By on December 3, 2010

Pick the name that doesn’t belong: Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Paul Walker.

Figured it out yet? It’s obviously Paul Walker, who will be entering in a real race tomorrow when he steps into one of Team MER’s Playboy MX-5 Cup cars for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.

Paul is now officially a real racer; the other two are still pay-driving wannabes indulging in timed activities. Your humble author wanted to join Team MER for the weekend but couldn’t come up with the required scratch. Don’t look for Paul to be double-clutching like he should at this race, by the way; it’s all granny-shifting for a 25-hour race.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

46 Comments on “Ask Any Racer, Any REAL Racer…...”


  • avatar
    jimbowski

    Jack, do the condition of the cars after 25 hours resemble a LeMons race entries?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Nope. The California drivers play softball with each other and NASA enduros are run under a special rule set which places both drivers at automatic fault when there is contact between cars. As a result, enduros are very civilized affairs.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      Except when contact happens and the driver at fault leaves the event without finding and talking to the guy he hit or talking to the race director.  Happened to my team at Autobahn last year.  Put us down 2 laps as we had to hammer out the drivers rear fenders.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I so want to do this race but also can’t bring up the scratch.  Next year I’m doing an arrive & drive program for a full race season with NASA Midwest so we’ll see how that goes.  It’s time to complain to my dad why he didn’t buy stock in Apple and Microsoft back in the 80’s.

  • avatar
    geeber

    I guess he can’t use NOS (pronounced “NAAUSS” by those who have sat through far too many viewings of The Fast and The Furious) for this race.

    Perhaps Jordana Brewer will be waiting for him at the finish line.

  • avatar

    Curious, Mr. Baruth. It seems you are discounting “timed activities.” Could you clarify a bit? As both Block and Foust have spent a considerable amount of time involved in rally, are you suggesting rally drivers are not real racers? Seems a bit polarizing.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      That is exactly what I am suggesting.

      Rally, autocross, TSD, et al are motorsports, but they are not racing. Time Attack is not racing. NASA Time Trial is not racing. NASA HPDE is not racing. Lunch laps are not racing.
      You aren’t racing unless there’s somebody next to you who can affect your race or vice versa. That’s why NASA doesn’t hand out trophies to single-car classes, even though they may finish the race and/or complete the requisite number of laps.
      If everybody started a stage together and the first guy to the end won the stage, then it would be rally RACING.

      The missing element in motorsports that are not racing is simple: face-to-face competition. I don’t want to win a race by perfecting an apex or having a better navigator; I want to win a race by putting my foot on your throat.

    • 0 avatar
      tbp0701

      I can’t speak for the author, but I read it as heavily-weighted sarcasm.

      Edit – OK, so I misread it.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I am assuming you mean starting at the same starting line also, as apposed to some of the rally events that start you on the same track at the same time, but at a different start finish so you race around the same track at the same time but not together?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Correct.

    • 0 avatar

      Jesus, Baruth. Why you gotta be 10ft tall and bullet-proof?
      To debate this would be to argue pointless semantics, but I’m riled nonetheless. And you present no opportunities to even attempt a fiery, internet-quality rebuttal.

      Somewhere in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, a gearhead is scowling and shaking an angry fist at his monitor.

      Look, I’ve no love for Block or Foust. They mean nothing to me. I do, however, take offense at your whitewashing rally drivers as not being “real racers” for the simple fact they do not race face-to-face.

      I’ve seen rally drivers stay in it after losing a wheel and all braking function on gravel, mountain roads. I’ve also seen “real racers” carefully unload their meticulously prepared prima donnas, taking great care not to scuff their new Pilotis.

      The clock will never pressure a driver as much as another driver, but Mother Nature should not be dismissed as somehow coddling those who race the clock.
      And, all things being equal? I intend to take my rally car out to the track to play with the local tarmac wienies in 2011. Step on my throat. Go ahead. I dare you. :)

    • 0 avatar
      SpottyB

      I don’t think he ever said that rally guys are not great drivers. Just that it isn’t a race in his book unless it’s head-head. I guess in his mind the fear of bumping another car and the heart pumping adrenaline of other cars in proximity far exceeds the fear of sliding sideways into a tree, falling off a cliff or taking out rally fans 2 ft from the course while doing 100-120 on a narrow dirt stage.

    • 0 avatar
      dculberson

      I was actually prepared to call Baruth on it, say it was BS.  But really?  He makes a good argument.  Motorsports versus racing.  Yep.  Turning laps on an empty track just isn’t very scary.  It’s once you’re two wide in a turn and your back end gets loose that you really learn about “pucker.”

