Early Racing

Early racing included Paris to Rouen, a mere 80Km. It had a top speed of 10 mph. 69 cars were in the preliminary competition after which only 25 won a place in the competition itself. Paris to Bordeaux could be better described as a race but even that one only went to 24 mph.

Early races were sponsored by newspapers, for example the Paris-Rouen race was run by Le Petit Journal. By 1900 cars were doing about 80kph. Because of the damage to the racers, spectators and even livestock which found itself on the road, races weren’t exactly annual events.

Indie 500

The Indy500 began in 1911 with the name “the 500 Mile International Sweepstake” and is still run today. Taking place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the oval circuit shape has been nicknamed The Brickyard due to its paved appearance. The race itself consists of 200 laps of the circuit. At one point it earned the name “The greatest spectacle in racing”.

Hotrod Racing

These early races shouldn’t be described as “hot rod” races. A hot rod is a later invention and is technically a modified older car. In essence racing a Model T in the 1920s was a contemporary car. A few decades later modified Model T’s would race under the banner “hot rod.”

Hotrod races began in California in the 1930’s but they lost popularity in the 1980s. As might be expected the older cars weren’t designed for speed, hence the need for modification. This included Ford Model Ts and similar vehicles.

As well as modifying to run faster it was important to reduce some of the bulk of the vehicle. These vehicles might be comparable with the boneshakers of the bicycle world, just not racers in the conventional sense. It’s not clear why “hot rod” is called this, but many believe it refers to the connection between illegal booze and racing. Rum runners used to modify vehicles to smuggle hooch around country roads. Many racing traditions sprung up from the practice of fleeing revenuers. If this is where “hotrod” came from, it could refer to burning alcohol instead of gas or the act of fleeing the law in a supped up rig.

The Mille Miglia meanwhile started in 1927 and ended in 1957. Generally, it started and finished in Rome going through the mountains and small villages.

Early and Dangerous

These early races have been associated with disasters. In 1938 several spectators were killed. In 1957 two drivers were killed and even more unexpectedly, eleven spectators were killed as well. It’s likely that engine speed was easier to increase than handling, which was seen as the drivers job.

There’s also the Milwaukee Mile, which used an old horse racing track. Then there’s the Knoxville Raceway in Iowa which had “illegal races” between 1901 and 1914 (aka the dodgy part of car racing the history).

The term “Grand Prix” goes all the way back to 1894. It began with a road rage challenge and moved into endurance racing. Formula racing (Formula One etc) began in 1947 with the first world championship in 1951. From there it became the professional activity we know today.

Some of these endurance races were about speed, such as Indy500. Others such as Targo Florio which was set on the mountainous roads of Sicily were about overall performance. The sport of racing was finding its feet. Today, racing is a great deal safer but it could be said to have lost some of its romanticism.

Cars made out of Carbon Fiber

Most cars on the road are mainly steel and other metals, but when it comes to racing, it’s a different matter. A car is almost unbelievably heavy; a sedan weighs about 3,000 pounds. In animal terms this falls short of an elephant (where you’re talking 10,000 pounds or more) but it roughly equivalent to an average sized giraffe—which are not known for their maneuverability.

Where you find Carbon Fiber in a car:

In racing, it’s all about reducing the weight of a car. Materials such as carbon fiber can increase performance while also reducing weight—which by itself increases performance. Most people think of the body of a racer when you say carbon fiber, but the truth is you use it more in the suspension of the vehicle.

For example, in something like an Aston Martin Valkyrie the carbon fiber body might shave off a couple of pounds, but still weighs 2,200 pounds (which is the equivalent of a heavy bison). The engine powerplant is the big selling point here—854 watts. Okay, 854 watts is roughly the power of a commercial coffee grinder, so let’s talk horsepower. How does 1,145 hp sound? Better right?

Another reason for using carbon fiber is that a car remains strong and robust despite the decrease of weight. The engineers speak of high “strength-to-weight ratios.”

