With the exception of NASCAR and F1, nobody watches racing anymore. There used to be a love affair with speed, driving, and by extension, the automobile. Racing used to be awesome. Now it sucks. I've figured out a way to fix that.
Okay, F1 is great. It's the pinnacle of motorsport. Yeah, Uncle Bernie has it locked down and the people in Korea have no idea what it is, but it's still the top tech, in the fastest cars, with the best drivers. Always going to have a crowd.
NASCAR is immensely popular in the US. Skittle-colored billboards driving around in a circle for four hours. WWE-like driver interactions. Crashing. We can do better than this, America.
So here's the deal. Most racing series have a golden point - TransAm in the 60s, WRC circa 2000, Speedvision World Challenge ~2000. Those were awesome, and totally watchable. What made them work:
- Good racing. There wasn't necessarily one dominant car / driver.
- Interesting drivers. Mark Donahue. Colin McRae. Pierre Kleinubing.
- Cars you could relate to. TransAm was win on Sunday / sell on Monday. WRC sold millions of WRXs and Evos to budding Tommi Makinens. Everyone wanted to know what parts Roger Foo had on his Civic.
Then, inevitably, each series takes a dump. TransAm goes to tube frame silhouette cars. Citroen outspends everyone. World Challenge cars separate from reality. The one (or all) of the above ingredients goes away. The desire towin - and to not lose - at all costs is natural. It happens. And it eventually brings it all down.
Ok. This is where we get crazy. There's a pretty easy answer to fix this, and keep a racing series fresh, exciting, and always changing.
Divorce the drivers from the cars.
That's it. Okay, most of you are likely already composing your nasty response, but hear me out. You have manufacturers provide and do the car prep. You limit it to current model year, and you limit prep to something like B-Spec rules to keep costs down - sealed engine and trans, stock panels, limited suspension work. You limit eligible cars to a certain hp/weight ratio, but leave it open otherwise. They can put their company and model logo on there as big as they want, for their investment they get to advertise their car.
Now for drivers. We need a cast of characters. We get pro drivers: your Randy Pobsts, ex-NASCAR drivers. Maybe racing celebrities, Patrick Dempsey and that kid that played Malcom in the Middle. Maybe throw in someone who wins a video game tryout like GT Academy or iRacing. We need some background stories to get people sucked in.
Then, each race weekend, drivers draw for what car they drive. A quick practice to get acclimated with the car, qualify, and race. Then after each race, a weight penalty gets assigned and split between both the fastest cars and fastest drivers. That will slowly evolve and equalize the field.
So one week we can have Richard Petty in a Camaro SS, where the next he could be in a CLA45 AMG. Oh, Robert Kubica drew the Focus ST this week, let's see if he can put a hero drive in at Laguna Seca. How about the iRacing wiz from rural Iowa that would never have the means to get in a real race car taking the pole in qualifying in the Hyundai Genesis Coupe? What a drive! Let's see a show of hands as to who would watch that?