Sunday, 30 January 2011

Heaven on Earth

In mankind's history there have always been myths and legends about gods walking the surface of the Earth, coming face-to-face with mankind. Some of them were raised to canonical heights hence becoming religions. Among these there is one story about incarnation (in-car-nation) where God became man.

This is no Sunday school class, however, but the analysis of the most divine motorsport ever.

The silhouettes.

Silhouette racing in my opinion is the ultimate racing experience a motorsport fan can ever come across. It is also the most misunderstood, too, though. But if you come down on memory lane with me, you'll get what I am about to talk.

Bernie Ecclestone worked hard to make Formula 1 the biggest track motorsport circus humankind could ever imagine. TV broadcasting and huge factory backed teams were as essential factors as the insane speed of the cars and the venues these races were held at. F1 has become a standard every motorsport is being measured against. F1 is the league of gods walking the surface of the Earth every fortnight.

There are some motorsports, however, that come very close to the fame it generates, even surpassing it for brief moments.

Asking the hardcore racing fans what their favourite one is or which one they find the most serious one, F1 is usually way back on the list. Most of the time, it is some sort of sport car or rally competition in 'anything goes' formula. From WRC to CanAm, from IMSA GT to World Sportcar events, endurance racing like Le Mans - all of these being narrowed down to three car categories: FIA Group 4 to 7 and Group B to C. While technically there was no such as Group 7, it was analogous with CanAm Racing. Group 6 was a prototype racing along with Group C. These were all highly demanding, jaw-dropping formulas, they were by no means tangible to everyman - just as Formula 1.

So we are left with groups 4, 5 and B. Now these car were purpose-built racecars, a certain amount later being converted for street use due to homologization or an existed car is taken and tweaked up to the point where the overall silhouette, certain body panels and the engine block reminds only to a general road car.

But that is way enough to trespass the Christ-factor. A supernatural being disguised as an ordinary. From the distance it is quite misleading at first, getting closer it already has the intuition, but seeing it in action is truly a divine moment. People can relate to it. They see and drive very similar rides on daily basis. They can be part of the divine. And this factor makes the whole deal superior to the purely technological, godly race series.

Make no mistakes, spec. series are not part of this club. NASCAR and DTM e.g. may be very exciting imitating real cars worse or better but they are equal cars under equal circumstances. Competition is restricted to man only.

Silhouette cars are always designated as 'F1 cars with a body', which is true in a sense if we consider at least 5 years of lag behind in technology and that is what makes these the WWJD cars. Group B cars at one point were even able to outrun F1 cars under much worse conditions

So much tangible these are that ordinary people imitate them with quite a success. The whole Bosozoku/Kaido racer style is based upon this principle. It is reverse-engineering the silhouettes that were racecars made to look like road ones. They are making roadcars look like racecars in an over-exaggerated manner to let everybody now they are in a quite different league from anybody else. Fans are religiously devoted to their cars, the past and the whole scene, making up a complete tribe. They believe in what they do. They truly live the life.

Because everybody wants to belong to heaven in one way to another. That is why everybody searches for the link to be connected to it.

Some people have even managed to find it successfully.

Have you?

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