The Motorsport Prospects Weekly Debrief is jam-packed again this week but I have to say I really enjoyed this week’s feature. A few weeks ago I had the chance to chat with Kevin O’Connor about the appeal of historic racing which is a type of racing that has always fascinated me. To be able to race these incredible works of art must be an absolute thrill. It also gave me the opportunity to expand the Motorsport Prospects Directory to include historic racing.
Speaking of the Motorsport Prospects Directory, look for some major changes to the directory and the website in the coming months. The last time I updated the “look and feel” of the site was in December 2019 and based on feedback from users I have decided to tweak the site to make it even more useful and efficient for race drivers. Look for the directory to be front and center on the homepage and easier to search, the site to operate faster and more sustainably, and for the blog to feature even more useful information for race drivers, to indeed feature “News Racers Can Use.”
Until then, here is this week’s Weekly Debrief.
Driver Development News, Tips & Techniques
- At Laguna Seca last weekend the daughter of late CART IndyCar Series and Indy Racing League team owner John Della Penna launched the Della Penna Motorsports Next Gen Foundation. Michelle Della Penna states that the foundation’s mission is to bring more women into motor racing through a 501C-3 charity.
- In France, Feed Racing announced the launch of Season 4 of their F4 Volant driver development program to promote a young driver to F4. Started by F1 Champion Jacques Villeneuve and French race driver Patrick Lemarié, the program uses a shoot-out format where the winner, according to their website, will win a full season in Formula 4 in 2023 in a “top European championship.” There is also a promotional rate available that is good until December 31, 2021. Full details can be found here.
- Just a reminder that the Lucas Oil Scholarship Shoot-Out is coming up December 14-16, 2021. If you want to enter you will need to first complete one of their Basic Racing Schools so if you were considering entering you will want to schedule your session soon.
- If you are looking for a driver coach a new online service has just been launched into beta. Called My Race Instructor, the service is no cost to users and features a growing directory of coaches for both virtual and on-track racing.
- Racing is all about performing under pressure and Hintsa Performance has made available their recent webinar Performing Under Pressure – Webinar with Advance available for all to view and learn from.
- Vision in endurance racing is a critical factor in a driver’s success and Autosport have a great look at the topic with their article Why Le Mans proves good vision is vital to racing success
- Theoretically I could put this under the esports banner but as there are more and more opportunities to use sim racing as a stepping stone to the real thing I think it should fall under the rubric of driver development. Turkish racer Cem Bolukbasi states in no uncertain terms ‘I want to be the first driver to go from eSports to real F1 – and I’m already halfway there’ which once again demonstrates the possibilities and opportunities that sim racing bring to develop the next generation of race drivers.
- With so many top level talents struggling to get into an F1 team these days, Motorsport Magazine looks at the issue in Young talents lose out as top F1 teams fight for junior seats.
- Richard Morris of Racing Pride outlines how his summer of 2021 progressed both on and off the track in 2021 Summer of Pride for Richard Morris as he works to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusion through motorsport.
- Finally, No Money Motorsports looks at How to be a Sprint-Racing Radio Spotter and why a club racer might want to consider having one.
The Business of Being a Race Driver
- Racing Mentor recently launched their Sponsorship Success Academy and as part of this program they are announcing an Academy exclusive: The Sponsorship Blueprint Survey based on driver feedback.
One of the most exciting parts of listening to our feedback panel was hearing how drivers want to see real, measurable change. With that in mind, we wanted to dig deeper into how you learn, how you identify progression, and how self-reflection can keep you accountable.Jess Shanahan of Racing Mentor
- Wondering when to start approaching sponsors for 2022? Sponsorship consultant Megan Lingner explains Why now is the best time to approach sponsors.
- If you are a driver from New Zealand, the 2022 New Zealand Grand Prix could be a golden opportunity for young drivers argues Talk Motorsports.
Outside of personal and sponsor funding, Kiwi drivers have available support from the Kiwi Driver Fund along with the opportunity to be part of the Hampton Downs Academy’s Prize shootout where its graduates will go head to head to win funding towards a drive in the Grand Prix.Talk Motorsport September 16, 2021
- In Italy, testing has begun with the new second-generation Tatuus Formula 4 car powered by an Abarth engine. The halo-shod T-421 did roughly 700 kilometres covered across two days and were all trouble-free. According to Paddock Scout, so far the British, Italian, Spanish, United Arab Emirates and new Indian championship have committed to adopting the T-421 as soon as it is on the market.
- Paddock Scout also mentioned that F4 Southeast Asia is sticking with the older Mygale chassis for a few years longer. The 2021 season has been canceled but the 2022 season will kick off in the first quarter of 2022.
- In sports cars, BMW completed a “trouble-free” debut with the new M4 GT3 on the Nordschleife as it gets ready for competition in 2022.