Many twin turbos are made of carbon fiber as this is currently the best way to get maximum thrust from them. (A twin turbo is just a car with more than one turbocharger in its engine.) Examples of cars with twin turbos include the Koengigsegg Agera and the perhaps more well-known McLaren Senna. But without the carbon fiber these cars wouldn’t able to handle high speeds.

Body/Shell

Okay we can’t ignore the body, or shell, for ever. The composite materials used to make cars may be described as a polymer. As well as being more suitable for racing, these cars are more fuel efficient. But if shedding weight alone won races, you’d see a lot of dune buggies on the track and you don’t.

Another place carbon fiber helps is aerodynamic coefficient or Cx. Also known as a drag coefficient it’s about with how an object react the air around it. Put simply, engineers want cars that do not have too much drag otherwise it will be resistant to moving a high speed. When your drag goes up with the speed, you’re fighting a losing battle.

A final biproduct of carbon fiber composite is that there’s no chance that they will rust or corrode. Of course, a race car driver probably destroys his body shell long before it would get a chance to rust.

The total change of the dynamic of the car is one reason that race drivers need special training, after all it doesn’t move like a metal car and the levels of acceleration in these vehicles take most people by surprise.

The Dreaded Female Driver?

Yep, we’re going there. The Kicker neither courts nor turns aside from controversy. So it’s time to look into lady drivers from an honest standpoint and let the chips fall where they may. The first question isn’t, “do women drivers have a reputation,” it’s do they deserve it.

The History of It:

Clearly there is no biological reason for there to be a difference in driving ability between male and female. It takes two legs at least one arm and basic hand eye coordination. Yet we heard such comments in the past as…

  • They can’t park.
  • They don’t look where they’re going.
  • They don’t use their turn signal.

All very constructive and not at all chauvinistic…right? This may not even be a problem in the future. But then again, we’re not living in the future.

Look in the distant past and they added comments like “where are they going to change?” “What happens if they fancy one of the mechanics?” Now days these are as likely said about a male driver.

But who really is the Better Driver?

The people most likely to know the answer to this question is insurance companies—they’re constantly running studies on this sort of thing. However, most states seem to have laws forbidding a different insurance rate for men then women.

Okay the truth is it depends on how you figure it. A male student might be just as dangerous behind the wheel as a female student. But men are more likely to pass their test on the first try. In fact, overall when it comes to driving tests, women have been known to fail more often. Sadly for men, this is the only category they dominate.

But men are more likely to be charged with motor offences, if you look at such things as speeding, drunk driving and avoiding proper taxes. And men are more likely to make an insurance claim and more likely to be at fault.

So, legally forcing an end this inequality and prejudice, what happens is that females pay more; such is the price of equality. (This is according to Confused.com’s research.)

Professional Women Drivers:

As noted above, there isn’t a big biological reason why women would need a different league then men in motor sports—and we do find women driving alongside men in professional racing. However, there are not very many of them, in fact Danica Patrick is the only woman with an IndyCar series win (2008 Indy Japan 300).

It begs the question, is the physical demand of professional racing too much for most women. For that answer to that question we go to one of the most physically demanding form of auto racing, Rally Car. What is it like to be a female rally driver? Kathy Legge gets is part of four girl racing team, and this is the question she gets asked the most. She says that she has no idea what it’s like to be a guy driver so it’s hard to compare. Her mantra is “we’re no different, we can do the job.”

But is women racers just a gimmick? Well it’s a new thing, so from that viewpoint, yes it is a gimmick. But there is no reason to expect it won’t become the norm.

Other Female Driving Professionals:

A business that needs female drivers in order to survive is a female only cab service, such as Sakha Cabs.

Many women feel more comfortable in cars driven by women, especially when traveling, and Sakha Cabs is catering to this niche. The firm runs from the Indira Gandhi airport in New Delhi to and from local hotels and tourist destinations. The goal is to market it exclusively to women passengers which not only makes them feel more comfortable, it helps them recruit women cab drivers, who will end up working late nights in a dangerous industry. The would-be drivers are trained in self-defense and speaking English, and of course, driving a cab. There is also a panic button in the cab.

