Inspiring the next-generation through motorsport
Motorsport as a spectator event is not just about F1, there are so many events up and down the country, and all of them can inspire a love for automotive.
There is something quintessentially British about motorsport. There are more motorsport facilities per square mile in the UK than any other country but the Brits seem to have slightly lost the lead in recent years in supporting motorsport. And that’s a shame because it could inspire a new wave of talent to get involved in the sector. And we definitely need them.
Around the world
The Italians are certainly passionate about racing, boasting some of the highest performance vehicles in the world such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, and mix it up with the humble Fiat. Along with the vehicles, Italy also has a deep lineage of world class professional racers and engineers. Japan has embraced both performance and a different style with the origination of the drift discipline. A racing phenomenon in megacities like Tokyo with an eye for aesthetics and display their car and motorcycle culture is nothing short of incredible.
Becoming more known for E-sports – Spain has an annual calendar that attracts thousands of people to Barcelona each year for traditional motorsport too. Germany has the manufacturing might in Europe drawing international visitors, and would feel rude not to mention the United States, manufacturing may be very different to what it was, but the contribution to line manufacturing techniques and the vast array of motorsport types means there is something on offer for pretty much every pocket stateside.
How has the UK become the world centre of motorsport despite the decline in spectators? The legacy of nice flat airfields and aerospace engineers left over from WWII were prime conditions for the creation of motorsport facilities. And motorsport supply chains need to be fast, and thanks to the UK’s size close proximity to supporting businesses helped develop “Motorsport Valley”, a home to seven out of the 10 F1 teams.
A growing industry
There are 3,500 companies based in Motorsport Valley, employing some 40,000 people, representing around 80% of the world’s high-performance engineers. The government has previously supported individuals and companies with funding and incentives to continue as a world leader in the field, like how Silicon Valley or the City of London are both developed. So, although not as popular for spectator sports, Britain still has the brains respected worldwide for the job.
Does the emergence of access to worldwide motorsport in our living rooms mean there are more motorsport fans than we realise but we just need to try harder to get them out of their homes and into venues?
Motorsport sites are huge, and it’s difficult to choose where to try and view the activity. Some can be expensive and the overhanging threat of COVID still features in the minds of many.
But there is nothing quite like the noise, smell, visual thrill, and the feeling of the vibrations as the cars (or bikes, trucks or any other form of transportation) hurtle passed – a consuming sensory experience that can’t be easily replicated from your sofa.
I walk the walk, and take my family to events.
Shelsey Walsh, home to the famous hill climb, has everything on offer from corporate entertainment, beautiful locally sourced hampers to pre-order, and the more traditional hotdog stands and ice cream trucks. Something for every pocket and taste. Having taken my children to Car Fest, where the six-wheeled Tyrell fascinated all but my youngest (who had the distraction of a milkshake with a lollypop in it) heading out to Shelsey Walsh was their second opportunity to experience motorsport and for my husband and I to indulge our own interests.
The trip back to the hotel was peppered with questions, and they’re still talking about the cars now. The UK is arguably the home of motorsport, in near infinite varieties, so couldn’t it be one of the ways to inspire the next generation of talent we so desperately need?