Pikes Peak, Bonneville, World Time Attack Are Real Racing – /SHAKEDOWN


This weekend, I had another
auto racing epiphany after watching NASCAR at Watkins
Glen, after reading about DeltaWing– it wanted to be the spec car
for the Indy light series, completely ignoring the logic
of how that would be nonproductive as a training
ground for talent for the big Indy cars with a completely
different car technology and set up feel– and following three events
across the US and the globe, the World Time Attack Challenge
from Australia, and from the US, the Pike’s Peak
International Hill Climb and Bonneville Salt Flats. They’re a speed competition. When I looked at those events,
when I read all the current racing news and compared it all
to the mindset of big time professional racing, well, a key
point about racing hit me. And as car fans, I wonder
if it hits you too. Come back and find out WTF I
am talking about because it could spark a ton of comments
and debate, and it may just turn into a classic
“Shakedown” rant. You know, with the Leo shouting
voice and hand gestures that some of you all
love to comment about. But I’ll be talking about cars,
while you’re wanking on about my hosting skills. And that’s the hint for
today’s epiphany. Focus on the cars. I was reading a newspaper
article lamenting how as a nation, the US has stopped being
a country of craftsmen, craftspeople. We don’t make things anymore. We don’t do do-it-yourself
projects. We don’t know how. We just watch others do
it on TV, I guess. Oh sure, we’re here crafting
videos, and some microbrewery is crafting beer, and a cook or
chef will tell me they’re crafting a culinary dish, or
someone’s writing lines of code or making an app, but
building real [BLEEP]? Well, we’re no longer seeing
that as our style. And that’s when it hit me. With Bonneville, Pike’s Peak,
World Time Attack, it’s not just about the racing. It’s a celebration of
craftsmanship and individuality. In each event, each car is its
own unique design and unique interpretation of
how to go fast. And as car guys,
you like that. It’s why you’re watching “Tuned”
and “Big Muscle.” Someone building something
special, their own, and in racing, putting that to the
test versus others. Not a megacorporate exercise,
not everybody racing unit car spec cars, not rules that
prevent craftsmanship or narrow the skill down to who’s
the best at micromanaging the tolerances of a parts assembly
or a body line fit to get the most speed. Real cars, custom cars,
individual designs. And that came to me
as the epiphany. While real racing, for the most
part, is busy trying to make the show better or control
costs or limit the tech to control costs and make
the show better, they’re forgetting what car guys love
about cars, individuality and craftsmanship. Everyone doing their thing. May the best engineering plus
driving plus the car win. Like in Bonneville. Check out these cars. They are awesome. Now, I have no idea who’s
winning right now or what’s going on really because the
event runs through August 17. And the website kind of sucks. And it feels like a bunch of
old guys on the desert. But who cares? I want Bonneville to be cooler
than the Texas Mile BS. Or how about this collection
of Pike’s Peak competitors? Hey, even Audi was there. No, not with the fenderless
R18 team from Le Mans. They had a pace car. But that would have been cool
if they ran the R18 up. The event was kind of
a mess this year. Kind of screwed up with
handling of the fans. It’s all pavement this
year, so it was really too much danger. And there were guys
chewing crashes. I’m sure you’ve already
seen the Foley video. But really, who did what? Well, Rhys Millen and his
Genesis Coupe, they won overall, followed very
closely by Romain Dumas in his Porsche. They set records, 946.1. The Porsche was only two tenths
back from that Hyundai. Then Ducati bikes P3 and 4. The Palatov with his new V8 was
P5 overall, and was the first car that kind of popped
into the 10 minute mark. The next car was the
Honda electric. Did I say Honda? I meant Toyota. That was Freudian. I used to work for them. They were P6 at a
10 minute 15. And why did I say Honda
by mistake? Well, there was a NSX there, but
it really should be a WTF. I can’t see the NSX in there. At Pike’s Peak, there were
too many cars that did not post a time. I’m not sure what happened. If you know, kind of fill in
the blanks in the comments. And then there were the rides
from the World Time Attack Challenge that was
in Australia. 40 miles west of Sydney is the
Eastern Creek International Raceway, the only permanent
circuit in Australia with an FIA grade two international
license. There were records all around,
heavy speeds, and tech, a lot of tech. Now sure, there was money for
the pro cars, and a lot of money spent, but there
were am classes too. So individuals building their
own cars at every level of this competition and the
freedom from racing restrictions to do so. Let me explain my epiphany
a bit further. I like it when the GT and LMP
classes of Le Mans racing show me different designs, different
brands, all trying to go fastest. I like F1 and WRC for the same
reasons, different solutions. But it’s all about big money,
big corporate craftsmanship and design. And I don’t like Indy car and
NASCAR as much because they negate the car tech
individuality with a spec car. And they even neuter the
different engines via equivalency formulas. See, the epiphany is all about
the real racer guys building things, their cars. The cars are the stars as
much as the driving, as much as the show. The people managing racing seem
to forget that, forget the affinity that a car guy or
girl has with a car, with a special car, with the person
that made it special, that created it. Cookie cutter clone [BLEEP] is hurting racing, and that’s
where the World Time Attack, Pike’s Peak, Bonneville feel
like the best of racing. So how can we promote
more of that? You know, individual cars
are a big part of what made racing cool. And you still want
that, right? Racing still needs it, right? What do you think?