Table of contents:
- "Oh, yes, it is racing, no one will read or look anyway." Such remarks are regularly heard in our editorial office when the question arises whether to talk about some interesting car intended only for competitions. Indeed, motorsport interests you less than budget crossovers, ads for the sale of Soviet time capsules and about Toyota of all stripes. But right now everything can be changed
"Oh, yes, it is racing, no one will read or look anyway." Such remarks are regularly heard in our editorial office when the question arises whether to talk about some interesting car intended only for competitions. Indeed, motorsport interests you less than budget crossovers, ads for the sale of Soviet time capsules and about Toyota of all stripes. But right now everything can be changed
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Taking advantage of the quarantine, we decided to explain why motorsport is so cool and interesting. Racers, their teams and spectators are now sitting at home in the same way as the rest of us, and even under the most optimistic scenario, we will not see any activity before July - and then with empty stands. At least, this is exactly what the official plans of Formula 1 look like, which can also change for the worse a hundred times. But when the air over the tracks shudders again with the roar of the motors, you will know why it is worth looking at.
Reason one: it may be the most diverse sport on the planet
Just think! Nowhere else can you find so many fundamentally different disciplines. Football - and football in Africa. You always play chess on an 8x8 board and move your knight only along an L-shaped trajectory. Of course, there are also some offshoots, and in the case of skiers, for example, you can remember running, flying, and shooting … But this cannot be compared with the automotive eclecticism.
The race here can last a few seconds, or it can stretch for several days and many thousands of kilometers. On asphalt, sand, ice, snow, gravel - and even sheer cliffs. On fragile and ultra-fast "formulas" with open wheels, on sports prototypes, SUVs, trucks, buggies - and also on cars very similar to those that you can go and buy from a dealer. But even they will be radically different from each other, because in fact, only design is in common between a rally and a ring car.
Even the seemingly obvious principle “come to the finish line first” is not a dogma. Drifters, like skaters, compete in technique and beauty of performance, and on jeep trophy raids you need to take pictures, touching the car with one hand and touching some tree in the impassable thicket with the other. There is also a rally of the third category, where the winner is the one who passes the route closest to the given time (was too fast - lost!), Not to mention the demolition derby, the festivals of destruction, where the only task … right is to survive. The car, of course.
In general, racing is roughly as if football, basketball, golf, bowling, billiards, tennis and a few dozen other sports have been unified under the general banner of “games with round objects”. Everything is so diverse here.
Reason two: it's legendary
There may be fewer films about auto racing than about basketball or hockey, but this is a very popular form of sports drama. This is because it is very easy to focus on the main characters - the man and his machine. Half done! We prescribe a symmetrical pair of antagonists, arrange a classic confrontation, add romantic and detective lines to taste - the blockbuster is ready. And the beauty is that you don't even need to invent anything here: all this has already happened in real life. And more than once.
You may remember the Hollywood "Rush": the film thundered powerfully in theaters, collecting both the box office and positive criticism. So, the story of the struggle between Niki Lauda and James Hunt is told there almost without distortion - not a documentary, but the amount of interventions is exactly what was required for adaptation.
An exception? Oh no.Last year's "Ford v Ferrari" also faithfully reproduces real events, and the success of this film gives hope that the genre of racing biopic will continue to gain momentum. Senna and Prost, Vettel and Webber, Schumacher and Hakkinen, Mansell and Piquet - Formula 1 alone has enough ready-made plots for film adaptations.
And this is just the beginning! You just need to shoot a drama (without a happy ending) about how Toyot chased the victory in Le Mans for many years and missed it on the last loop. The story of the tiny Mini, which defeated the big guys in the Monte Carlo Rally, is asking for the screens. And then there is the template for a political thriller! How in 1935 the Italian Tazio Nuvolari on the weak and outdated AlfRomeo snatched victory from the mighty factory teams Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. In Germany. In front of 300 thousand German fans and personally Adolf Hitler. Wouldn't you watch that?
Reason three: real athletes sit in cars
From the outside, the work of the racer is almost imperceptible, because we still see only how the cars are rushing along the track. It would seem, what is difficult: press the pedals, turn the steering wheel, do it better and more precisely than others - and take the reward. But in the higher echelons of motorsport, training is needed, comparable only to that which cosmonauts and military pilots receive.
Here are just a couple of interesting numbers. In one race, a Formula 1 pilot loses up to four kilograms of mass, and during braking and cornering, the g-forces acting on him often exceed 5g. And even though the rider's body is tightly fastened to the car, the head, instead of the usual weight of about five kilograms, turns out to be heavier than an eggplant with water for a cooler. And this "eggplant" dangles in all directions every second, somehow still managing to figure out where to go. Can you imagine what strength is needed for this in the muscles of the neck? The quarantined racers are already complaining: the load that real cars give cannot be compensated for by any training, and there is a risk that not everyone will be able to withstand the delayed start of the season.
But even without this, the requirements for "physical training" are very serious: professional pilots train for several hours a day according to specially developed programs, are in constant contact with physiotherapists, nutritionists and even sports psychologists. Otherwise you will not survive, and each discipline has its own reasons.
Temperatures in cockpits of closed-body cars - for example, DTMs - often exceed 50 degrees. Shock loads in rally-raids simply destroy the body, even leading to compression fractures of the spine: in the history of the KamAZ-Master team, which year after year smashes the Dakar, there are many victories obtained at such a price. Mikhail Alyoshin, the first Russian in the American Indycar series, has a lot to say about what hands become after a two-hour race on a bumpy track in a car without power steering. Well, at the same time read our interview with Roman Rusinov about how to drive a 24-hour race and not go crazy.
