Last week the great and the good of the motorsport industry gathered at Oxford Brookes to discuss new projects and developments in various fields within the world of motorsport (9-10 January 2012). They came from far and wide and from many different classes in the sport of racing making for a fascinating event, and which I was fortunate enough to attend.
Hosted by the publishers of the racing magazine Race Tech, this annual get-together has been running for several years and precedes the Autosport Show where many of the delegates were headed after this symposium closed. Day one concerned matters of aerodynamic interest while the second day concentrated on powertrain technology, so delegates could attend either one, or both of the days.
Although not new to many in the world of endurance racing, the Delta Wing project, to be seen at this year’s Le Mans 24-Hour race, was discussed in depth and if this vehicle does indeed turn a wheel in the French race in the summer, it is going to attract a lot of attention and it may even embarrass some of the better known competitors.
Speakers ranged from Formula One team directors and consultants including Marussia, Sauber, Mercedes Petronas as well as the Delta Wing project, Dallara, OptimumG, TotalSim, head of PR at the Nürburgring and the engineer in charge of developing the Mini WRC car. Subjects thus ranged from innovative suspension systems to experimental vehicles, aerodynamic simulation and wind tunnels to testing and how the spectator is to be inspired to attend motor races in the future.
When the Master of Ceremonies opened the discussion for comments from the floor at the end of the first day, this writer could no longer stay quiet in the back row and proceeded to blurt forth about the alienation of the race goers and enthusiasts at Formula One races. I had been wanting to air my views on this subject for a long time. And this was the perfect opportunity. Suffice it to say that many in the room felt exactly the same way and joined in the chorus of comment, but it was all constructive and in the interests of improving the sport. However, some of those present from that class of the sport may have felt slightly bruised as they left the auditorium that evening.
Now in its seventh year, this symposium is set to become a permanent fixture on the motorsport calendar.