A downhill trend

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admin

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Sir,

I was distressed to read in Motor Sport about the reduction of long distance racing in time to four hours. Thanks to Motor Sport for supplying excellent coverage of long distance (sports car) racing as it is, because to me, that is about all that keeps it alive. I think it wise to have a few short races for sports cars but let us not got carried away and make every race just a couple of spins around the track. People like an atmosphere of flexibility and variety and this promotes interest and participation, just what motor racing needs. If you have Le Mans 24-hours, a couple of twelve and six-hour races and then a few shorter ones, mixed together, then this may add an interesting balance to the calendar and also test the teams in their preparations and performance. I think it would be pretty boring to gear up for a four-hour race all the time, unless this is an exercise to see who the four-hour champion driver of the year is!

There seems to be a downhill trend in motor racing, particularly for the Formula One and sports car scenes. If one can refer to Motor Sport of May ’69 and read the Continental Notes; one will read of the Belgian GP being cancelled due to (what it seemed to amount to) cold feet on the part of all. Spa has seen little of the GP circus since, as indicated in the Continental Notes of the June ’75 issue. Now the sports car scene seems to be in jeopardy. Gradually, some of the so-called rules for safer racing are strangling the sport out of being a sport in the first place. Also, the sport has become too professional. I am all for safety but let us at least keep one or two of the traditions in motor sport, those of courage and the ability to perform like sportsmen and sportswomen. I would not be surprised to see the phrase “the Grand Prix side-show” coming into use!

Another thing that bothers me is the introduction of chicanes everywhere. They are put there to slow the race up for safety’s sake but even I know that no driver is going to slow right up and coast through them— instead they will try to cut through them as fast as possible. An example of what I mean can be seen in the colour photo in the October ’75 issue of Motor Sport of the Italian GP chicane incident. Chicanes only add danger, not annul it. Klemzig, S. Africa, ROMANS LAPINS