    • 0 avatar

      @SpottyB – Actually, Baruth said, “Paul is now officially a real racer; the other two are still pay-driving wannabes indulging in timed activities.”

      By this standard, Nobuhiro Tajima, Tommi Mäkinen, Michèle Mouton, and the Top Gear Stig are not real racers, while Jeff Gordon, Boris Said, and the two kids in Camrys doing a buck-twenty down Main Street are.

      I’m just playing Devil’s advocate, really. Never learn anything if you’re surrounded by people who always agree with you, right?

    • 0 avatar
      SpottyB

      dculberson

      @ dculberson – I beg to differ. Maybe you’ve never watched WRC? I say, hitting a pothole, ice or rock wrong while going 120 thru trees or next to a cliff can give the same “pucker”. Try watching some in car footage of say… Rally Monte Carlo. 

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @dculberson

      If you think that racing – sorry, motorsport – is defined by how scary it is, you’ve already misunderstood it completely. If you’re scared when you’re in the car, then, as they say, You’re Doing It Wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      By this standard, Nobuhiro Tajima, Tommi Mäkinen, Michèle Mouton, and the Top Gear Stig are not real racers, while Jeff Gordon, Boris Said, and the two kids in Camrys doing a buck-twenty down Main Street are.
       
      So, Mr. Of-Counsel-To-Old-Scratch, are you saying that Gordon and Said are not capable drivers? Said’s won road-racing championships, and when Gordon got to drive Montoya’s Williams BMW F1 car on the Indy road course, his times would have put him in mid pack on the grid – not shabby for his first time in an open wheel formula road course car.

    • 0 avatar

      @Schreiber – My aim was not to dismiss the contributions of Gordon and Said, nor was it to liken them to street racing rebropates. Merely to suggest that, under the definition in question, roundy-round NASCAR and touring car feeder series drivers were REAL racers, while near legendary drivers from hillclimb, rally, and (to comedic effect) popular automotive programming are not, merely because they do not compete in door-to-door battle..

      And, on that note, I think I’ll unsubscribe from this discussion, as my original intent was merely a light-hearted debate with Baruth, who seems rather resolute and disinterested. Also, it’s a bit disappointing there is more TTAC content contained in the comment notifications than there in the RSS feeds.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I apologize… I simply didn’t have time to stay up on the discussion. I’d like to claim I was off in Vegas nailing Jessica Janson on a bed of hundred-dollar bills but in actuality my kid has the croup.
       
      The two kids in Camrys doing 120 down the freeway are not only racers, they are auto racers in the original sense… taking whatever they can get their hands on and seeing who the best machine/man combination is, head to head.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I’d like to claim I was off in Vegas nailing Jessica Janson on a bed of hundred-dollar bills but in actuality my kid has the croup.

      Call me when your kid has the croupe on a bed of $100 bills.

      Signed,
      Guy writing on his BlackBerry, sitting outside his coughing son’s room

  • avatar
    SpottyB

    Just think about how fun an actual rally RACE would be with all those trailing cars eating the gravel and rocks from the lead car(s)… would make passing that much more exciting!

  • avatar

    Real talk: I like the Fast and Furious movies. Yes, they’re totally inaccurate with regards to reality, but who cares? It’s functional escapist fun, especially the second and fourth films. And the Raw Thrills arcade games based on the films are good fun, too, coming from the guys who made the Cruis’n arcade racer trilogy.

    Can’t wait for the new film, can’t wait for the new arcade game.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Aside from the fact that the street racing anathema that the FnF movies glamorize pisses all over actual motorsport, and makes people think that a couple of dipsh*ts in vinyl-clad, neon-colored street cars are racing.
      Thanks to those few hours of cinematic trash, millions of people think “angry lookin’ dudes sliding around wet streets, hos in tow” when they think “racing”, and the fight to keep the last shreds of ‘sport’ left in ‘motorsport’ gets even harder.
       
      Witness the final blow in F1 – movable wings enabling following drivers to in essence get a NAWWZ BOOST!! – but only if they’re within a second, and only if they’re in prescribed zones on the track (presumably to be painted with big red blinking arrows, F-ZERO style). Why? To increase the ‘spectacle’. And why the need for ‘spectacle’? Because people watch dogsh*t like ‘The Fast and the Furious’ and think that’s what they should be seeing when they channel-flip by a Grand Prix.
       
