20 JULY 2014
an obsession with eqUaLit Y
“Excellence can sometimes be boring,
but what’s the alternative? Give
concrete running boots to Usain Bolt?”
TWO- Time CART indy CAR
2003 indiAnApOlis 500
WinneR ver since I started racing, at the tender age of 14, I understood that success was
a consequence of essentially having an
advantage. As time went on I understood
this better and better, and it became
engrained in my modus operandi. So,
as a competitor, I’m always searching for
more. More out of me, more out of the
car, out of the engine, the tires, etc. How
can I improve and gain that advantage?
In fact, as a retired professional racecar
driver, this relentless approach is one
reason I stayed away from playing with
So we all agree, I assume, that the
point of racing is trying your best to find
an advantage. With one very important
caveat: within the rules! This pursuit
drives everyone else in a team as well.
“That’s obvious,” I hear you say.
OK, but please indulge me and let me
be even more obvious.
If you agree with the above, it follows
that I should be given a set of rules which
hopefully allows me enough latitude to play
with a few things and if I do a good job, find
an advantage (legally), I should win. If I do
a great job, I should dominate, win a lot.
Excellence is something to be
appreciated. Yes, excellence in the form of
domination can sometimes be boring, but
what’s the alternative? Give concrete
running boots to Usain Bolt? Take 100cc
out of Marc Marquez’ Honda because he’s
won every MotoGP race this year?
You cannot and you should not
regulate against excellence. Period.
I mean, you can if you want, keep it fun
and tight, but I’m sorry, I find that fake.
So we now have a problem: how do we
(LEFT) Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is
widely regarded as the fastest man on
earth. He’s the first athlete to hold both
the 100m (currently at 9.58sec) and
200m ( 19.19sec) world records since
fully automatic timing began. (BELOW) As
RACER went to press, Honda’s reigning
MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez
had won all seven 2014 races run so far.
racecars at lower levels. It’s so natural
and so all-consuming, that it tends to
occupy my every waking moment – a bad
thing. It was a good thing when I was
driving professionally, but now that I have
a proper job, thinking about my driving
and how to make my go-kart faster for
several hours post-event presents a major
obstacle for living a normal working life...
Clearly, I’m not alone. I recall an
American motorsport legend wrote a
book called The Unfair Advantage.
To many, it’s still motorsport’s bible.