The Indianapolis 500. The 24 Hours of Le Mans. Formula 1’s British, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix. They’re all still legendary races, albeit with some significant differences in 2020, and they’re all featured in the latest issue of RACER magazine (No. 305, July/Aug. 2020).
We often talk of motorsports as being a microcosm of the wider world. In many ways it is, but it’s still a part of that wider world, and it’s shaped by the same issues and challenges as the societies in which it exists. That’s never been clearer than in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effect on our sport and the industry it supports.
But racing has been proactive, pragmatic and professional in getting back on track – exactly what you’d expect from a sport versed in balancing risk and reward. As we’re seeing with the bigger picture, there will be more setbacks, yet motorsports’ ability to react, adjust and improvise makes it well suited to taking on whatever still lies ahead.
Part of that reaction and adjustment sees some of those legendary race events in unfamiliar slots. For the Indy 500, the traditional Month of May now reads “Month of August,” while Le Mans moves from the middle of June to the second half of September, trading long, sunlit (well, some of the time) summer evenings in northern France for something much more autumnal and unpredictable. But even while so much changes, the essential challenge and the ultimate prize remains the same
The British, Belgian and Italian GPs are three of four races from the first Formula 1 World Championship in 1950 that not only grace the current schedule, but are still held at their original venues (Monaco being the other). Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza have all changed massively over the years, but their DNA and much of the elemental challenge is intact. This year, without spectators thronging the grandstands, the atmosphere will be different, yet the kudos of winning at one of F1’s cathedral of speeds remains.
While we celebrate these legendary venues and the classic races they host, we also turn our attention to the reality of competing in very different times. We get an on-the-ground perspective from the opening event of F1’s delayed season, the Austrian GP, and we look at how NASCAR Cup Series teams are adapting to a whole new way of going racing.
Yes, a lot of things have changed in our sport, but as long as Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Le Mans’ Circuit de la Sarthe, or the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza remain so central to our sport, it’s comforting to know that much remains the same.
Click here to purchase the new issue of RACER, and check out the gallery below for a sneak peek at what’s inside.