The cars are popular and can average 40 rides in a day.

Filthiness of Motorsports

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Not all motorsports are the same; some of them are dirtier than others. People seem to like this though, getting off the beaten track and exploring.

Whatever type of racing you take part in, it’s almost a certainty that you will have a dirty engine. Now that emissions need to be regulated from a car, it is harder to make changes to a vehicle to improve the speed. Something like trying to break a land speed record could prove almost impossible under these rules.

gokart-1080492_1920One exception is go-kart racing. This is probably the cleanest form of motorsport, especially the new e-kart races. The e-karts actually go faster than regular go-karts (fast is a relative term) but without the sound of the engine it doesn’t quite seem the same.

General speedway is not at all dirty, except for the occasional crash leading to the odd spilling of blood. Stock car racing is similar in that you keep to a track but with more alterations of the car, leading to greater tendency to get covered with dirt.

Which leads to dirt tracks. These tracks are typically a type of clay though any soil may be used. After the race is over the track is watered and combed in order to keep the track usable. In the US, dirt tracks are oval with a banked edge. Elsewhere on the world grass is often used, meaning you may get grass marks on your clothes in addition to mud. Those dry-cleaning bills are really stacking up! 😉race-car-1031767_1920

Perhaps the most dirt is in desert racing. Sand and dirt from other racers hang in the air and an open roll cage cockpit makes it certain that all the dirt lands on you. Also, you’re more likely to repair your own car than general racing and so add grease and oil to the mix, or worse. The heat will affect the tires, so touching them is not a good idea if you can help it. And not all the grime is comping from the outside. (You’re going to sweat).

Some rally racing takes place off road, so here you will have to deal with dirt itself rather than the sand of desert racing. With the presence of rain, this will turn into mud making it even filthier.

off-road-2915957_1920Glistening white snow surrounding ice tracks misleads the casual observer into thinking this must be a relatively clean sport. The tendency to be run over by your own motorbike, however, dispels that idea!

For many racers filthiness and dirt goes with the territory. When it comes to treating your leathers, it is not a good idea to use low grade cleaner as it will crack the hide, making your clothes look oily and greasy. Look for specialist cleaners to do the job.

In racing parlance, “A clean race” is one without cheating, or many crashes. While the term doesn’t refer to one where your uniform gets ruined, it’s an interesting thing to ponder. Perhaps, on second thought, most of us watch races secretly hoping things get dirty.

 

F vs F: Endurance Racing

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When we think of motor racing we think of a few laps around a circuit and the odd pit stop and the slight possibility of a crash. It’s a given that there is a singular driver. Race goers have become so obsessed with Formula One type of driving that they are ignoring other forms of racing. Endurance racing for example. If you are a motorsport aficionado, you might like to seek out this more unusual type of racing.

In an endurance race it is all about how long a team of racers can keep going and how long the equipment (the engine, the wheels, etc.) can hold out. Most endurance racers can last six hours but it is not that unusual for races to last twelve hours or even twenty four. The teams are between two and four participants, who need to take adequate sleeping breaks in order to achieve the best results.

A Brief History of Endurance Racing

The very first endurance race occurred in Coppo Florio in Italy in 1900 with a prize of 500,000 lira (about the equivalent of $25,000 in today’s money) in addition to a cup. Originally it began and ended in Brescia, but 1908 it had changed its route totally, circulating through several places in Bologna such as Castelfranco and San Giovanni.brno-2870695_1920

Although it might be thought as one race it may be more accurate to say it is seven races, with the winner of all seven being awarded the prize. The competition was originally for sports cars, but open wheel cars were finally allowed to take part

(Note: Open wheel cars are cars where the wheels are outside the main body, such as are used in Formula One).

