Motorsports or motorsport which involves motorized vehicles is considered fun on wheels. However, the sport is more than meets the eye. Motorsport and hill climbing are the riskiest pursuits, and require the highest degree of courage and conviction to pursue this sport. This paper defined and described motorsports, and dwelled at length on the developmental history of motorsports, particularly auto racing or car racing. Starting from the manufacture of the first gasoline-fueled automobiles, and first organized contest on 28th April 1887, every stage of development such as the period up to 1950, and thereafter till date has been included. Formula racing that is a motorsport involves open wheeled single seater vehicles, and has several categories. Different forms of motorsports, ever changing rules and regulations, and development of motorsports in different countries find a special mention. The stakeholders' perception of motorsports is based on the safety concern for drivers, excitement for spectators, and financial success. The role of down force that enhances tire grip and vehicle speed is significant in motorsports. Motorsports are held not on public roads keeping in mind the safety of the driver. These sports help us develop skills for crisis management, driving, and risk management.
Motorsports or motorsport refers to a series of competitive events that require the use of motorized vehicles for racing or non-racing competitions. Another similar sounding word MotoSport refers specifically to motorcycle racing, and encompasses off-road racing, too, like motocross. Motorsports that involve racing among competitors include Motorcycle racing, Auto racing, motor rallying, Air racing, Kart racing, Boat racing, Hovercraft racing, Snowmobile racing, Lawn mower racing, and Truck racing. Non-racing motorsports include drifting, motorcycle trials, regular rally, gymkhanas, freestyle motocross, and tractor pulling. Auto racing, also referred as automobile racing or car racing or motor racing, is a sport that involves the racing of several automobiles to compete against the rest of competitors. There are a number of varying categories of car racing such as Formula racing, Sports car racing, Touring car racing, one make racing, and Production car racing to name just a few (“Motorsport”).
A Synopsis on History of Motor Sports
Talking about the history of motoring events that started immediately after the production of the gasoline-fueled automobiles successfully for the first time, we are reminded of the first organized contest held on 28th April 1887. That was organized by the chief editor of Le Velocipede, Monsieur Fossier, a publication based in Paris. The race was for only 2 kilometers covering the distance between Neuilly Bridge and the Bois de Boulogne, and won by Georges Bouton of De Dion-Bouton Company, in a car he built with Albert, the Comte de Dion. However, he being the only competitor it can hardly be called a race. Another race of this kind was organized in 1891, when a gasoline-fueled Quadricycle Type 3 raced against a cyclist for a distance Paris-Brest-Paris, but the cyclist was far ahead of the Quadricycle, which never completed the race.
It was on 23rd July 1894 that the first motoring competition from Paris to Rouen organized by Le Petit Journal, the Parisian magazine, was held, and it is recognized to be the first of its kind. The competition was advertized as “Competition for Horseless Carriages”, and the event overlapped a general event, a reliability trial, and race. One hundred two competitors participated each paying the entrance fee of 10 francs. Out of the 69 cars that participated, only 25 were selected to compete in the main event, the race between Paris and Rouen. Peugeot and Panhard were declared winners based on their handling, safety, and speed although Count Jules-Albert de Dion, which required stocker reached the target, Rouen, first in a little over 6 hours (Pakkam,2011).
However, Paris-Bordeaux-Paris race organized in June 1895 has many times been branded as the “first motor race” in spite of the 1894 race being based on finishing order and speed. The winner of this race used a model of Panhard-Levassor 1205 cc. The Thanksgiving Day Chicago Times-Herald race held on 28th November 1895 is usually said to be the first American automobile race which covered a distance of 87.48 km, and was won by Frank Duryea in a little over 10 hours defeating other five competitors.
The first international level competition among nations instead of among individuals started with the Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing. France led other countries in the production of autos, and dominated motorsports through the ACF, the French automobile club which organized several important international races, generally originating from Paris and culminating in some other cities of France or neighboring European countries. Due to the loss of nine lives in European rally races, the government banned open-road racing in 1903. A race covering 0317 miles from Peking to Paris was held in 1907 which had some roughest terrains to negotiate, and among the five cars that took part, it was won by Prince Scipione Borghese who drove a 7433 cc 35/45 hp model called Itala. The 1908 New York to Paris race having Paris as its finish line has been the history’s longest car race in which six teams from different nations including United States, France, Germany, and Italy were in the fray. The historic 22000-mile race was won in 169 days by the American Thomas Flyer, which was driven by George Schuster (“Motorsport”).
Tracks & Venues
Nice, France, became the first regular auto racing venue in March 1897, and it was there that most racing events were formulated. The second oldest track for motor racing in the world, the Milwaukee Mile, hosted first racing in 1903. Knoxville Iowa had the oldest racing venue which had been one of the prestigious venues in the U.S. The venue was initially prepared for horse racing track, but was developed for motorsports, and it was in 1901 that the first motor sport was organized. The first purposely built venue for motor racing was built at Brooksland in Surrey, England, and it had a concrete track of 4.43 km with banked corner for high speed. The circuit was closed in 1939 for aviation related productions.
