It is no wonder, than many of us are more or less interested or passionate about motor sports and racing of one or more forms. Personally i follow F1 and as most things go, it is not what it used to be. With a clear move towards sustainable energy, cost cuts and safety, it is likely that change to motor sports has come to stay, and even more likely that even more drastic change is going to come during the next 10-15 years.
As far as i have experienced, and the way F1 has branded it self, it is a platform to invent, optimize, test and commercialize the newest technology for other motor sports, sport cars and eventually consumer cars. This has worked great, and has made features available to street cars, as traction control, tire compounds, carbon fiber parts, paddle shifter, sequential gear boxes and much more. This also means that at some way or an other, the sport needs to move and follow the needs that the public has. With countries considering a ban or limitation on combustion engines, and technology making new propulsion means more accessible, there is no doubt than change is coming.
Formula E has gained surprisingly much backing during the first couple of seasons, and even though it feels slightly amateurish, the quality is getting better and great drivers are joining. They are really great at promoting the sport to the fans, and also including the fans, buy features such as Fan Boost and an online sim race championship. I am sure that Formula E will be a major player in the future of motor sport, even though it might not seem like much at the moment.
My first experience of a televised virtual racing was through the Formula E series. As part of their promotion, they had a championship between the winners of an elimination series, based on Forza 6, using the Formula E car. It was all a bit primitive, using the spectate view of the game, and with no real way of passing over the information about driver positions, gaps or even lap times.
Looking at other E-Sports and the way they get televised (Counterstrike, Dota etc) and even sponsored there is no doubt that Sim racing has a place in the future of motor sports. It is no longer a question about graphics and realism, as the platforms have become so real that it some times can be hard to tell the difference between game or real life. What the sport needs, is sponsors, professional drivers, high end commentators and better ways for producers to edit the stream, and show us clips and information that matters. Personally i feel there is great potential in the sport, as drivers don’t put their lives at risk, and the punishment of making a bold move is not as severe as in real life. It will also fit very well in to the current trend of cost cuts and environmental consciousness.
An other interesting idea that is still at the very first stages, is a Roborace league. This is already on the pipeline, and are planned to follow the Formula E calendar. The idea is simple. All teams get the same parts (race the same car) but compete on the software. This is after all what matters, in autonomous navigation at high speed. A prototype has been built, to test the technology. This is basically a platform to test if this thing will even work. The series has gone even further though, and had Daniel Simon come up with a final design for the car/robot. Daniel Simon started a conventional career at Volkswagen’s empire, working for Audi, Bentley, and Bugatti. He’s spent the past decade styling liveries for Formula One cars and working as a consultant for folks like Disney. You might already have seen much of Simons’ work, as he created vehicles for films like Prometheus, Captain America, and Tron Legacy. Take a look at his awesome work on his site. This is a series that i have doubts about, but non the less, will keep an eye on. Removing the human aspect from racing is really bold, but also an interesting aspect that maybe is not as alien as we would like to think. Personally I’ve been looking at an automatic vacuum cleaner, and besides a powerful suction, what i have been looking closest at, is the ability to navigate in the home. I would definitely pick a model that has a RoboRace championship behind it, not to say future cars!
With the way things are evolving at the moment, it is hard to lock on one direction, so to say. I recently learned about the Can-Am series that was hugely popular, but died out when it lost the fan base. Motor sports, and racing in general, might be moving to a whole different direction and we, the fans, are deciding where it goes! It could be RC cars, it could be RC drones? It could be a mixture of many different things (maybe all of the above). It is hard to say, but non the less very interesting to follow! I don’t think we’ll ever loose the human aspect in racing. Even the RoboRace idea, has teams of humans competing to make the best software. I can’t imagine a championship where robots drive simulated electric cars would gain much backing, but you never know. Personally i think that Formula E and Simulated Racing are going to be the big players in the near future.
What are your thoughts, and where do you think the future of motor sports lies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments bellow!