The “Triple Crown” represents one of the greatest accolades an endurance team can go after. If may sound more like a horse racing achievement but it goes to the team that wins the 24 hours of Daytona, 12 hours of Sebring and 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s worth noting that no one has won these races in the same year, it’s more like a lifetime achievement award. The first person to win this trio was the American Phill Hill.

The Circuit

The WeatherTech Sportscar Championship season begins with the 24 hours of Daytona event, continues with the other two Triple Crown events and then goes on to 6 hours of Watkins Glens and Petit Le Mans. To confuse matters, there is also a European and Asian Le Mans series.

The names associated with this kind of racing are not the same as Formula One. For Le Mans each team has a specific sponsor, USA is Dragonspeed and the UK is RLR Msport. There is only a certain number of teams which can enter an event for a country, it might be a bit confusing for the novice to understand.

inline-4039073_1920.jpgOf course endurance racing as a sport goes beyond cars, but even just considering things with wheels you have motorcycles, karts, motorboats, bicycle and even roller skating (the latter is takes place on public roads rather than a race course). If you’ve got the strength of mind to take part in an endurance race there is probably something out there for you.

F vs F: “Ford v Ferrari” The Movie

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Matt Damon and Christian Bale are costar in the new movie this month “Ford v Ferrari.” which is sure to be a fan favorite for car enthusiasts.

Ford_v._Ferrari_282019_film_poster29 Matt Damon plays automotive legend Carol Shelby who is tasked by Henry Ford II and Lee Iaccoca of Ford to settle a score with Enzo Ferrari for not selling his company to Ford in 1963. Enzo might have entertained selling off his brand and the line of custom street machines, but had no interest in selling their racing division. The reason is pretty obvious when you consider that Ferrari won every La Mons from 1960 to 1965.

Together with British Driver, Ken Miles (Bale), Shelby sets out to prove that Ford didn’t need to buy a winning race team to win races. The team of American engineers and designers produce the GT 40 which manages to take the win in La Mons 1966, and bragging rights the likes of which go unrivaled in auto racing.

420px-GT40_at_GoodwoodDirector James Mangold has put together a solid movie that’s fun to watch, not only for great acting but for great performance and racing scenes.

With a budget of $97 million the film makers could have designed the MK II for themselves. (Pictured Left)

 

F v F: Ford Builds it’s Last Car for the Blue Oval

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Last August we mentioned the 50th anniversary of a legendary event in car racing history. But now that they’ve made a movie about the incident it’s worth revisiting the memory, which is a very sweet one for most Americans.

“The Ford GT race car competed in its final 24 Hours of Le Mans as a factory backed team in June, only three years after it rolled back into France with a four-car squad built to kick Ferrari’s teeth in on the 50th anniversary of its legendary 1966 win. It won its class in that race, making the second-coming of the GT a legend for Blue Oval fans.”

 

Click above to watch the race coverage.

Races all have rules, some to keep drivers safe and others simply to keep it one type of race and keep everyone playing by the same rules. What you see below is a car designed to compete on a track where the rule book was thrown to the wind. This is as close to an airplane without a prop that a car can get.

Wings, you ask? You don’t see the wings? Well, they’re their in a sense. Well, listen to its designers from Multimatic, Larry Holt, describe how they produce downforce…”a new dual-element rear wing, a larger front splitter, louvered fenders, new dive planes, and a more prominent rear diffuser…”

Yep, wings, just upside down wings. This MKII is not only a “track only model” its not going to be entering any big races soon. The tires and breaks are especially upgraded to withstand the 2G’s of force it often pulls in corners.

The MK II is a swan song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s Le Mans win, but Ford will be pulling out of future races on this level. If you’ve been following the news lately you know Ford will focus on trucks.

If you’d like to own one of these limited edition (only 45 made) MK II’s it’ll cost you roughly $1.2 million.  If you do buy one, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE drop us a like and let us test drive it!

