The Changing Face of Motorsport

The changing face of motorsport is something that should be both encouraged and celebrated and this week I bring you two examples of how things are changing for the better. While it may not be fast enough for some, a diverse and inclusive motorsport seems to be moving in the right direction.

I also have news on plans for a new young driver development pathway in NASCAR, a new racing school in the Atlantic region of Canada and how you can learn from failure and use it to achieve athletic success.

All this and more in this week’s Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. News for race drivers and those who want to become one.

Driver Development Roundup

The African American Automotive Association has a great article on racers Dystany Spurlock and Violet Townsend and how they are examples of the changing face of motorsport.

In a sport predominantly male and with a limited representation of diverse races, two remarkable African-American women have set the pace for change. Dystany Spurlock and Violet Townsend made history when they competed in the acclaimed Skip Barber Formula Race Series at Lime Rock Park, Salisbury, CT. Their participation marked an auspicious moment, showcasing their talents and highlighting the changing dynamics of motorsports.”

Sports Business Journal reports that NASCAR is developing a youth ladder system that would give young drivers and their parents a clearer idea of the path needed to become a future NASCAR driver, according to leading executive Ben Kennedy.

“If you look back at our Cup drivers, everyone has a different path,” said Kennedy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing development and strategy. “Some will race short tracks, asphalt, dirt … late models, modifieds, all sorts of different vehicles,” he said. “For us, it’s about really thinking, ‘What are those paths they took to get to the Cup Series? What does it look like today? Can we be part of that path from bookend to bookend in the future?”

Ben Kennedy

Kennedy said the goal is to create a “clear path where, if you want to become a future NASCAR driver, you can kind of look at that chart to see what that looks like.” He said NASCAR is in the early stages of developing the framework and that “there’s certainly a lot of work to do.” Until now, the proposed system had not been reported.

Formula 1 team bosses reckon a “rethink” of the championship calendar and race format is required or else rookie drivers will have “no chance” of holding onto their seats.

Williams Team Principal James Vowles: “I think it’s probably worthy of a rethink at certain levels as to what we can do to help drivers in that circumstance because, ultimately, we will get ourselves into a position where we’re not adding new drivers at the rate we want to. Or, we have to give them so long in the car that you’ll compromise your [team] performance. That’s a longer-term discussion.”

The Changing Face of Motorsport

There is a new racing school in near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that will be using Formula BMW cars at the Atlantic Motorsport Park near Halifax in 2023. Run by the Atlantic Racing Team, here are some details:

  • 5 FBMW’s are already here and ready for the use. For a new beginning we selected 5 evenly tuned FBMW, only varying in seat width and leg space to accommodate even the taller driver.
  • The maximum height and weight for any driver will be 6’3” and 250 lbs respectively, with some exceptions.
  • The cars – as previously ran in the World Formula BMW Series –
  • carbon fibre chassis, full front and rear adjustable wings,
  • 2 way adjustable shocks;
  • FIA F3 approved crash boxes.
  • 1200ccm, 4 cylinder R1200 motorcycle engine, 150 hp,
  • 6 speed sequential Hewland gearbox.
  • At this time we will book selected days, some on weekends;
  • FOR AMP – just for fun, racing (if you have a race license) and / or corporate days;
  • We will include –
  • Participation fees; Track fees; EMT for your protection;
  • Transport of cars to/from track; Hospitality tent;
  • Non alcoholic drinks; Snacks; Luncheon;
  • 30 minutes practice lapping, 1 qualifying 20 minutes session and 1 x 30 minute race;
  • 1 set of Hankook slick tires; All fuel and oils as needed; Regular maintenance;
  • 1 set up for all participants; Sharing of all data for all participants;
  • We can provide helmets, race suits only for track days;
  • Damages – to be paid by each driver, regardless of fault – secured via credit card/cash to a maximum of C$7,000.- per incidence;
  • Driver;
  • 14 years of age – minimum; Max. 6’3” tall, 250 lbs;
  • Regional race license minimum if you want to do serious racing;
  • You bring – Valid SNELL 2015 helmet, SFI race suit, SFI undergarments, SFI Balaclava, SFI shoes, SFI gloves. All can be purchased or rented (no Undergarments or Balaclava);
  • First day will be a ground school; Getting used to the formula BMW;
  • 3 session with various speeds under “follow me’ car;
  • Afternoon – free running with limited speeds;
  • Getting used to the formula BMW; 1 session with various speeds under “follow me’ car;
  • Afternoon – free running with limited speeds;
  • The Cost;
  • pre-paid per day C$3,500.- (with a minimum of 3 cars)
  • Any full practice, test days C$ 4,600.- (single car; if 2 or more participants C$300.- discount)
  • Bookings and inquiries – Ingo 902 880 6010. Or

Art Grand Prix’s Carrie Schreiner has returned to single-seaters for this year’s inaugural F1 Academy season. In an exclusive interview with Feeder Series, the 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Middle East and DMV Gran Turismo Touring Car Cup champion discussed her path to F1 Academy, her ongoing involvement as a driver in Giti’s ‘Girls Only’ GT racing team, and how F1 Academy’s emphasis on track time and testing allowed her to “[learn] so much this year”.

Motorsport Magazine explains how ‘It’s increasingly women who are creating the stories in motor sport’.

Alongside all-female championships such as W Series and the new F1 Academy, it’s positive action to end male domination of top-level motor racing. The principle is not welcomed by all fans, but the evidence is slowly growing that it does offer opportunities, experience and a platform for female drivers that enables them to go on and compete with men on a level playing field.”

Blayze has a great article on how failure is positive for athletic success. “Did you know that studies show a fail rate of 15% is actually ideal for learning? Our education system is one that doesn’t allow for any level of failure, which actually teaches us to not put ourselves in a position to allow ourselves to fail. That prevents most of us from putting ourselves in a place to truly learn.”

Driver Development Roundup

Motorsport UK’s Revolution Magazine looks at the importance of karting as a fast-paced proving ground for future motorsport talent. “When every element of performance is crucial, what does it take to create a winner? Revolution investigates.”

The Changing Face of Motorsport

The High Performance Podcast has a great interview with Fernando Alonso.

This episode explores what it takes to become an elite F1 driver, and how to maintain top level performance over a 20-year career. Jake and Damian discover the origins of Fernando’s legendary racing career, dating back to his very first race at the age of three. They learn that despite Fernando’s unshakable self-confidence, he balances this with a unique awareness of his own limitations. Alonso also gives insights to the transformation his two-year F1 hiatus had on him personally, deepening connections with his fans, and discovering an appreciation of the privileges of his position. He also opens up about his biggest regrets, and how he has dealt with failure since his championship winning years. This conversation transcends the racetrack, offering lessons in determination, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of excellence.”

You can watch it above.

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.