Perhaps not so positive

The news doing the rounds at the moment is that IRL and Champ Car are getting back together. I can’t pretend to understand this fully, because I’m a newbie, but I get the idea. The two used to be part of the same series but split apart a while back.

Going their separate ways obviously hasn’t done them any favours, I imagine the division of fans, audience, and sponsors, isn’t exactly what they wanted. Maybe they thought people would stay tuned to both, but I’m guessing that most people have a favourite.

I can say that I know even less about IRL than I do about Champ Car, because I get the feeling Champ Car makes the attempt to be introduced in Europe – there were a couple of races over here last year.

Here’s the bit of real importance though – assuming that Franck gets his Champ Car drive, and assuming that the two merge back together this year – Montagny will be on the back foot. When the two series collide, IRL will take prominence, meaning that any potential Champ Car bods will have to adjust to fit in. This is not good news for Montagny, although, of course, I believe he’s good enough to make the most of it.

Still, this all may not matter, we’re still waiting to see if he gets picked or not.

3 thoughts on “Perhaps not so positive

  1. At the moment IRL is mainly oval tracks, ChampCar is now totally circuit (it used to run a few ovals).

    The IRL is more popular in the US. It has more US drivers, more like Nascar (drafting, ovals etc).

    ChampCar is more suited to the rest of the world, hence a number of rounds outside the US now.

    If they merged then I think the IRL drivers initially would have the edge, but I think there are better drivers in ChampCar overall so they’d soon catch up (although all the US fans will argue against it!)

    I would agree with your colleague if the argument was to keep IRL off sidepodcast but ChampCar is the next best series outside F1 (much better than A1 and just better than GP2)

  2. Bonjour,
    I had to pop over and see what all the excitement was about.

    There used to be a championship called CART(Championship Auto Racing Teams)where the championship was owned by the team owners. It was the major US single seater championship and gradually attracted a lot of international drivers. Traditionally it had been full of Americans (Andrettis Unsers etc) and the occasional Canadian (Jacques Villeneuve, Greg Moore, Paul Tracy) but started attracting people like Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi etc. Of course the foreigners started winning and some of the Americans got upset.

    Tony George whose family (the Hulman family)own the Indianapolis Motor Speedway decided since he owned the Indy 500 – which was such a big event that it was generally regarded as better to win it than win the championship – he could set up his own championship (IRL) which would have more American drivers and run on ovals as CART had gradually reduced the number of both.

    CART lost its biggest event and a few cars and drivers. Over time more and more teams moved to the IRL and Champ Car suffered. Tony George suffered as well because the Indy 500 went from being one of the biggest events on the planet to being very second rate. How seriously can you take a championship or event where Billy Boat can be a success?

    So after a long drawn out mess Tony George can call the shots as he always wanted to. Except that what he has now is probably worth 20% of CART immediately pre-split and still has a lot of foreign drivers.

    In the end all he achieved was to trash a really good championship and in the process de-value his own race. You can tell he inherited his money and didn’t make it himself.

    In the intervening period NASCAR has continued to expand and fill the void left by CART. There are now a lot of former single seater drivers in NASCAR which is something that traditionally never happened. So as well as being in a bad position financially compared to CART the IRL/CC championship has lost a lot of front running drivers including the reigning IRL and Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti who is Scottish. Second in the championship last season was Scott Dixon from New Zealand, followed by a Brazilian called Tony Kanaan and an Englishman called Dan Wheldon. So you can see even the crusade to promote American drivers didn’t work out too well.

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