When Auto Racing was fun



Mind you, there’s a lot that bloody bodes well, let me tell you!


Good god what is wired doing these days.

Ghostery built a list of 86 trackers when I visited that link… what the hell guys, seriously?


Back when the drivers were fat and the tyres were skinny, motor racing wasn’t just more ‘fun’, it was bloody dangerous.

A continuously growing list of driver fatalities, not to mention sporadic and occasionally quite large contributions to the body count from the spectators, eventually got beyond a joke in the 60s, when Jackie Stewart cracked the shits with it and campaigned relentlessly to get some safety happening… I’m guessing that’s what he was knighted for.


What does this mean, exactly?

…Hmm, after a quick google it seems this is yet another essential plugin to install…

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I don’t think they made that turn successfully.

Exactly. Beyond the aspect of people dying you are seeing technology reaching the limits of what materials can do today. F1 especially is at a point where new designs and technology isn’t adding leaping and bounds like it did 30 years ago. The machines and drivers are operating on a level that is beyond what a regular person could even comprehend. I mean when you have a seasoned driver like Richard Hammond having a hard time getting the hang of an F1 car just to get it around a track it shows something. The drivers and machines are reaching that point where the differences between them all is shrinking smaller and smaller.

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I agree.

That left rear wheel looks to be in the process of catastrophic failure.

Agreed. If you read driver memoirs from the 1950s, 60s, 70s you read a litany of deaths and serious injuries. Stewart led the charge (there were others as well) to make auto racing safer, and it needed to be done. The cars were dangerous – look at that Austin and imagine the end of those events. The courses were dangerous, with no runoff areas and flimsy guardrails or haybales acting as impact barriers. The course marshals were often ridiculously untrained and unprepared for crashes. And medical resources were rudimentary at best. The death of Roger Williamson in the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix is probably the most egregious of unnecessary deaths to be caught on film. Fellow driver David Purley’s vain attempts to rouse the marshals to fight the flames and right Williamson’s car so he could be rescued are heartbreaking to watch.

By these standards, I’m sure war was fun, too.


Beyond the obvious “when autoracing had incredibly high body counts” several of those photos are endurance type races. Many of which are still held, often with vintage cars. The list of participants for the cross USA Great Race is a good example. All pre-1972 and includes quite a few pre-1920s entrants.

Good coverage of vintage racing in general here: http://grrc.goodwood.com/#/0

Rally driving (WRC in particular) and touring car races (BTCC, WTCC) are great to watch.

Man, no-one beats the Aussies for swearing. I’d never heard that one before. Genius.

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I’m guessing Rob isn’t a motor racing fan. Those with a casual interest tend to find the actual racing boring, and only watch it for the crashes.

This could totally be addressed with yesterday’s tech, by simply changing the way races are televised. All you need to do is invert the ratio of in-car footage to fixed-camera footage, dammit…

I can’t watch F1 because the difference between the fleeting seconds of 100% thrill and dull trackside procession default is so vast… presumably, rich arseholes have created a two-tier setup so you can watch worthwhile coverage if you’re prepared to pay an unreasonable amount for it…

When auto racing was fun-now. Head out to your local dirt track, where it’s pretty much just as fun and slightly insane as ever.

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