      And then, I guess, we’ve come full circle – first, arcade racing games try to compensate for lack of skilled players by artificially boosting the speed of following cars, and now, real racing series try to compensate for the lack of intelligent viewers by artificially boosting the speed of following cars.
       
      At least now arcade games are more accurate. But either way, I can say one thing for sure – if the wing rule stays in place next season F1, will be neither racing nor motorsport.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …this difference is simple and fundamental:  wheel-to-wheel racing brings a tactical game to the driving experience that just doesn’t exist in timed events…that’s not something rallies, hot laps, nor autocross offer, by design, and there’s no shame in acknowledging it…

  • avatar
    SpottyB

    I admit it. No problem. Timed stages/laps are not the same as a race for the very reason you mentioned. Other cars/vehicles are on the track with you. I just take some offense to Jack discounting the skills of timed event drivers by calling them wannabes. That’s all. Maybe Block and Foust couldn’t race for a damn? Maybe Walker couldn’t come within 30 seconds on a 3 mile dirt stage?

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Whatever we class as racing, be it pondering along around some big oval, or risking your life amongst Finnish timber on a dirt road, Foust and Block are ‘novelty’ racers at best. They do events and show-driving mostly. Calling them racers would be like calling gymnastics a sport…

    • 0 avatar
      cmdjing

      But gymnastics is a sport. Olympic level gymnast’s routines, particularly for men, are much more demanding and punishing than virtually any other competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Gymnastics is a judged competition. It’s tough as hell, and I couldn’t personally complete the first move in a fourth-grade gymnastics meet, but when you need other people to tell you who won…

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Olympic level gymnast’s routines, particularly for men, are much more demanding and punishing than virtually any other competition.

      Really? Let me see the gymnasts put on three layers of nomex and a helmet, heat the gym up to 120 degrees, and have them lie on their sides with their heads hanging off a ledge. Now hang a 100lb weight off their heads, and make them discuss engineering over the radio while holding their arms and feet to within a couple of millimeters of a specified series of movements every minute or so. If they miss a movement by a millimeter or two, or a tenth of a second, they either lose the competition immediately or are flung across the gymnasium on a catapult.

      Now have them do this for two and a half hours. And now tell me that gymnastics are ‘more demanding and punishing’.

    • 0 avatar

      Really? Let me see the gymnasts put on three layers of nomex and a helmet, heat the gym up to 120 degrees, and have them lie on their sides with their heads hanging off a ledge. Now hang a 100lb weight off their heads, and make them discuss engineering over the radio while holding their arms and feet to within a couple of millimeters of a specified series of movements every minute or so. If they miss a movement by a millimeter or two, or a tenth of a second, they either lose the competition immediately or are flung across the gymnasium on a catapult.

      Perisoft,
      Not bad work for a liberal.
      I keed, I keed.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @Ronnie Schreiber
       
      Oh, snap!
       
      One thing I didn’t mention, that made me consider analogies like that: A few years ago, I saw an ESPN list of the 100 most physical sports… Auto racing was listed in somewhere around 80th place, just ahead of badminton. I sh*t you not.
       
      Presumably this is because the ‘journalists’ compiling the list figured that they can go at 140 on the way to work, so doing it at Spa is no big yank.
       
      I forget where gymnastics was in that list, but I presume it had to have been pretty far down, too – if they were going based on personal experience, they’d have to consider it trivial, given how easy it is for them to go around all day with their heads up their asses.

  • avatar
    imag

    This is stupid controversy.
     
    First off, driving in circles on pavement does not imply more raciness than driving:
    – in a massive variety of surfaces and condition;
    – on roads that the driver has only driven once or twice;
    – with only the benefit of verbal instructions given by a fallible co-driver;
    – in a setting where mad hordes of live fans and god-knows-what lurk around every corner, many times on the track itself;
    – where the only barriers are cliff faces, trees, and country fences, and where employing the run off will often land you in a gully.
     
    Sorry, but pucker factor goes to the rally driver.
     
    Even if you don’t believe all that, you still seem to be missing the definition of a certain key word:
     
     
    Race: noun, verb, raced, rac·ing.

    –noun
    1. a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.

    2. races, a series of races, usually of horses or dogs, run at aset time over a regular course: They spent a day at theraces.

    3. any contest or competition, esp. to achieve superiority: thearms race; the presidential race.

    4. urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is shortor a solution is imperative: the race to find an effectivevaccine.