The motorsports slowly but surely spread its tentacles to several other parts of the British Empire. Motor Union of Western India organized the first competition in India in 1905 for a distance of 810 miles between Delhi and Mumbai, and was called Delhi-Bombay Trials 1905. It was meant to test automobiles in Indian conditions. An automobile racing circuit namely Indianapolis Motor Speedway situated in Speedway, Indiana, built in 1909, is one of the oldest of its kinds, and still in operation. It has the world’s largest seating capacity with over 257000 seats for spectators (“Motorsport”).
Development of Technology & Associations-The Period 1910-1950
Alfa-Romeo, Bugatti, Auto Union, Delahaye, Delage, and Mercedes Benz manufactured streamlined vehicles having engines that produced up to 450 kW accompanied with charging at multiple stages during the 1930s. It was a period during which high-priced road cars were transformed into pure racers. Aluminum alloys were extensively used to keep the weight of the racing cars within the permissible limit of 750 kg during the period 1928 to 1930, and 1934 to 1936. Even the paint of the Mercedes was removed to maintain its weight (Muir,1986: “Motorsport”).
The preparation of aluminum car body and the entire structure is an elongated and elaborate process. It involves a lot of experiences, expertise, and sweat to prepare a whole aluminum car. Right from making a hood, ensuring aluminum sheet's position in the far jaws, headlight area, the panel welding, the main body, and the rear to mention just a few have to be taken care of keeping in mind the durability, safety, and weight of the finished car. The NASCAR was founded on 21st February 1948 and the Daytona Beach, Florida, was the venue of the first NASCAR race called “Strictly Stock” organized on 19th June 1949. The division of Strictly Stock was abandoned due to the inability of the American automobile manufacturers to keep pace with the rising demand for family sedan during the post-World War II (Roosevelt, n .d.)
Technology & Socio-economic Aspects-Post-1950 till Today
Motorsports, particularly the sports car racing, took center stage after the Second World War. It had many distinctive features from racing, and included several classic races; its World Championship FIA sanctioned. The Stock Division of NASCAR was rechristened as the “Grand National” division at the start of the 1950 season. For over a decade, alterations and improvements for safety and performance both were permitted, and consequently, vehicles by mid-1960s were car races purposely built having a stock-appearing body.
After the year 1962, sports car took the backstage, and GT cars came to the forefront while FIA replaced World Championship for Sports Cars by the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. During 1960s, superspeedways came into existence, and paving of the traditional dirt tracks was done. As a result, the dirt races were now a few and far between.
A series of powerful hybrids came into existence during 1950s and 1960s racing on each side of the Atlantic, and featured large American engines and European chassis. These engines and chassis came from the early Allard cars through such hybrids as Lotus 19s having big engines through to the AC Cobra. A blend of American V8 engines and largely British chassis led to the production of Can-Am series during 1960s and 1970s. This group of vehicles that were based in America and Canada comprised lightweight prototype sporting sports cars having large sized, strong and powerful engines capable of generating speed in excess of 200 mph ( Pakkam,2011)
The last race on the dirt track by NASCAR took place on 30th September 1970 in State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh, North Carolina. From 1972 to 2003, the premier series of NASCAR was referred as Winston Cup Series, which R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company manufacturing Winston brand cigarette sponsored. The involvement of this company, and a reduction in the number of races per year from 48 to 31 marked the beginning of the modern era of NASCAR. The FIA accepted the ACO GTP laws as it is, and permitted the Group C World Endurance Championship, or World Sportscar Championship characterized by high-tech closed-cockpit prototypes. The FIA strived to transform Group C into "two seater Grand Prix" in the early part of 1990s having engine rules common to F1, races of short distances, and a schedule conveniently fitting into F1 rounds. The first World Touring Car Championship opened to Group-A Touring Cars was organized in 1987 in commensurate with European Touring Car Championship (ETCC). Another momentous decision was to separate rally cars into three groups; Group-A being modified production cars, Group-B modified sports cars, and Group-N production cars (“Motorsport”; Pakkam,2011).