F vs F Week: Ferrari – From Race Track to the Freeway

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Editors Notes: Welcome to Ford vs Ferrari week. Since it’s the 50 year anniversary of the legendary event (when Ford Motor Company took on racing giant Ferrari in their figurative home court and won), and since a movie celebrating the event will release this month, The Kicker will be using this event for our weeks theme.  Please enjoy this installment.

 

Ferrari is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Northern Italy where the Ferrari Formula One racing team is also based. The company was originally called Auto Avio Construzioni or AAC which was created when Enzo Ferrari left the racing company Scuderia Ferrari (which is now known as the racing division of the company. At that point, naturally, it was the whole company).

Ferrari-01-GQ-2Nov17_bAlthough AAC began by creating aircraft parts for the Italian government – please note this was 1938 it soon had commissions to build its own racing cars for the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix.

The first car was the AAC Tipo 815 which had an engine loosely based on a Fiat model with four-speed transmission. Two cars entered the Brescia, the 020 and the 021 – these were the only two cars of this make ever produced. The 021 had problems with its valves and broke down. The 020 wasn’t that much of an improvement, breaking down after another half an hour.

Ferrari only really became a manufacturer of automobiles in 1947 when the first car to feature the badge of a horse rampant (on its hind legs), also known as the prancing horse. Another noticeable part of the badge is the Italian flag at the top of the design.

Ferrari popularised the idea of Berlinetta or two door sports saloons and later 1980s Supercars such as the GTO also use the same standard. Many other brands also now make Berlinettas or “little saloon cars” such as Opel, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

“Road cars” created at this time by Ferrari included Dino which had a mid-engine, the lower power making it more suitable for road use than its racing cousins. The idea was to create more affordable sports cars to take on brands such as Porsche.

enzo1The huge selling point of Ferrari cars, at least in the 1950s and the 1960s was customization so that any individual customer can specify what they require from the car. This philosophy was updated in 2011 as the Tailor Made Programme where customers can work with the Maranello designers to look at such items as trim, color and interior material and make it as unique as possible. It is ideas like this that helped Ferrari become a world player.

In the 1980s the handling and acceleration were improved, thanks mainly to the racing car section of the company. This could only be achieved through lighter bodywork, including a carbon fiber roof.

Although Evoluzione were originally built in 1986 as a racing car with it just couldn’t be matched with any racing project, the body styling just didn’t seem to fit. So in the end six cars of this type were ever made. It did however influence the later F40 make.

Since then, Ferrari have created grand tourers, concept cars such as the Modulo and the Mythos and even one-off cars. It seems to be a brand that insists on going its own way and creating special versions just for the customers.

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Best of the Web: F vs F week, actor speaks about the GT40 he drove

We drove a Superformance GT40 racing replica… and it was even better than the real thing

By Adam Hay-Nicholls

Ahead of the release of Le Mans ’66, the tale of Ford versus Ferrari, GQ takes Christian Bale’s place aboard a ‘continuation’ GT40

It was a David and Goliath story, although who’s David and who’s Goliath depends on your point of view. Ferrari was a small company, but it dominated the European racing scene and built the world’s most exotic artisanal sports cars. Ford was the biggest car company on the planet, but it made cheap, practical mass-produced family cars and hadn’t gone anywhere near motorsport. They decided to buy Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari was willing to sell the road car division, but when, at the contract signing, he spotted how the American corporation planned to take control over the racing business too, he closed his purple-inked pen, waved the legal papers away, made a short, spittle-flecked outburst directed at Henry Ford II (in unprintable Italian) and left for lunch with his consigliere, never to return.

From that moment, on 21 May 1963, the battle lines were drawn. “Hank The Deuce” went straight back to Dearborn and told his people to build a car that would “kick Ferrari’s ass”. It took a few goes, but in 1966, with more than £55 million spent on development (£1.1 billion in today’s money!), Ford’s GT40 scored 1-2-3 at the Le Mans 24 Hours and took the spoils again in ’67, ’68 and ’69. Ferrari, who was victorious in every race between 1960 and 1965, never won Le Mans outright again.

