The Letter S is for…

Spec.

As in, spec racing is the future of racing.

For a series like Formula One, the word spec isn’t in their DNA. It is supposed to be where innovation and creation can be the difference between having your car race for a spot on the podium or struggle at the back of the pack. If a team misses on the car’s design. They take the wrong approach to the engine regulations, or don’t have the money to truly compete; they will see themselves get relegated to the back of the pack. All without a moment’s hesitation. (e.g., Williams)

We’ve seen this kind of situation too many times, and it usually develops into one of two ways:

The team eventually folds due to the relentless financial pressures of trying to keep stride with their competitors, and ultimately, we lose cars on the grid or.
Someone buys out the struggling team and injects into it, a new financial life. The team then becomes rebranded, and then they also cave into the financial pressures of trying to keep stride with their competitors and then we lose cars on the grid.
And this isn’t only seen in Formula One. NASCAR recently saw a championship-winning team fold due to the ever-turning wheel of chassis innovation and look at what has become of the LMP1 class in the World Endurance Championship. It’s my opinion and observation that the LMP1 class out-innovated themselves in terms of any applicable reasoning toward racing. To continue on that path, would have been nothing more than an endless money pit.

Listen, an innovation of any kind is expensive. This expense increases when you apply innovation to racing. It merely becomes an endless expense to innovate the minuscule things better than the next team to gain any advantage. This kind of “behind the scenes” work is what fans don’t see when it comes to series like NASCAR. The cars look the same on the outside, but all the money is under the body. And there is no doubt that it alters differently between various race weekends.

These microscopic changes for innovation are why the cost of specific racing series is growing at exponential rates, and this is where the beauty of spec racing comes into play. It helps keep the cost down and the attractiveness of racing high. Does spec racing solve all problems in motorsports? No, but it does offer a solution to have healthy, sustainable racing.

I do find it interesting that we tend to view the general idea of spec racing as a bit of a taboo subject. But yet, we continue to love the racing that comes from spec series like IndyCar and various GT3 leagues around the world. Why? Because it puts the driver in control of the race outcome and not the money behind the equipment. The attraction of spec racing is that I, as an owner, can have a chance to win with the same equipment as those around me. We see this ideology work with the increased participation of sports car racing, the interests in IndyCar, and the global impact that Formula E is having on the motorsport community.

What’s alluring about spec racing as a potential owner? Absolutely everything.

Scott Masom

 

 

 

 

 

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