentleman" brand posturing out of things you can get respectable performance pretty cheap comparatively speaking.
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