Has Motor Racing lost its way in a sea of Bull? What do you think? Part 1
It's a bit of a harsh heading but I can think of no better word! Last week Porsche ditched its WEC entry and confirmed it would not be defending its Le Mans title next year. Earlier in the year it claimed that sports car racing was the future proving ground for new road car technology, and the company had spent the last year using its considerable influence to help write the new rules for 2020. Well that was a waste of time and complete load of bull, as it now claims Formula E is the future with electric cars soon to be common place in our towns and cities. Yeah right!
Just earlier in the month leading newspapers splashed headlines across the front pages claiming Volvo had signed the death warrant for the petrol car! Bullshit they did no such thing; they merely stated the obvious that all its cars will have some form of hybrid electrical system just like the very first Toyota Prius of nearly twenty years ago!
But it occurred to me that just maybe none of the big car giants really know where they are heading. It is rather like a Trump administration that hires and fires at will and makes decisions on the cuff of the moment. Take the Porsche story; maybe top board members thought they were certain that WEC and Le Mans was the direction that they were heading, only to be over ruled on a whim by a member of the VW group. Remember VW? They are the ones who bullshited their way through the emissions tests. With so many manufacturers heading to Formula E maybe the PR boys followed like sheep. After all it's cheap and it makes it seem like your trying to save the planet!
The trouble is there are no solutions to the problem that cars present. Quite simply no matter what direction car production heads there is no clean or environmentally friendly way to manufacture cars. Diesel cars were presented by governments as the savour to greenhouse gas emissions. Gordon Brown the British Chancellor even slashed the tax on the diesel motor cars to get us to ditch our demonised petrol vehicles. But just like all politicians or even the PR boys at VW there wasn't much science or even much thought behind such a massive decision. It turns out that because of the toxic fumes the diesel produce we have spent ten years ramping up the production of air pollution!
So maybe the problem with Le Mans and the ACO is that they have come up with a set of rules that are realistic but are being shunned by the automotive industry because they cannot be seen to be promoting reality! While manufacturers cannot be seen to be spending vast sums of cash on hybrid racing cars, it will behind the scenes be building hybrid cars! Meanwhile the advertisers will be have a field day proclaiming that participating in Electric racing is responsible and will save the planet.
Sometimes when problems arise that are on such a massive scale it is easy to grasp at solutions that are passionate and ease the guilt of the followers. Take electric cars and Elon Musk the incredible man behind Tesla. He produces fantastic electric cars and the company really did show the doubters that it could be done, even if it is with a lot of green tax breaks. But what is green for a city centre in the United States is not green for places like South America, Africa and east Asia. As Tesla sells more and more cars it needs more and more Lithium, Cobalt and Aluminium. Forget the fact that some of these resources are mined by kids, think about the massive areas of landscape poisoned and polluted for years. Cobalt is mined in the Congo which is one of the few large areas of natural rain forest in Africa. Lithium is from Latin America home of the Amazon rain forest. Now originally these are the bits of the planet that governments and environmentalists we were the most interested in saving! Believe me! I am afraid to say I am no green or environmentalist but it does seem to me that there is no solution to building clean cars. We can build better cars maybe and also clean up our polluted cities but Automotive Manufacturers are stuck with the fact that they have to promote a product that is killing the planet! No Bull!
Motoring-Man is a lifelong fan of Motor Racing and has a memorabilia passion / business
BELOW ARE SOME OF THE REPLIES AND THOUGHTS I HAVE HAD ON THIS POST. FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN
Stefan Davies The problem here is that people are all too ready to lump formula e and electric cars into the far left tree hugging hippie crap they can't even see what they are arguing and end up confusing themselves
You do understand that a wider variety of areas other than just technology is a product of motorsport and it's far too easily forgotten
Jonas Andersson Too bad the teams in Formula E have to use the same battery. Where's the "road relevance" in that? :(
Jeremiah Schlup I can't wait for the electric Porsches! It's going to be great!! A whole new revolution of the sportscar is coming fast in more eays than one. I belve that Porscge made it's decision about formula e is bade on what Mate Rimiac has ecomplished withthe "Concept One"in 6 years with less than 50 employees. Every auto maker on the planet is saying what the hell just happened! We need to change now!
Lee Stones hat I find personally more disturbing is the rise of the so called autonomous cars obviously for the road - my main concern is servicing : obviously governments and manufacturers will insist on regular servicing and calibration to ensure the car is working properly, how will this happen?? you may argue that the car can take itself for service when not in use - you may not even have a choice in this matter - but as most car dealers make almost nothing from selling a car and most money from after sales and service - you see where I am going here - it is possible that if you fail to send (or pay for) your car being serviced the dealer can effectively halt its use - as no doubt such cars will have an element of connectivity and thus able to report and likely be controlled by the dealer. So you may end up with a very expensive bill you cant or dont want to pay , a car that is unusable and unsellable , and a court case affecting your credit status brought on you by the dealer. now maybe a bit far fetched and 1984ish - but am I totally on the wrong track? Will I keep my BMW E30 for such a rainy day? Will they be able to stop me in my race car?? ·
Motoring-Man I guess if we get to the stage where we are mostly using Autonomous cars, will we also be sharing them? The costs would therefore be shared and maybe reduced? Aire B&B Buy and Borrow for cars?
Lee Stones Motoring-Man his I understand is Ford's proposed method whereby you lease the car rather than own it. Can you imagine a generation that never experience owning their first crap car, that broke down all the time and forced you to think on your feet to get where you need to be, or to fix it there and then. Instead we will have the spoiled self important millennial types who will only ever see the interior of a new car and will never be late for their decaf soya lattes.
Motoring-Man On a lighter note they may well be sat in front of a screen watching Steve McQueen in Le Mans instead of having to drive!
Dino Michael Not often that I read such a long post. Glad I did. A great informative read. Still want a Tesla though.
Motoring-Man So do I!
Andrew Warner Porsche fans hate change, just look at the massive fuss about the change to watercooled engines.
James Turner Formula E isn't as green as it should be, as it doesn't use energy recovery to recharge the batteries. If it did, the cars would probably be able to get to the end of the race.
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