Thirty years on the lead lap is a big deal, isn’t it? OK, maybe not compared with the timeline of a Scuderia Ferrari, or a Roger Penske. But in terms of career longevity, RACER magazine’s three decades of doing what we do, and younger sibling RACER.com’s quarter century, are up there with the likes of A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti, so we’ll take that.
When a couple of racing-crazy guys named Paul Pfanner and Jeff Zwart hatched the idea of a new American racing magazine, they knew that they wanted to celebrate and showcase the beauty, exhilaration, bravery and technical brilliance of the sport they loved.
Putting dreams into printed reality wasn’t an overnight thing, taking several years and several false starts. But after a frenetic gestation and much midnight oil burned (some things never change), issue No. 1 of RACER magazine was launched in April 1992, carrying a May cover date.
Suddenly, through the lens of RACER, racing was full-color and full-on. More than just the “what,” it was the “how,” the “why,” and the “why the hell not?”
That first issue defined the mission that RACER has pursued for 30 years, and an ever-growing RACER.com for the last 25. And like racing itself, we’re constantly evolving and reacting to new challenges, new opportunities, and new technologies.
A constant striving to be the best version of ourselves, a willingness to take on new challenges and to change and evolve when we’ve needed, plus simple cussedness (or call it single-minded focus…) have taken us this far. Which sounds like so many of the drivers, owners, engineers and other motorsports people we talk to, write about, judge, and generally form opinions on. And it’s easy to keep doing that when you’re constantly intrigued and energized by such an extraordinary and fascinating sport as ours.
This 30th anniversary issue of RACER is also our annual Heroes Issue. That got us thinking about drivers – teams, too – who’ve traced their heroic arcs during our three decades.
Heroes aren’t just from the dim and distant past. Lewis Hamilton is still striving to add to his astonishing Formula 1 legacy (porpoising Mercedes W13 notwithstanding), as is NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson, who’s now taking on the Indy 500, or MotoGP G.O.A.T.-turned-GT neophyte Valentino Rossi.
Same goes for powerhouse programs such as Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing and Corvette Racing. We’ve enjoyed exploring their legends and legacies, and we hope you enjoy reading about them, too.
We also thank you for coming with us on the RACER journey, some of you right from the green flag. Without your support, your willingness to listen to us, and your occasional apoplexy at some of the things we come out with, we’d be racing in a vacuum.
Those first 30 laps felt pretty darn good, but it’s RACER’s next flying laps that excite us even more, and we’re honored that you’re strapped in and with us for the ride.
Thanks, and here’s to RACER’s next 30 years.