Vehicular racing isn’t exactly a modern sport. In ancient times, Roman soldiers raced their chariots in the same fashion for honor and glory.
In modern days, the need for fast vehicles was heralded by a highly profitable and equally illegal venture: smuggling whiskey into the USA. To avoid getting caught by cops, the smugglers need to be much much faster than them.
So they needed fast cars. The sports for modern guys, coupled with glamor, super heroism and athletic power was born. It eventually fueled the sports and muscle building products and brands sub-industry with mushrooming legal and non-legal forms flying all over the internet and offline.
Fast forward some decades later, manufacturing caught up to the demand of speed. Car racing even produced a hugely successful movie franchise. Here are the main reasons why people love to watch or participate in car racing.
Sign of Masculinity and Domination
Akin to its ancient version, winning an auto race means you are “the man”. This is more prevalent in drag races where competitors tweak their own cars to make it perform better a la Fast and the Furious.
These races involve mechanicing and driving skills that are seen as very “masculine”. Even more so when you’re driving a muscle car. Sometimes, drag races require the loser to hand over his vehicle to the winner, which could be humiliating and disheartening to someone who worked so hard on his car.
Adrenaline and Excitement
With high speed involved, there’s always a corresponding high risk of fatal accidents happening. The life-and-death aspect coupled with speed really kicks up the adrenaline. Not only the drivers experience this; spectators get to experience races vicariously through watching. It’s also a high when your favorite driver wins.
Skill and Innovation
Two of the most famous car races are Nascar and Formula One. Nascar is American and uses what look like normal cars to go around an oval track several times. Of course, the fastest one wins.
Formula One is its European counterpart and uses what is generally referred to as a “race car” (the low ones with giant tires).
Three factors influence a victory: driver’s skill, team’s decision-making, and science and technology.
There are tire changes involved, so teams need to plan the timing of replacements accordingly. The type of tire to be used should suit the road as well. As for NASCAR, the car make could be faster when turning corners or going straight, so they need to compute for that as well.
The most prized probably is the driver’s skill. Going more than 200mph leaves one very little space for thinking, and an error can cost lives. So quick thinking and exact reflexes can win the race, which is why racers are revered and compensated so much.
Money + Glitz and Glamor
Besides the prize, other forms of money is involved in car races. Just like horse racing, some people do take bets, which are not entirely legal. Also, some races, particularly Formula One, take place in posh areas like Paris and Monaco and are attended by A-list celebrities. These races serve as another “it” place to be, which is quite aspirational to ordinary folk.