Road Racing

road racing

Road racing is like masturbation. We all do it, but no one wants to admit it. Why? It's obvious enough. People take one look at your bulging wheel arches and think yeah, he does it. Well of course you do. Do you seriously expect anyone to believe you bought a car specifically engineered for high-speed performance so you could slavishly obey The Highway Code? That's like buying a pump-action shotgun to knock down cobwebs. It's logical, but implausible.

Talk all you like about your sports car's brand heritage and timeless design. The average man in the street doesn't see it that way. They clock your race-ready wheels and know you're just itching to humiliate some velocity-challenged Vauxhall. And they're not wrong, are they? Any Porsche driver who claims he bought his car to drive 70 miles per hour on the motorway, only using the outside lane to pass slower moving vehicles when it is safe to do so, is either in deep denial, lying or has severely injured his testicles.

C'mon, admit it. Your Subaru Impreza Turbo may corner better than Angelo Dundee at a Mohammed Ali fight, but you know it's not enough. It's a real buzz to scan the road surface for camber and cornering angle; chose the right gear, get the revs just so, and then balance throttle and grip to sashay around the corner with perfect, sublime control. But you need more. What you really want, what you really need for a proper hit of adrenalin, is to pass someone whilst doing it. It's not enough to win. Someone else must lose.

The desire to drive faster than someone else is simple human nature. It's part of our instinctive need to establish dominance and compete for scarce resources. Just because we're encased in two tons of metal hurtling through space that can kill, maim and inflate our insurance premiums doesn't mean those urges are going to go away. In other words, do we really expect people willing to tear each other apart to buy a hot Christmas toy to allow a yob in a clapped-out blandmobile to cut them up without some sort or retaliation? Put the cutee in a fast car, and by God, they'll use it.

OK, some wouldn't. Some people actually buy beige clothing out of choice, and their cars for their fuel economy. In terms of road safety, this is no bad thing. I honestly believe that the average Britons' generally quiescent nature accounts for the UK's position as the world's second safest country for motoring (after Sweden). I am constantly amazed at British drivers' civility whilst queuing at intersections. After you! No, after you! But I swear I've seen a blue rinse OAP in a Nissan Micra dice with a flat-capped elderly gentleman in a Rover 25 on the Slough bypass.

Road racing is illegal, immoral and dangerous, but it's something virtually all drivers do at some point in their lifetime– whether they're willing to admit it or not.

Not. Despite its universality, road racing is about as socially acceptable as upbraiding the Queen for serving dried-out cucumber sandwiches. Your neighbours may race each other to secure a parking space directly outside the school gates, but they still consider a TVR burbling by their window a greater threat to their children's safety than viral meningitis. To declare even a mild predilection for competing against fellow motorists on public roads is way, way out there. If speeders are baby killers, racers are baby eaters.

Armed with a hypocritical social mandate, the government and police are doing everything in their power to hunt speeders down and shoot them like dogs. They reckon if you're convinced that their efforts have saved even ONE life (preferably a small child's), you'll accept anything up to and including tagging your vehicle like a common criminal. Which is fair enough. Well, even if it isn't fair, there it is.

So why do so many enthusiasts equipped with/addicted to sports cars claim that they only drive fast on windswept Welsh twisties? Equally, why do so many speed freaks want us to believe that they regularly transform from track day devils to road going angels? I've even heard sports car owners say their mean machine's braking and handling makes it safer than the "average" car.

C'mon, it's not true, and no one's listening. Road racers who hide their behaviour behind protestations of social responsibility are not only fooling themselves, they're making all sports car owners look like liars— as well as baby eaters.

I say that it's time to stand up and be counted. It's time to declare the simple fact that you find driving fast fun. And if you're feeling especially daring, tell the opposition that your car is faster than theirs. Why not? If they hate you anyway, why conceal your true nature?

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 1 comment
  • Sherman Lin Sherman Lin on Apr 12, 2007

    What an opening sentence. Gotta love the writing on TTAC website, reminds me of the old Car and Driver magazine.

  • J. 2017 was the last year the Camry was offered with a manual transmission
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Sears and JC Whitney also had similar dune buggy kits. The VW accessories along with the running gear for legal use just bolted on. Hmm Amazon? A Bradley GT or Kelmark kit using an electric “skateboard” platform would also be cool.
  • Inside Looking Out Cadillac now associates with rap music. In the past it was all about rock'n'roll. Rap is environmentally friendlier than rock'n'roll.
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  • Bobbysirhan Sometimes it seems like GM has accepted that the customers they still have are never going to come to their senses and that there aren't any new dupes on the horizon, so they might as well milk their existing cows harder.