- Will Power of Team Penske Winning The Indianapolis 500

Why IndyCar & Formula E Are Fit For The Future

A Brief Look At Why These Series' Are A Great Fit For The Future

Sporting series in general are having a tough time evolving into the ever-changing world. Many of our favourite series didn’t even exist 100 years ago, so we’d be naive to assume that everything will remain as it is right now. Over the years many sporting series have been used for technological development and motorsport is a perfect example of this. Technological advancements have also meant that there are now much cheaper ways to develop the technology of tomorrow. In some ways, these methods are more efficient in this process, but in many circumstances, nothing will ever replace the rapid development and innovative ideas that come through human competition.

It is my belief that many of our favourite motorsport series for vastly different reasons are perfectly positioned to stand this test and power on into the future. Both the series that I’m looking at are recoding promising growth over recent years when many major sporting series are in a steady decline. Let’s take a look at the vastly different approaches of both IndyCar and Formula E and pull apart how and why it is working for them and should continue to work into the future.

IndyCar Oval Race

IndyCar Oval Race

IndyCar Entertainment

Many many years ago IndyCar and its various incarnations made a decision to become a spec series, or close to it. Each team raced with the same chassis and had a choice between a couple of different engine and aero package options. Running the series in this way meant that manufacturers could mass produce car parts for the series, making them cheaper. This forces races to be decided more on driver skill and/or ingenious strategy, creating exciting and entertaining races for both race fans and casual viewers. Now IndyCar has gone even further whereby every car runs with the same chassis and aero package allowing only for a choice of engine from Chevrolet or Honda. This decision is one that has set them up well for the future as they have laid the foundations for a cost-effective motorsport category that is also of an extremely high skill level. This has created an unpredictable series where pretty much anyone can win, making it entertaining viewing for fans. This shows that those in charge at IndyCar understand exactly where motorsport sits in the future sporting world and how to make sure that they’re a part of this future. I believe this will be a future where traditional motorsports such as IndyCar will become more of a series for entertainment rather than technological advancements.

Another factor working in IndyCar’s favour is the fact that real human beings are driving the cars. In an ever-evolving technological world, more and more of what we do is becoming automated by computers. The inevitably autonomous future of driving will make human-driven motorsports a highly specialised skill, allowing it to stand out from the crowd. Further bolstering its entertainment factor will be the fact that it could be quite a different sight from ‘normal’ to be watching human beings pilot a vehicle. There is also a natural limit to everything we do and I’m sure the AI-powered racing cars will find this limit very quickly through machine learning. Once this is achieved it could make events highly predictable or boring to watch. In a time where many things could become quite predictable, the unpredictability of human-driven motorsport will provide quite the spectacle.

Formla E Race Start

Formla E Race Start

Formula E Technological Development

Since its beginnings, Formula E has come along in leaps and bounds. At first, it was mocked by many including F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and many weren’t sure about its future. Beginnings like this though often mean something special could be brewing, as rather ignorant comments like Bernies are made from feeling threatened. Now Formula E has developed into a new age motorsport category and has earned its very own respected place in the world of motorsport. As per our current knowledge of the world, there is a natural limit as to how far something can be developed. As many things reach their natural limit it prompts people to think of better ways to do things which could result in an evolution of something we already know or something completely new being created. The technology at the core of the internal combustion engine is now well over 100 years old and been constantly evolving since its invention. With this technology seemingly nearing its natural limit, many new technologies such as electrical engines are now becoming more prevalent. Electrical engines aren’t something new but their use in consumer vehicles is relatively new. As this technology is still in its infancy it has much more in front of it in its development story than it does behind, which is something that most likely can’t be said for internal combustion engines. Even with a future of synthetic fuels, car manufacturers may find it more enticing to switch to electrical due to its development potential.

Fierce competition almost always breeds inventions and innovations that can influence every human's life. There are countless examples of technology being developed in motorsport, sports, and unfortunately in war times that come to benefit us all. This fierce competition is exactly what will keep manufacturers interested in Formula E which in turn keeps the technology evolving as rapidly as possible. Also, Formula E regulations are continually opening up with every generation of cars, a trend I’m sure they will continue to unlock more areas for development. Fierce competition between drivers and teams is also what keeps fans engaged, and the more people are engaged the higher the value to sponsors. This then means that the series and teams have more funds at their disposal to create a higher class and more highly skilled working environment. These aspects are just some of the ingredients that I believe will make Formula E a force to be reckoned with for many years to come.

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