Formula racing refers to motorsports involving several open-wheeled single seater vehicles, and the term originates from the nomenclature adopted by the FIA for all post-World War II regulations or formulas of single seater. These formulas are widely known as Formula 1, Formula 2, and Formula 3, and these encompass single seater series and GP 2 Series that replaced Formula 3000. After the World War II, the Grand Prix's revival led to the coining of the term Formula 1 in 1946, and the first Formula 1 World Championship was held in 1950 which is known as the first ever event of formula racing. Tier 2 GP2 series was introduced in 2005, and GP2 teams had to use a similar chassis, engine, and tire supplier to effectively test the ability of the driver. In 2012 came the amalgamation of GP2 and GP 2 Asia Series to form one longer GP2 series containing four Asian Grand Prix next only to European races. Other terms and series are Tier 3 comprising GP 3, Auto GP, and Formula E, Tier 4 including Formula 3, Tier 5 encompassing Formula Renault 2.0, and Formula Acceleration 1 are there. Formula Acceleration 1 or FA 1 is a racing series that started in April 2014, and is the latest of its kind featuring ten teams of separate nations. The driver may not be of the same nationality, but flag should be represented by the car (“Formula Racing”).
The regulations in motor racing are important for stakeholders for various reasons that include excitement for audiences, safety for drivers, financial success for the teams racing, and an environment conducive to sponsors’ products and services. The acceptability or otherwise of current levels of risks in motor racing is largely dependent on stakeholders’ risk perception in the motorsports. As per studies conducted regarding fatal accident rates (FARs), the type and number of vehicles involved in accidents, and post-race vehicle damage; though stakeholders differed significantly on other issues, but they concurred on fatal accident rates. They all perceived greater risks in open-wheel racing than closed-wheel racing, and relative risks involved in standing race starts to be considerably higher than rolling race starts. While stakeholders were swayed by the dominant perception, spectators had an indifferent attitude towards their preferences for the kinds of motor race starts. Ball (1998) compared FARs for sports and other leisurely activities with the usual threat to life in travelling by road, rail, and air; working from home and in the office, and natural happenings. He arrived at the conclusion that climbing and motor sport, the riskiest of sports, were on the same level with such high risk occupation as timber logging and deep sea fishing. He opined that in the majority of occupational activities, it were third parties that decided the acceptable levels of risk, but in sports it is the individual participants that call the shots (Fuller & Myerscough, 2001).
Downforce or downward thrust generated by the aerodynamic characteristics of a car enhances tire grip and speed of the vehicle. The four integral elements of open-wheeled car races include weight, power, tires, and downforce that optimize car performance. Ever since the ground effect era of the late seventies open wheel car races like Formula 1 and the like have been dominated and dictated by the preferred layouts of aerodynamics, and are designed to perform best along with wings and other factors of aerodynamic package. The aerodynamicists and other experts explored immense aerodynamic downforce benefits arising out of ground effect, as a result, of the vehicle underbody's inverted airfoil shape, and found a smaller and less powerful engine aerodynamically beneficial, and thus, superior in track performances and vehicle's dynamic considerations.
The downforce levels are influenced by the various components of aerodynamic package, and flow fields varyingly. Only the rear and front airfoils and wings are amenable to methods of theoretical aerodynamic analysis and design techniques. Other elements and body shape designs still depend on numerical and experimental data at the stage of designing. However, as displayed prominently by Agathangelou and Gascoyne, the flow of the front wing gets complicated by ground effect and the presence of front wheels in proximity. The wake interaction of front wings with other components existing close by denotes that the design of the front airfoil and wing cannot be created by the use of existing theoretical methods of designing airfoil and wing (Pakkam,2011).
It is a usual misconception among the public in general that motorsports are an irresponsible hooligan. However, it is not so; it is a harbinger of technological developments, and plays an important part in the society by causing people to know about road safety, risk management, and driving and other skills.
Motorsports is a fun behind the wheels, and the roads on which one thrills is not a public road as a safety of the driver as well as others has to be ensured. Hence, besides the development of driving skills, it educates and imparts experiences on risk management. It promotes teamwork, and inculcates respect for fellow competitors and rivals. Motorsports is a great medium of education on risk management. This sport augments and spurs technological developments in the field of the automobile industry as there is constantly changing requirements that need innovations. Motorsports offers a series of career opportunities in marketing, engineering, administration, and sports engineering to name just a few (“Motor Sport in the Community”).
Motorsports are a group of competitive events that need motorized vehicles. Both racing and non-racing competitions are organized. These include Auto racing, Air racing, Kart racing, Boat racing, Motorcycle racing, and many more. The first motoring event was held on 28th April 1887 involving a gasoline-fueled automobile which covered a distance of two kilometers, but there being no competitor it can hardly be referred as a race. The first competition on the international level involving nations instead of individuals took place with the Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing.
France, the leading automobile manufacturer, dominated motorsports. The French automobile club named ACF held several important international races that originated in Paris and culminated in another city of France or a city of a European country. Motorsports witnessed drastic changes in terms of vehicle, power and design of the engine, rules and regulations, and tracks and venues through decades. The developmental history of motorsports passed through different stages that have been categorized as the initial stage, period up to 1950, and after 1950 to present days. The foundation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, NASCAR, in 1948 was an important juncture in the development of motorsports. Several races were organized under its aegis. Motorsport develops courage, spurs to take risks, and teaches crisis management.
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