From a number of sources recently there has arisen the suggestion that motor racing is unlikely to regain after the war the status it once enjoyed, and that never again will it achieve a value equal to that which it possessed prior to 1939. The suggestion is based, it seems, on the assumption that international contests will be impossible and that important national fixtures will fail through lack of support from manufacturers too busily engaged in seeking to re-establish themselves in home and export markets to construct racing cars. Racing amongst private individuals with, perhaps, a little sports car racing, is, we are expected to believe, all that is likely to happen when peace returns. That such a view is able to come into being and get a hearing at the very time when more people than ever before realise how much their security rests with the inherent efficiency of their country’s engineering products is, to say the least, curious. Air-borne invaders can only be stemmed effectively by meeting them with a superior force of fighter aircraft. The Battle of Britain has proved the quality of our pilots and aeroplanes, and those aeroplanes clearly owe much to researches carried out some years ago in a successful endeavour on the part of Great Britain to win the Schneider Trophy. When it becomes permissible to say more about our tanks and other military weapons and equipment propelled by the i.c. engine, then will it be seen that motor racing research has done for that sphere what aeroplane racing research has done for our Royal Air Force. To-day war provides a needed stimulus to hundreds of thousands of workers in completing effectively the countless trying tasks that go to the making of complex machinery such as an aeroplane or an aero-engine; when we are not at war, racing alone can speed up research and encourage progressive evolution.
Turning to the future, let the pessimists recall that, after 52 months’ fighting in the last Great War, many of the foremost motor-car manufacturing concerns in Europe were desperately concerned to beat one another in classic Grand Prix races and that very soon afterwards cars entered by our late enemy were lining up beside our own. Who can say that such will not happen again, especially considering what a valuable yardstick of national engineering prowess international motor racing constitutes, capable of yielding lessons of significance both to victor and to vanquished alike? Manufacturers seeking to re-establish themselves in the markets of the world, guided by new young blood amongst executives keyed up, moreover, to the tempo of modern warfare, are unlikely to wish to compete for honours only in stock-car events. So far as racing for sport is concerned, ex-Army, Navy and R.A.F. personnel may be expected to support the smaller races very actively, when one remembers how “the Services” sought relaxation at Brooklands during the early nineteen-twenties.
It might well be said that motor racing provides a means of peace-time research and produces a type of personnel without which, and lacking whom, our fortunes might well go badly in war. The instantaneous interaction of hand and eye and the necessity for quick decision engendered by the Sport have proved invaluable in every branch of the Services during the present war. Consequently there is no doubt that far from being in danger of losing its former status, it seems assured of a future of increasing usefulness and purpose.