My earlier post about the Red Bull F1 car on the beach got me thinking about racing series that I’d like to see. Some won’t happen, since no one in their right mind would sign up to drive (or ride ) in them, but others are a distinct possibility. As with any other sport, all it takes is sponsorship dollars, two or more racers and enough spectator interest to give the fledgling series a green light.
Now that both IRL and NASCAR have evolved into spec series with little difference between the cars or teams, I say let’s add some excitement back into racing. Let’s create a few new series that fans will actually want to watch, instead of ones that are just driven by corporate advertising budgets. Here are my top five suggestions for new racing series, but I’d love to hear you own ideas.
Stock Car Racing
Like the name implies, let’s go back to the days of racing stock cars on ovals and road courses. Here are the rules: you can buy any make or model of sedan from a local dealership, gut the interior, weld in a cage, add a 30 gallon fuel cell, change to spec tires and go racing. Engine mods would be limited to intake, headers and exhaust, and no suspension mods would be allowed.
I’m afraid that this series would prove to be a big disappointment, as no one would tune in to watch Ford Taurus and Chevy Malibu stock cars get lapped repeatedly by Dodge Chargers. I also lack confidence that modern cars would survive 600 miles of fender banging, threshold braking, wheel-to-wheel racing. Still, I’d pay money to watch this.
Let’s face it, the best selling heavyweight bikes in America are Harley-Davidsons, and they’re about the only bikes you see on the road in Florida. Why not start a racing series that combines two of America’s motorcycle passions: Harleys and Supercross?
You’d want to standardize the bike, otherwise the teams that opted for the XR1200s would be winning every race. Instead, let’s run Supercross with Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy motorcycles, 725 pounds of dirt-shredding American iron. In the interest of safety, a spec series knobby would be created for the front and rear, and riders could change the front fork springs, fork oil and rear shock. Chrome, of course, would not be regulated, and open pipes would be allowed.
You won’t see big air from these bikes, but the charge for the first corner would be epic. I wouldn’t bank on bikes lasting more than a few laps, so races would definitely have to be shortened. I’m sure that Harley-Davidson would quickly get behind this series, as it would not only generate bike and spare part business, but it would seriously ramp up their t-shirt and bandana sales.
Beach Racing League
The Indy Racing League is dormant from October until March, and driver’s would welcome a chance to stay fresh in their cars. America has thousands of miles of beaches, most of which are abandoned after Labor Day weekend. See where I’m going with this? Sure, I’m ripping off Red Bull, but racing open wheel cars on sand looks like a lot of fun. I say throw in a mix of ovals and road courses and run the cars as they race in the IRL. Track durability would probably be a concern, so we’d need to go with fewer laps and longer tracks, but that just makes for more viewing and sponsorship options. Aside from nesting sea birds, turtles, retirees and beach bums, who wouldn’t embrace this revolutionary new motor sport?
The Segway Roadrace Challenge
Let’s face it: Segway personal transporters never took off the way inventor Dean Kamen imagined. Why not revitalize the Segway with a spec racing series? Teams would be encouraged to “tune” their Segways with hotter motors and larger battery packs, and safety gear would be limited to motorcycle roadracing leathers and a full face helmet. Almost anyone could afford the price of admission, and here’s where having smart and nerdy friends could pay big dividends. There’s got to be dozens of Segways sitting idle, just waiting for the chance to turn a wheel in anger. You could even feature the x2 Segway in a WRC style event with a mix of on and off road stages – the possibilities are endless.
I’d be the first to admit that a spec series with a 12.5 mile per hour top speed would be a tough sell. That’s why modifications to the motor, controller and battery packs would be unlimited. Imagine a couple of Segways dicing it out, while trading paint in a corner at fifty miles per hour – that’s where it gets interesting.
The Hovercraft Grand Prix
Anyone with an old motor, some fan blades, nylon skirting and spare time can build a hovercraft in their back yard, making this the ideal series for the gear head on a budget. Races could be held anywhere, since hovercraft fly (in theory, at least) over land or water. Sure, the homebuilt ones aren’t very maneuverable, but that just adds to the challenge of being a hovercraft pilot. Since this is the closest thing we have to flying cars, I think it’s important to show support for this series. Unless, of course, you want to be stuck driving on roads forever.