One hundred and five race and road-going examples of the GT40 were built in Slough, UK, and Wixom, Michigan, between 1964 and 1969 and today values run the gamut between £3m and £10m. But you can buy a “continuation” GT40 for less than the price of a Lamborghini Huracán.

Built in South Africa by specialist Hi-Tech Automotive, the California-born Superformance GT40 has a lot more going for it than a mere “replica”. Carroll Shelby, the man who led Ford to those mighty endurance victories, gave Superformance his thumbs-up to construct officially designated GT40/P numbered chassis. So, it’s not a genuine Ford, but it is a genuine GT40. It’s licensed by Shelby and Safir GT40 Spares as the only true GT40 continuation car and is eligible for Shelby American Automobile Club and GT40 registries.

Because it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between an original and this 2019 car, Hollywood film Le Mans ’66 uses Superformance GT40s for race scenes.

Eighty-five per cent of this car’s all-new parts are interchangeable with the original’s, including the pressed-steel monocoque. The GT40 is a notoriously tight fit, but Le Mans Coupes Ltd, Superformance’s Gatwick-based UK distributor, will customise it with a “Gurney bubble” (allowing a couple of extra inches’ headroom) if required, and set the seat and pedal box accordingly. The “40” in its nomenclature is a nod to the GT’s height – just 40 inches from the ground to the top of the windscreen. Be careful not to decapitate yourself when you shut the door, the line of which extends to almost the centre of the roof for aero efficiency.

The car GQ is taking out is based on the GT40 Mk1, with a 1966 number plate and, perhaps more importantly, a savage 5.7 litre Roush V8, which produces 450bhp and 465 lb ft of torque. At 1,150kg, which is pretty much identical to the original, it’ll hit 60mph in sub-four seconds.

One major difference is fuel injection, which is essential for passing modern homologation emissions standards, though to look at the block you’d never really know, unless you start counting wires. Despite the lack of carburettors, the sound is still maniacally epic. Behind the period seats, in which one lies almost horizontal, 347 cubic litres of Detroit guts and muscle pants, coughs and barks, impatient to be uncaged.

The iconic dash is an uncomplicated, rugged strip of round Smiths instruments and labelled toggle switches. Dead ahead is the rev counter. The speedometer is placed way to the passenger side of the cockpit where you’d expect the glovebox to be, angled sideways. The tight gearshift, linked to a Quaife RFQ transaxle, is mounted on the door sill as was the original. Likewise, first gear is dog leg. The throttle pedal is stiff and you have to press it more than an inch before the power feeds in, while the clutch is easy to balance.

There’s so much feel in the seat of your pants thanks to the H&R springs, which can be upgraded to adjustable Öhlins. It’s a very physical car to drive due to the lack of power steering. Potholes are liable to snap your wrists, but the Avon CR6ZZ tyres are so high-profile you’re in no danger of kerbing a wheel. This car’s rubber footprint is enormous: 215/60 R15s at the front and 295/50 R15s at the rear – race carcasses with civilian tread. Really, the GT40 is designed for smooth, French asphalt, but works well on both road and track and is easy to control in slippery conditions.

The car is sleepy under 2,000RPM, and then it cocks an eyebrow. At 3,000 it gets on its feet and starts to snarl. Between 4,000 and 6,000 it bares its teeth, digs its claws in and tears for the horizon. Injection actually enables a broader power range than carbs. The noise is like Dolby-processed adrenaline; an operatic, frantic, ear drum-warping yell. It’s difficult to know how fast you’re going because looking at the speed could be catastrophic. It might not be even 60mph, but the noise is so thrilling it feels like 200. This, on the Mulsanne Straight, must have felt like Apollo 11 on lift-off. Le Mans Coupes can sort a 560bhp 7-litre V8 if you want to go even faster. Check with your otolaryngologist first.

