Motor Racing Legends, organiser of four historic race series as well as the annual Le Mans Legend, support race to the 24 Hours, asked more than 100 of its customers (drivers, owners and preparers of historic racing cars) what they see for the future of the sport.
In particular, asked Motor Racing Legends, what are the potential threats to historic motorsport in the next few years?
Keep it Fun
For a start, eight out of ten respondents (83.5%) said that poor or aggressive driving standards in historic motor racing will lead to owners withdrawing their cars from races over the course of the next few years. Many linked this aggression to the increasing use of hired professional drivers, in a sport that is essentially meant to be amateur and ‘fun’ in character.
“There are too many hired drivers for club racing,” said one respondent. “They have no regard for safety or the cars.” Another felt that “The penalties for dangerous driving should be more severe.”
Rising Value of Cars
Secondly, around a third (32.3%) feel it is likely that the rising value of historic cars will see owners become increasingly reluctant to race them. While most competitors still feel that historic motorsport will enjoy real racing cars with historic provenance out on track, there was nevertheless a significant minority (37.6%) who believe that – in 10 years’ time – genuine period race cars will largely be kept as static exhibits, while owners race reproductions instead.
But then, as one respondent asked, “Will historic race car values rise if they are not raced?”
Minimise Cost and Bureaucracy
The rising cost of entry fees to historic races was another common theme, with many competitors highlighting the need to attract younger, less wealthy drivers to the sport. There was also a strong feeling of antipathy towards what one competitor described as “the intrusion of the FIA”.
Another summarised the opinions of many, with the comment: “Get the M.S.A. and health and safety off our backs as much as possible, and make the whole process friendly and fun.”
In conclusion, Duncan Wiltshire, Chairman of Motor Racing Legends, was interested in the changing views of competitors over the last four or five years. “When we last conducted a survey, back in 2008, the main bone of contention was eligibility – how to ensure that cars were running in the correct period specification. While this is certainly still of great concern, the main focus seems to have shifted to the need to keep historic motorsport ‘fun’, affordable, and relatively unbureaucratic. Escalating costs and inappropriate intervention by the governing bodies of modern motorsport are also a major theme in the responses to our survey. We will be working with the circuits, other race organisers and the governing bodies to try to give our competitors what they want.”
[Source: Motor Racing Legends; photo: Julien Mahiels]