There seems to be an age old debate on who has the bigger set of balls. Rally drivers, road racers, or drag racers. I’m leaving drifting out of this one since style points don’t translate to lap times, if anyone has the equation for the conversion leave it in the comments and I’ll pull out my Ti-83 from highschool. A good driver is skilled in racing all four of drive styles. Take Tanner Foust, Ken Block, Sebastian Loeb (As DrJohannVegas pointed out), or any decent driver as an example. That being said, from personal experience there are variations between each type…
Rally Racing - This type of racing requires a special type of trust. If the driver or the co-driver makes an error, you end up hitting a tree or something just as solid. For the most part you’re not fighting with other cars and that means the only human interaction you have is between the two people inside the metal death trap with a cage. Rally racing requires the most talent, and that’s not an easy statement to make. Every stage is different, the conditions of the course change throughout the day, and when night stages are involved things get tricky. You’re fighting for grip without an understanding of how much grip is available to you. Racing through closed public roads without knowing which corners come up ahead by memory, but rather the co-driver giving you directions on how fast you can enter into the next corner. With most types of racing you’re provided a safety barrier or sand pit as a run-off in case you make an error, with rally, there’s a tree called Frank. Don’t hit Frank, he’ll fuck you up.
(Driven by Christian Faloppa)
Drag Racing - It may seem simple from the outside. You’re going in a straight line as fast as you can, how hard could it be? It can be pretty difficult. Nailing the launch isn’t an easy task when you have a couple thousand horsepower waiting to be unleashed. Keeping the car off the wall isn’t easy when you’re running balloon tires that can put the car into a tank slapper from hell. It may seem easy from the outside, but it’s a different perspective from inside the vehicle.
(Driven by Scott Frazho)
Road Racing - This particular form of racing includes the “Human factor”. Not sure how many people play chess, but the idea of it is to stay a few steps ahead. Passing is an art. Being able to overtake a car requires a certain level of mind-fucking. You’re playing the game of who’s balls is bigger, meaning who can brake the latest while making a move to overtake. You can expect a person to be where they “should” be, however the magic word is “should”. Don’t assume a person is going to drive the way they’re supposed to drive, they might make a complete asshat move. People can be hot-headed and I’d suggest playing a few games of chess or take a few classes in psychology to understand why people do what they do.
(A few DTM highlights)
In the end, we’re all car people and we just wanna do cool shit with cars. Respect each form of racing because it requires a different type of skill than what you may have experienced or read about. Understand everyone finds passion in different types of driving. Check out #GRIDLIFE if you’re into open track day, time attack, or endurance racing. It’s pretty cool to see some bat shit crazy cars racing around.
(Driven by Andy Smedegard)