Between Nissan’s Leaf racer and a new EV-only racing cup, electric auto racing has been coming along in recent months, although significant challenges remain. For one thing, batteries are still extremely heavy, and for another, they take a long time to recharge. Finally, thermal management issues conspire with both of these battery challenges to force EV races to be quite short. And in search of a solution, one team that’s entered into the EV Cup is looking to the original EV racers for inspiration: slot cars. Rather than getting hot and heavy with big batteries, figures Drayson Racing Technologies, why not charge the car as it’s racing at speeds upwards of 200 MPH? Luckily HaloIPT has come aboard the project, bringing its eponymous wireless Inductive Power Transfer technology to bear in order to create life-sized, wireless, slot-free slot cars.
I was just a pre-licensed car nut when the July 1994 issue of Car and Driver passed along the news of Ayrton Senna’s death. Brock Yates’ column in that issue said, “In a sad way, Ayrton Senna’s death dignifies motor racing…He did not die in vain, but rather he made the ultimate sacrifice in seeking his own personally mandated pinnacle of achievement. Tragically, ironically, he may serve his chosen profession more in death than life.” This meant nothing to me at the time. But it means something now.
Handed out to undeserved recipients and devalued by lazy writers alike, few words are as hackneyed as iconic or legendary. If everything is an iconic legend, nothing is. Sometimes, though, the words are exactly appropriate. The Canadian American Challenge Cup racing series which ran from 1966 to 1974, more popularly known simply as Can-Am, included cars and drivers that are truly iconic and the series was genuinely the stuff of legend. Though the big block V8 engines of Can-Am last roared over 35 years ago, even today the name Can-Am resonates strongly with car enthusiasts.
Just last week the faithful gathered here at TTAC to debate the relevance of motorsport to the business of selling cars. But good Saint Chapman, it seems, had already noticed that Formula One cars rarely resemble anything available to the buying public. And lo, he instructed his one true church to sell a car that changes all that. Thus was born the Lotus T125, a 630 HP, 1,433-lb, F1-style trackday car complete with Cosworth V8, carbon fiber everything and sequential gearbox. And lo, the Ferrari 599xx felt a bit silly, and Chapman saw that it was good. Deliveries of the T125 will begin in April 2011, for a small offering of around one million American dollars. [Autocar]
New vehicle buyers who are influenced by motorsports typically love cars and trucks and they are opinion leaders for other car buyers – they give an average of 25 or more vehicle recommendations per year to others. More importantly people follow their advice – and we have measured it. So, there is a downstream impact from the races in the form of on-going word of mouth recommendations. That’s why we say that the roar from a race car continues away from the track.
Steve Bruyn, President of Foresight Research breaks down an intriguing finding from his firm’s “2010: Automotive Marketing Return On Investment” study [via PRNewswire]. What makes Foresight’s finding so strange is that from Formula One to NASCAR, OEMs have been grumbling about the irrelevance of major race series to their automotive products. Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence to suggest that automotive enthusiasm is on the decline in general, a reality which implies that racing is less important to automotive buying decisions than ever. So just how effective is the oldest form of automotive marketing?