By Freddie Heaney, June 23, 2014, Photography by Moore Good Ink
Should you be lucky enough to receive an invitation to take part in a Chump Car endurance race, jump at the chance!
Most of us admire those who hit upon a big idea and, commendably, Chump Car racing meets this criterion for in popularity the concept has been remarkably successful. Informal and agreeable, the organizers are fair minded and laid back. But most of all they do their best to keep the racing fair and affordable—adamant it should be equitable for all participants for they know motor racing can be ruinously expensive. Predictably this is a major part of its appeal. Its least appealing aspect is the outward appearance of most of the competing cars, some of which are disgusting.
Although ingenuity abounds, few of these $500 racing cars present themselves as beacons of engineering delight or exhibit any flair for concours d’elegance. In fact the Cougar that won the Summit Point, West Virginia endurance race, held June 21, was blight on the landscape, what sponsor would wish to be aligned with such ugliness, what photographer would desire to have such an abomination residing within the Nikon? Still, the Cougar was adeptly driven, easily recorded the fastest laps and won by a far margin. Unrivaled. Further, it was a joy to see American Iron succeed so competently on a circuit that seemed initially more suitable for the deftness of the BMW. It was also quite the triumph that so many cars finished the race, after being hammered relentlessly for ten successive hours.
What can you expect from Chump Car racing? Well, rain actually, “Since you weren’t here to defend yourself at our pre-race meeting,” wrote the Borg Warner team from Asheville, NC, “we have selected you for the first stint. Oh, by the way heavy rain is forecast.” Interestingly, when it’s pouring down hard and you wonder if you’ll be able to see anything at all, you are reminded, vividly, that racers are often at their best when conditions are at their worst.
And of the memories and the most prominent lessons learned?
Concentrate on team plans, hit your marks on the track as best you can, and suppress your ambitions. Keep in mind there are four worthy talents behind you all hoping you’ll bring the machine back in one piece and allow them to enjoy their term.
Another is to aim for pit stops—mainly to take on fuel—that last no longer than the mandatory minimum five minutes. Also, you might not think you have the energy to drive a 2-hour stint flat out, but you‘ll surprise yourself.
Lastly, any captain of industry or ambitious executive with an eye for the main chance would be well-advised to consider the positive forces generated by this type of activity. Forming a formidable team in any business is a major challenge. But consider for a moment the camaraderie—the esprit de corps—generated between team members. Can you think of anything more effective in bringing a greater focus and a sense of shared purpose to an industrial team? I think not. Affordable endurance racing charges people with the ability to go beyond where they could go on their own. It also cultivates their competitive edge, and combines good fortune with good friends—Bravo Borg Warner.
Photos from Saturday’s 10-hr Endurance race, June 21, 2014 – Click image to enlarge.
From the “Shark Attack” to the “McQueen Machine” ingenuity abounds in these $500 racing cars…
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