#420 Racing is life – S4 E8 – The Road into Motorsport – Has motorsport a future? My thoughts about the HYRAZE League

As some of you guys definitely did not hear about in the last couple of days, there was a press conference this week in which the new “HYRAZE League” was getting presented for the first time. A hydrogen powered racing series. Yes you heard right! A hydrogen powered race car.

Well, with Greta begging us to stop polluting this world, this seems to be the next logical step in line.

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”

Motorsport quote

That’s what they are all trying to do, right? Show us that something, in this case “hydrogen cars” might be cool and that this is the future we have all waited for so long. But revolutions like this come always with a price, right? Hydrogen powered cars? Isn’t that dangerous? Isn’t that expensive? Isn’t that too silent? Isn’t that boring to watch like the FORMULA E?

Motorsport lost its audience. A trend everyone can notice in the last couple of years. Sure, the current COVID19 thing doesn’t make it easier, but in the end, that’s just what is going on in this world these days. But I wouldn’t say that this trend is exclusively the fault of motorsport, like all the experts claim all the time. Because I see this trend basically everywhere.

Just imagine being ten years old again. What do you want to do in your free time? You could chose between what? Sport or some music instruments? Soccer, and a couple of other activities? Table tennis, tennis, basketball if you were large, stuff like this. But looking at this world today, there is just so much more. The market of potential things is just so much bigger. Martial arts, triathlon, eSports, and the list goes on and on. No wonder that clubs complain about not having enough members, there are simply so many different ones to chose from.

Motorsport needs to compete against much more sports and events these days then it needed to compete against 10 years ago. And sure, motorsport changed a lot.

  • It got safer for the drivers, sure, but the sense for danger is something people attract.
  • In the past, there were “real men” sitting in the cars, fighting hard, sometimes even too hard. But that’s what people want to see, right? In this modern world, drivers get huge penalties for things like not respecting the track limits, or something like this. No wonder, that they can hardly do anything and just stay behind. They can not even say into the camera whatever they want.
  • The “Balance of Performance” (bop) wasn’t invented in the past. Cars were driven closer to the limits, engines blowing up, suspensions broke, drivers from behind had an actual chance to come back and win this thing in the end, overtaking the whole group in front of them.
  • Motorsport was closer to the fans. You could simply go there and talk with your hero’s. The pitstop boxes were open and these people would actually spend some time with their fans.

Sure, motorsport got more professional. But the big thing is the mindset change here. In the past, people would do it for the motorsport experience. To drive around in cars, sure, money was always the important thing, but at least they presented it in such a way, that the people hardly ever noticed this fact about the sport. But in this modern motorsport world, well, it seems like real racing is not allowed any longer. This transformed itself into a simple business model and nothing more. They close the door for outsiders and do their own thing. Sure, they can do whatever they want, but no wonder nobody is watching it.

A simple example would be the “Iron Force Racing” project powered by “Ring Police“. What did they make different? They invited the fans to look behind the scenes. Literally in the box, but also virtually on YouTube. They gave their fans the insights we all want. The stories behind the stories. The good moments and the bad ones. And it worked. The ADAC GT Masters got definitely more fans, views and visitors because of that team! As we can see, it’s possible to change something, but people need to want this change, play with open cards and let people get a glimpse of the inside.

THE CAR

But back to the HYRAZE League. Being an engineer as you might already know and having gained a lot of experience about electrical race cars and engines in particular because of my former company and the participation in a formula student racing team, the general idea is not that hard to understand.

You take four electric drives, one for each wheel, and get a perfect four wheel drive drivetrain that you can control in such a way, that the performance of the car will be outrageous. Sure, the punch of electric drives from a still stand is brilliant, but even with a “light weight” car, the performance in higher speeds will not be too bad. Sure, lightweight is always a thing to discuss. With the batteries, the hydrogen tanks and the fuel cell the car might get a bit heavy, but sure, it only competes against the same cars, so what does it really matter. With the use of the right materials and a clever design even this car doesn’t need or will not get too heavy and in the end, they can recuperate a part of the energy while braking anyways.

They have announced to work together with partners on multiple areas, using this project as a great chance to develop something new that hasn’t existed before. From a new kind of braking system that might revolutionize the car industry because it doesn’t create brake dust that pollutes our environment, to various other cooperations. As we can see, the good old “develop it for the race track and implement it into the series production later on” is still a strategy companies do. But we do not want to get too much into the technical details here, right?

SIM RACING & REAL WORLD RACING? DOES THAT MATCH?

Another interesting idea of the project is the implementation of the first official racing series in the world, where they will have both, the virtual world and the real world of racing covered. Creating a system that demands two drivers for a team, one for the actual race car and the other for the virtual races.

Well, what do we say about that? They do not get it, right? They don’t understand. Doing sim racing for over five years already, this recent “trend” is not really what sim racing is all about. Sure, we need to separate sim racing into two categories first in order to better understand.

  1. Sim racing to race virtually only.
  2. Sim racing as a preparation for the real world of racing.

For the first category, sure, they might have actually a chance to get one of the “virtual driver seats”, at least if they know a racing team and stuff. But for the second group of people, that is totally irrelevant. Why? Because the way sim racing is used these days has just nothing to do with the real world of racing. But I guess, that’s a topic for another time.

What the motorsport fans want is interaction

Don’t they see that? It would be so easy. You want to get the virtual racing community to get involved? Well, why don’t you create some lobbies in which professional race car drivers will show up from time to time and have some fun with the average sim racer online. Just blasting around and having some laps. Maybe even teaching them some lines and stuff. But there is nothing won by having virtual races with professional sim racers that nobody knows and nobody actually want to watch racing.

Get the fans behind the scenes, why don’t you set a rule, that each team needs to include at least 4 fans into their team for a racing weekend. Giving them a job in the team, letting them experience racing from the perspective of being a team member. Being responsible for the tires, or whatever. That’s what will give you the attention you want, but not the other way around.

HAS MOTORSPORT A FUTURE?

Of course it has. It’s the thrill of driving fast, the competition, the challenge to get through the race. But motorsport needs to change. They need to be more transparent, allowing fans to have a glimpse behind the walls. Inviting people to get involved and make the events less sponsor-, but more visitor oriented.

Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built.

Henry Ford

Therefore we might say that Auto racing will never end, because there will be always at least two cars still existing in this world.

See you next time!

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