Monday, January 11, 2016

Musings From the Weekend: Where Aero Kits Are Missing It

The second weekend of 2016 was a little busier for the motorsports world than the first weekend. The Dakar Rally reached the halfway point. AMA Supercross kicked off its season. Testing for the 24 Hours of Daytona took place. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

Where Aero Kits Are Missing It
Thanks to this commercial, this song has been stuck in my head for the past three days.

However, that commercial got me thinking about aero kits.

There has been a lot of criticism over aero kits during the past year, including from the defending IndyCar champion Scott Dixon. I think people have a point when they question what aero kits add to IndyCar. They aren't drawing the average person to IndyCar but not every decision IndyCar makes should be focused on drawing in the average person. IndyCar needs to be a motorsports series first and while the first year of aero kits was a trying year, aero kits add a layer of diversity that has been missing from the series for a long time. Of course, IndyCar has yet to capitalize on bringing in independent aero kit manufactures but the door is still open.

But something hit me and I think it is because of that commercial. What are Honda and Chevrolet's aero kit know as? They are nameless. We just call them the Honda kit and the Chevrolet kit. That's boring. If IndyCar and the manufactures want the aero kits to be something that draws in more everyday people to the race then the aero kits should be relatable to the everyday person.

What if the Honda aero kit was called the "Civic Indy" or the "Accord IC" or the "Fit Indy Special" and the Chevrolet aero kit called the "Indy Impala" or the "Cruze IC" or the "Camaro Special"? Name the aero kits after road cars that way the aero kit becomes a promotional tool for the manufactures and the cars they produce and it would allow for the IndyCar to be featured in commercials. Instead of just having an IndyCar in the background of a commercial, by using a road car name for the aero kits, the IndyCar can be integrated into the commercial and simultaneously promote the manufactures' road car program and IndyCar program.

Take the Civic commercial at the top. The only line in the commercial is "direct from our imagination." To me, that line is perfect for the world of motorsports, especially IndyCar. While 2016 isn't the 1960s with turbines, four-wheel drive cars, front-engine vs. rear-engine, gasoline vs. methanol, imagination is still important to motorsports. In another world, perhaps that commercial features an IndyCar with a "Civic Indy" kit to show people what the human imagination can create and the broaden their idea of what a car can be.

I think aero kits should exist and I hope someday soon there are multiple independent aero kits to give IndyCar teams multiple options and not force the teams to use the aero kits of their manufacture or the lame-duck, undeveloped Dallara aero kit. But while questions rage on about the point of aero kits, shouldn't they become what motorsports has always been in a sense? A promotional tool. After all, I don't think Honda would mind hearing that the Honda "Civic" or "Accord" won the Indianapolis 500 and the same for Chevrolet and the "Impala" or "Camaro."

Perhaps once the manufactures starting taking advantage of aero kits for their own cause, then the existence of aero kits will be more appreciated.

Winners From the Weekend
You know about what has been happening in the Dakar Rally but did you know...

Jason Anderson picked up his and Husqvarna's first Supercross victory as he took the season opener from Anaheim.

Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelaeli won the 3 Hours of Buriram in the #9 Jagonya Ayam with Eurasia Oreca-Nissan. In the LMP3 class, the #1 DC Racing Ligier-Nissan of David Cheng, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent took the victory and clinch the LMP3 title. The #27 Nexus Infinity Ferrari of Joshua Hunt and Dominic Ang won in the GT class

Coming Up This Weekend
The final week of the Dakar Rally.
Dubai 24 Hour starts Friday.
Chili Bowl from Tulsa.
AMA Supercross heads to San Diego.
Toyota Racing Series begins from Ruapuna Park in Christchurch, New Zealand.