The fourth reason: there is someone to root for
Since we have touched on the topic of our teams and pilots, let's remember the same Rusinov and Sergei Zlobin in the first half of the 2000s: a sensation, the Russians behind the wheel of Formula 1! Let these be just unofficial tests, even for outsider teams, but the fact itself! And in Formula 3000, for example, Viktor Maslov skated - without success, but his own, also in the colors of Lukoil … Now all this, of course, looks just naive. But precisely because over the past 10 years, Russian motorsport has made a name for itself on the world stage.
Now one can be proud not only of the formidable desert "KamAZ": ours race almost everywhere and do it successfully. Vitaly Petrov made his way to Formula-1 and got the first podium, two more were brought by Daniil Kvyat - and although his career is still not easy, we can safely say that the 26-year-old Ufa resident has everything ahead.
Sergei Sirotkin was very unlucky, who spent only a year as part of the once great, but rolled to the bottom Williams - there is almost no hope of returning, but Seryozha himself is objectively well done.Finally, there is Robert Schwartzman - the Formula 3 champion, the participant of the Ferrari junior program and perhaps the most promising young pilot on the planet right now. He is literally a step away from the most prestigious class in the world, where only 20 people perform.
And then you can simply list the regalia. Mikhail Alyoshin won Formula Renault 3.5 in the era when it was considered the last step before Formula 1. Roman Rusinov is a world champion in endurance racing. The Russian team SMP Racing took third place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall classification, behind only factory Toyota. Alexey Lukyanyuk is the European rally champion. Timur Timerzyanov is the winner of the World Rallycross Cup. A very young Nikolay Gryazin recently started to successfully compete in WRC2 - the junior division of the World Rally Championship. And Georgy Chivchyan, for the second year in a row, has nightmares of the best drifters on the planet, including the legendary Japanese who invented this sport itself.
Tell someone this 10 years ago - would have been laughed at. And now any Russian can choose a series to his liking, and there it will almost certainly be possible to cheer for ours.
Reason five: without racing, ordinary cars would be different
Recently, we talked about how the rearview mirror was invented - thanks for it is Ray Harrowne, who decided to lighten his car for the Indy 500 race by replacing the navigator with a small glass. And this is just one of many examples of how purely sporting inventions have become commonplace over time.
A motor with two camshafts today can be found even under the hood of an UAZ, but it first appeared in 1912 on a racing Peugeot, which won the French Grand Prix on the fly. Disc brakes proved effective and began to spread rapidly around the world after the equipped Jaguar C-Type won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952. The dual-clutch transmission under the hood of your Tiguan has its roots in the racing gearbox developed for the Porsche 962 Le Mans prototype nearly 40 years ago.
Or, for example, turbocharging. He was an engineering freak from the aviation world - a toy that made rare road cars more flighty than fast. And then there were a thousand-horsepower Porsches for the Can-Am series, a turbo era began in Formula 1 - and already in the eighties, "snails" began to massively settle under the hoods of production cars. The same with all-wheel drive: it was a working tool for drivers of SUVs and pickups, and after the triumphant march of the Audi Quattro on rally tracks, it became the most popular option for cars, sports cars, and then modern crossovers.
Why are we all about the little things! Without racing, there wouldn't be a whole layer of history called STI vs. Evolution. There would not have been a muscle car culture that grew out of drag racing and the early steps of NASCAR. There would be no Ferrari, and therefore no Lamborghini - what, one wonders, the history of sports cars without these two brands? What automotive history is there without this eternal desire to come up with something that will allow you to get ahead of your rivals? And what, at the same time, is motorsport without armies of loyal fans? It turns out that each of us has a little influence on the world in which we live.
Reason six: it's mesmerizingly dangerous
On every, absolutely every race ticket they write: motorsport can be dangerous. For more than a hundred years, mankind has done a great job to protect the pilots and spectators, but there will never be a 100% guarantee. Moreover, many riders are convinced that this is not required! They say that this way you can harm the very essence of what they devote their lives to, because the very adrenaline generator that attracts both athletes and the public works at constant risk.
Sadly, motorsport still takes lives every year, but it's scary to imagine what it would be like without the titanic progress in safety. And that brings us to another simple thought that we shouldn't be shy about: yes, we watch races also because of accidents. Many of them give goosebumps, the heart beats every other time, but they - let's speak frankly - fascinate.Like those that happened last season. And yes, all the heroes of this collection survived.
Reason seven: now everyone can do motorsport
It's not about karting and the future professional path - this is, firstly, not now, but after quarantine. And it is still very expensive. But virtual simulators have already reached a degree of credibility where they can no longer be called just computer toys. Of course, you can still launch Need For Speed and just ride - but why if you have Gran Turismo, RFactor, Dirt Rally, Assetto Corsa, RaceRoom, iRacing and others?
The physics of the behavior of cars there is already really close to real life, and a set-top box or a computer complete with a normal steering wheel will cost quite an adequate amount. And if you think about it, this is almost the only sport in which, sitting in front of the screen, you need to do the same actions as in life. Working with the pedals and steering wheel, of course, is not quite identical to the real one - but try to learn how to play football in FIFA! And there are already examples of the transition of simracers to real races, and they are not at all isolated and very successful.
Well, the most curious thing is the reverse process: professional pilots sitting on self-isolation flock to virtual tournaments, and it's really interesting to watch! The Indycar series keeps in constant tension, the full lineup of this season's riders is participating in the electric Formula E, NASCAR, WTCR and even the Russian Circuit Racing Series (RSKG) have their official tournaments.
And to understand that everything is really serious, watch the cut of the virtual Brazilian Grand Prix. From home, Charles Leclair in Ferrari and Alex Albon in Red Bull had such an epic battle that he could be recorded in the top 5 best duels in the entire history of Formula 1. And all that remains to be desired is that after the quarantine, motorsport does not change its essence. And what he is cool, you now know.