There are, of course, no driver aids. The only safety net is improved cross-drilled ventilated Wortec brakes, which stop better than the Sixties solid discs but still look period. The gears are designed to deal with higher power. Those are pretty much the only differences; it has a central handbrake and an immobiliser and the seats sit on the chassis rather than “helicopter straps”. The two fuel tanks are set to “auto-bleed”, rather than the driver having to manually switch from one to the other. There’s air conditioning where the spare tyre would have been, although later Ford GT40s had AC as an option. That’s it. Otherwise, this is the same as the Mk1.

V Max can be altered according to gearing. For road use, or a track like Goodwood (Superformance will build you a 100 per cent accurate “tool-room” car eligible for the Members’ Meeting and FIA historic racing), you’ll want a shorter fifth gear than you will at Le Mans, but feasibly this car can go over the double ton. This one tops out at 180mph.

Our car is priced at £162,000 fully built, while road-going MkII versions cost from £165,000. An FIA-eligible race car, with its Historic Technical Passport, is around £265,000. Superformance has sold 450 of these continuation cars worldwide, and 50 in the UK, since 2007.

It’s more powerful than the original, more reliable and more economical. Yet only a certified GT40 anorak could ever spot the difference. It was good enough for Carroll Shelby, not to mention Matt Damon and Christian Bale who play Shelby and British driver Ken Miles in the movie. And it’ll save you millions compared with an original GT40. Pull up next to a modern Ferrari in this and you will win – at a standstill, at least. Just listen to the noise! The car should win the Academy Award for Best Original Song all on its own.

Original story

Racing Merchandise

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When you think of merchandise associated with racing cars, whether track-side or online,you probably think of helmets and race suits (full of sleeved panels and pre-curved sleeves apparently, though why you’d want to pre-curve a sleeve is anyone’s guess). However, the big seller might just be the posters.

There’s certainly a long history. You can get copies of posters for Monaco races from 1932 online and maybe the originals if you are prepared to spend money. Some posters are even signed by the drivers involved (which certainly increases their value.) For this type of merchandise, it is best to buy track-side rather than rely on an anonymous EBay seller, though many people are used to shopping the web and don’t realize that it’s not a good idea in this situation.

helmet-1038400_1920.jpgWhen seeking out original items be wary of too much damage but given that they are only made of paper and likely to be folded up in any case some depreciation is probably inevitable. Many posters had limited runs so that may be where the value is.

One strategy in collecting is to look for the more obscure race teams and the more obscure drivers, though the big names are unlikely to lose value overnight. Most people prefer to buy from the owner’s website (for example, Ferrari) rather than on auction sites as there are a number of fakes around. It all depends on how well you trust people and how much you are willing to spend.

For the more souvenir like items, beanies, mugs, coasters and all that haven’t caught on in racing to the degree seen with Elvis, Star Wars or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. People do like to buy things associated with a race team or a big name (for instance Schumacher) but it’s no Grateful Dead.

These items are certainly suitable for a boy or girl who visits the track for the first time and wishes to obtain a souvenir. They are probably unlikely to hold their value though, unless it is a very rare team or racing car driver. You can’t think about profit every time you buy something though, it’s for entertainment purposes mainly.

It’s possible to get decent merchandise that’s not the “official” stuff but still collectable. Items related to specific racing drivers for example, created by independent craftsmen, such as T-shirts or portrait painters. This is a good way to follow a driver’s career (or remember them, if they are no longer driving) but not break the bank in the process. Whether they are worth anything in the long run might not even be important if you are a True Fan.

colorful-4486382_1920.jpgWhen it comes to toy racing cars the biggest name at the moment seems to be Hot Wheels, though Scalextric remains popular for an older age group, especially those would-be racers who want to race round their own mini-track. There were other slot-car racing sets in their day – so-called because the cars race along a special groove or slot in the track) but Scalextric seems to be the only one that remains to this day.