    5. onward movement; an onward or regular course.

    6. the course of time.

    7. the course of life or a part of life.

    8. Geology .
    a. a strong or rapid current of water, as in the sea or ariver.

    b. the channel or bed of such a current or of any stream.

    9. an artificial channel leading water to or from a place whereits energy is utilized.

    10. the current of water in such a channel.

    11. Also called raceway. Machinery . a channel, groove, or thelike, for sliding or rolling a part or parts, as the balls of a ballbearing.

    12. textiles .
    a. the float between adjacent rows of pile.

    b. race plate.

    –verb (used without object)
    13. to engage in a contest of speed; run a race.

    14. to run horses or dogs in races; engage in or practice horseracing or dog racing.

    15. to run, move, or go swiftly.

    16. (of an engine, wheel, etc.) to run with undue or uncontrolledspeed when the load is diminished without correspondingdiminution of fuel, force, etc.

    • 0 avatar

      pwnt.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Your definition, taken as literally as you mean to take it, makes the following people and things “racers”:

      * LeBron James;
      * Harry Truman;
      * everybody on the set of American Chopper;
      * Bristol Palin;
      * Spermatozoa;
      * Bacteria;
      * Dinosaurs;
      * Kamikaze pilots;
      * Ken Block.

      I can accept all of those except Block.

      Rallying is weak compared to NASCAR. It’s always possible to back off, and the only reason anybody ever gets hurt is their own incompetence/lack of talent/excess of enthusiasm.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      Oh give me a break.  By that logic, any Nascar or road racer can just back off at any time, so it’s not really a competition.  Rally drivers, like any other racers have to drive at 10/10ths to *win*.  Sure, like any other racer, they can back off and lose; that’s a point without a point.
       
      If you think the clock isn’t breathing down a WRC driver’s neck as hard as any vehicle, you haven’t seen (or done) much rally racing.  Their strategy is absolutely dependent upon where other people are.  There is strategy in run order and acceptable risk on the speed-to-risk ratio, stage to stage.  There simply happens to be a time shifted element to the sport because those roads are too damned narrow to drive two abreast.
       
      I get it.  You want to wave your dick at the other driver.  Well that’s you.  Some other people care about wicked driving, completely on the edge, in all manner of unknowns, through driving snow and rain and mud and potholed pavement.  Some of us like to see what a car and driver can do in a real setting instead of a sanitized play pen.  On that point, I think it’s pretty clear that rally driving has far more unknowns than a cordoned off race surface, other drivers or no.  Saying that a crash can only happen because the driver suxx is a comment that belongs on YouTube.
       
      So you can drive three abreast on a 50′ foot wide perfectly paved surface with clear sight-lines and massive amounts of run-off and tire walls on either side and rightly claim that you have big balls.  I say the guy who just ran across a 9′ wide concrete bridge – at 90 miles an hour – with opposite lock – in the rain – through a crowd – has bigger ones.  And if I had to choose, I’d say he’s the real racer.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Jack,
       
      Ken Block’s a legitimate driver. The fact that he does ‘x-treme’ promo stuff as well sticks in my craw, too – I’m a purist if ever there was one – but you don’t do what he does without having real skill.
       
      Plus, I spent an afternoon with him screwing around in motion simulators and talking shop. He’s a good guy, and deserves better than toss-away comments with no purpose other than forum snark.
       
      Also, rallying is weak? You can always back off? What the hell is that? And the only justification I can see for your ‘you only go off if you screw up’ jibe is that it’s technically true, because in circuit racing some other numbnut can punt you off, too. But the fact that circuit racers drive at the mercy of the most clueless backmarker has nothing to do with the legitimacy of rally.
       
      And on the other side – sanitized playpen? 50′ wide perfectly paved surface?
       
      And from the rest of the peanut gallery: Puckering? Bravery? Balls?
       
      Who the hell opened the door to motorsport and let you guys in? Racing isn’t about balls, glory, puckering, circuits, trails, open wheels, closed wheels, or any of the above.
       
      It’s about getting in a f*cking automobile and going as fast as you can within the rules of the series. Your goal is not to have a large penis, to risk life and limb, to do drive in “the most difficult” way possible. Your job is to go faster than your competition.
       
