This is the 24th installment in RACER’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebration during which we share the 25 most important issues from our first quarter century.
RACER‘s popular Technology Issue theme debuted with a stunning cover, featuring a thermal image of a Ganassi Racing Dallara DW12-Honda Indy car shot by Michael Levitt with digital enhancements by illustrator Paul Laguette. This is the first thermal image of a racing car to appear on the cover of any magazine, and it conveyed the profound impact that modern technology has on contemporary racing. RACER‘s loyal readers told us that they love technology, so the issue was a big hit with our audience and our advertisers. Issue No.247 stands as the largest we’ve produced to date at 140 pages and was full of insightful stories that explored all aspects of technology’s influence on the sport.
Our esteemed editor-at-large and legendary racer/engineer Gil de Ferran’s issue theme-setting essay argued that technology isn’t boring and in fact has a rightful place in the man-and-machine equation. Gary Watkins’ feature “Blessing or KERS” explored the fascinating development of energy recovery systems for Audi’s and Toyota’s LMP1 Hybrids.
Marshall Pruett turned his technical focus onto Dyson Racing’s American Le Mans Series LMP1 experiment with the relatively affordable Flybird Automotive KERS system for non-factory sports car teams.
Renowned F1 writer Mark Hughes examined what Formula 1 might have been without the numerous technical restrictions that have reigned in speeds over the years in the name of safety and cost control.
Edd Straw previewed the upcoming Turbo V6+KERS “power unit” era of F1, which promised to create new relevance for auto manufacturers in comparison to the popular V-10 era but ultimately ended up gutting the emotion appeal of the sport via muted engine sound while dramatically driving up costs. The feature “Revolutionary Road to Nowhere” recounted cars like Tyrrell’s imaginative six-wheeled P34 F1 design that failed to deliver any meaningful technical steps forward. John Oreovicz celebrated the groundbreaking cars and the oddball wonders of Indy in “Innovation 500.”
Issue No. 247’s cover story, “The Heat of Competition” by Marshall Pruett, looked at the intense battle for IndyCar power between Chevy and Honda. A photo-driven feature titled “Secret Service” by respected photographer Tony Di Zinno took readers behind closed doors of the top-secret Honda Performance Development facility in Santa Clarita, California, where Honda Racing’s engines are designed, developed and assembled. Straw dove into the Formula 1’s digital realm with “Virtual Reality.” A new feature titled “Road 2 Racer” debuted with insight into how RealTime Racing transforms an Acura TSX road car into a fierce Pirelli World Challenge GTS contender.
On the human side of motorsport, “Material Benefits” examined how technology impacts the design and manufacture of contemporary Formula 1 safety wear while Richard S. James’ “Survival of the Fittest” conveyed the physical challenge of the Lucas Oil Motocross Series.
The one-year anniversary of Haymarket Media’s approach to RACER founder Paul Pfanner saw the team at Racer Media & Marketing still grappling with the negative consequences of the prior seven years under Haymarket ownership and the global economic crisis. But real progress was being seen in circulation and social media growth as well as ad sales. The next big challenge would be revamping and revitalizing RACER.com in 2013. An unexpected turn of events would see the Speed Channel and Speed.com, which were once closely aligned with RACER, cease operations in the late summer of 2013. This resulted in Robin Miller and Marshall Pruett engaging fully in both RACER magazine and RACER.com and the fortunes of the RACER brand changed for the better by the fall of 2013, and the site has continued to grow since to become the number one racing media site in the USA, according to Alexa.com.