- The organizers of the Gulf 12 Hours have announced a new Bahrain GT race that will be open exclusively to amateur and pro-am driver line-ups racing GT3 and GT4 machinery, as well cars from one-make sportscar series such as the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Lamborghini SuperTrofeo. The race will be called the Bahrain ProAm 1000. Raptor Engineering have announced a potential Arrive and Drive program for the race that will take place in December.
- Finally, Speed Cafe reports that “unsuitable cars” could be barred from future Targa Tasmania events. “What we need to do is to make sure that the learnings from this event around suitability of vehicles is actioned in a way that is responsible and practical” according to the analysis in the report.
- TCR has announced a new tournament called TCR Virtual at the recent SimRacing Expo 2021. According to the organizers:
To qualify for the tournament you must signup to Simracing.gp and find the TCR Virtual Hub and take part in a qualification race where the only objective is to finish the race with no incidents. Upon completing the qualifying race you will unlock the regional knockout brackets where you will join regional tournaments.
The Regional knockouts last five weeks, each week being a single round in the knockout tournament.
To compete in a round you must take part in a heat, of which there will be an unlimited amount to accommodate as many driver that wish to take part. The top 50% of the field will progress to round two and the bottom half will be eliminated from the tournament. The number of drivers progressing from the following rounds will reduce as the competition gets stiffer.
- A trailer for Gran Turismo 7 on Playstation has been released. Check it out below. It is scheduled to be available March 4, 2022.
Business of Motorsport
- One of the biggest issues facing race teams in Indycars today is finding young and qualified job candidates to take the place of an aging workforce. Juncos Hollinger Racing is trying to do something about this by partnering with Purdue University in an educational partnership “that will see the NTT IndyCar Series team and school develop “experiential education opportunities for Purdue students who want to explore careers in the motorsports, auto and mobility industries.””
- The World Anti-Doping Agency is considering removing cannabis from the banned substance list. As the FIA is a signatory to and follows WADA’s anti-doping rules, it would apply to motorsport. While not a major issue in racing, as the Race Fans article points out, it did cost Tomas Enge a F3000 championship in the 2002.
- Increasingly, sports leagues and championships are looking to follow the lead of Formula 1 by creating their own equivalent to Netflix’s Drive to Survive. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is The PGA Tour. Why? Consider these stats according to Huddle Up:
- The average F1 TV audience in the United States has risen from 547,000 in 2018 to 928,000 in 2021, according to the New York Times.
- Formula One made significant digital gains in 2020, with social media engagements soaring 99% year-over-year (YoY) to 810 million (source).
- Formula One is the fastest-growing major sports property across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitch, and Chinese social platforms, with total followers up 3% to 35 million (source).
- Over 75% of Formula One’s audience growth in 2020 came from those aged between 16 and 35, a key demographic for broadcasting and advertising partners (source).
- Speaking of Formula 1, according to Zak Brown a Formula 1 team will be worth “billions” in the future, rivaling the values of NFL and NBA teams. This could bode well for the current situation with too many good young drivers and not enough seats as it will perhaps entice a few more teams to the fold. And as Formula 1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali has pointed out, the anti-dilution fee is negotiable.
- Racer has a great analysis of the convoluted legal saga between Ryan Hunter-Reay and Paul Gentilozzi which was decided in Hunter-Reay’s favor. A great example of contract law for law students.
- The Drone Racing League just inked a huge $100 million deal with Blockchain platform Algorand.
- As things start to get back to some sort of normal and subject of course to any changes in Covid-related developments, some significant motorsport conferences and expositions are returning with in-person attendance permitted. Here are five that will be welcoming attendees:
From the Motorsport Prospects Archives
Back in June 2019 I spoke to race driver coach Tom Long about his career, the key attributes of a race driver and racing Mazda MX-5s. As I am preparing a post about MX-5 racing it is a good time to revisit Tom’s excellent advice in The Eyes are the Keys to it All – In Conversation with Professional Race Car Driver and Driver Coach Tom Long.
The Last Lap
Here are some great motorsport-related tidbits for this week’s Last Lap.
- This is one of those gestures that just warms my heart. Check out Ferrari dealer lets kids fighting cancer take laps around a racetrack to see why Ferrari of Atlanta and their Rides to Remember makes such a big difference in the lives of kids battling for their future. A fantastic initiative!
- This looks like an amazing event as Mclaren is set to run some historic F1 cars at the brand new Velocity Invitational November 11-14, 2021 at Laguna Seca.
- It is pretty hard not to love the iconic Aston Martin DB5 that debuted in the James Bond classic Goldfinger but did you know that this classic car was in fact stolen and that there is a $100,000 reward for its recovery? Check out the podcast The Great James Bond Car Robbery as Elizabeth Hurley explains.
- Here are some of Motorsport’s Strangest Cars. The one above continues to make me shake my head.
- Since Indycar is just about to race at Laguna Seca as I type this, watch Scott McLaughlin wheel an IndyCar around Laguna Seca.
Stay safe and I will see you at the track!