      Your job is to drive on the edge. Here’s a hint, people: WHEN YOU DRIVE AT THE LIMIT, THE SURFACE AND SURROUNDINGS ARE IRRELEVANT. Ask some drivers how much they’re considering the scenery when they’re driving – go on and do it. You think Ari Vatanen was peering over the ledges when he did runs up Pikes Peak? You think that Ayrton Senna was thinking, “This is very dangerous!” as he blasted through Eau Rouge in the wet?
       
      Do you think it makes a damn bit of difference if you’re on a six mile wide smooth as glass track or a six inch wide rutted track if you’re trying to push your car to the absolute limit of adhesion?
       
      For christ’s sake, people, stop waving your dicks around long enough to consider what motorsport actually is, and come back when you’ve developed respect for the discipline and passion rather than the glossy glamor bullsh*t.
       
      You know what the difference is between racers and REAL racers? REAL racers don’t give a flying f*ck what they’re driving, in what series, how ‘difficult’ it is, or anything else. There are posers racing in Grands Prix and racers piloting souped-up lawnmowers.
       
      Racing is racing is racing – if you put wheels and a motor on it, and compete with legitimate, consistent rules, you’re racing. I don’t care whether it’s a county fair figure 8, a rally stage, the Paris Dakar, the Indy 500, or the Belgian Grand Prix (movable wing issues aside). If you’re racing because you love racing and because you want to be at the limit, you’re a REAL racer.
       
      On the other hand, if you discount people who you think aren’t as skilled as you, aren’t in as big a series as you, or who are driving on the wrong shape or surface of track, then you’re definitely not a real racer.
       
      Racing is racing. Tracks, series, surfaces, … that’s just housekeeping. And getting in these idiotic “which kind is harder / faster / more real” flame wars is just embarrassing.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      It doesn’t matter what the dictionary says, allthough I don’t agree completely with Jack either, but Ken Block is a rich shoemaker, who happens to spend his free time doing car stunts. The fact that he isn’t even any good at rallying makes him even less of a racer to me.
      And drifting is a judged competition, not racing. Rallying to me is racing, it’s even the most exciting and (seemingly) most risky of them all, with the most extreme cars, even if I (unlike many other Europeans) understand fully that lying side by side with another car on a bank doing close to 200mph while trying to not hit the car 6 inches in front of you, at the same time as you try to keep the exact distance  and not fall out of his slipstream, is also racing at it’s fullest.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      @perisoft: Fair points.  The only reason the glory issues come up is my reaction against Jack’s implication that people who do things other than what he does are pussies.  I’ll be the second to admit that it’s amateurish and absurd.
       
      And I generally find that people who spout off on who is real and who is not aren’t worth listening to.  If you are, you know it, and you don’t give a rat’s ass about it any more than that.

    • 0 avatar

      You want to wave your dick at the other driver.
      I think he’d rather wave it at Julie, some of her friendlier friends, female PR flacks, and the occasional media colleague’s wife.
      PR lady from unnamed domestic automaker located not far Evergreen and Michigan Ave:
      “Oh… I know Jack.”

  • avatar
    ajla

    That Paul Walker sure is handsome.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Wow, this is juvenile. Someone needs to get themself to the Isle Of Man TT to see how inadequate a racer they really are.
     
    Also, what imag and PeriSoft said.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      …And if the competition is actually about big brass balls, then woe to hin who dares clank his up against the ones sported by TT sidecar riders. You guys don’t like restraining seatbelts, high beltlines, airbags, and rollover standards? The train’s pulling up to your stop…

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Tell you what, PeteMoran. You cover my expenses, or find somebody to do it, and I’ll line up in the 2011 IoM TT. I’ve already broken my neck once on a bike, I’m not worried about doing it again.

      The good news is that by imag‘s definition, you’re a “racer” too, by dint of being a keyboard warrior.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      The definition was dictionary.com’s.  Websters is similar.
       
      And the dictionary definitions are notable because of this: in spite of all the ways they define the word, not even one of them supports your distinction.  Not. one.  It’s all in your head.
       
      If redefining a word to make other drivers look bad makes you feel better about yourself, I guess that’s it’s own reward.  I just don’t see the need.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • wolfwagen: @red apple: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule”...
  • FreedMike: “BEV are, and will remain, toys for the wealthy in the US.” The best-selling EVs are in the...
  • JMII: The only thing stopping my wife from owning an EV is price and how to manage at home charging. We have a two...
  • Jeff S: @FreedMike–True the vehicles offered are part of it but not all of it. I do agree that more EV pickups...
  • Jeff S: If I were buying an EV now it would be used to run errands and not to travel long distances. I would either...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber