911 Porsche World - - News And Views -

It's a tricky time for mo­tor rac­ing, right now. On the one hand, tra­di­tional com­bus­tion race cars face a se­ri­ous rel­e­vance chal­lenge. After sev­eral false starts, the road car mar­ket fi­nally looks set to make a ma­jor move to al­ter­na­tive power.

If that re­ally does tran­spire, then the con­nec­tion to any com­bus­tion-pow­ered racer will be com­pre­hen­sively sev­ered. In­deed, the state of F1 cur­rently is likely a mi­cro­cosm of this ex­is­ten­tial angst. On the one hand, in­tro­duc­ing some kind of hy­brid power was in­evitable. But the loss of scream­ing nat­u­rally as­pi­rated pow­er­plants in favour of the dull war­ble of the turbo V6s is pretty grim.

It's into that con­text that Porsche moves its top flight com­pe­ti­tion ef­forts from the WEC and Le Mans to the pure-elec­tric For­mula series. Porsche is mov­ing into elec­tric cars, so we'd bet­ter all get used to the idea. How­ever, there's prob­a­bly also an ar­gu­ment for keep­ing com­bus­tion race cars for the fore­see­able.

For starters, ship­ping race cars around the world is far from en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, re­gard­less of what pow­ers them. That as­pect – the idea of the sus­tain­able race car – is just naive. The tech­no­log­i­cal link is pretty ten­u­ous too given it’s road cars dic­tat­ing the di­rec­tion and not the other way round. In­stead, per­haps the no­tion of the ac­tual spec­ta­cle can help pre­serve com­bus­tion cars. Yes, let's have a bold new era of elec­tric and maybe even au­ton­o­mous race cars. But let's keep the old nags go­ing, too. Be­cause there's noth­ing quite like them.

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