Monday, June 5, 2023

AUTOS: Is Detroit really still the Motor City?

Or will it just become another Outpost for “Rorge Retson” Flying Cars in the future?


Every year around this time, that being Indy Cars Detroit Grand Prix weekend, I Hope to have posted a very long overdue, languishing No Fenders post about Tintip Boyz’ and the ‘Ol glory Years of the SCCA Trans Am era when The Cat in the Hat, aka Jack Roush’s Nasty Ford Mustangs ruled the roost in SCCA Pro Racing’s Trans Am series.


But I just never quite get around to it, after becoming engrossed in the Month of May’s festivities at Mother Speedway instead.


For which I have to say this year’s Indy 500 finish left a sour taste for Mwah, with a ridiculous Red Flag, Uhm Chequors or Wreckers Greann-White Flag finish!


Yet with All of the previous drama surrounding Graham Rahal and Stefan Wilson at this year’s Indianapolis 500. Not to mention Graham’s ties to the late Justin Big Unit Wilson, notably being Wilson’s teammate at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing in 2008. My mind goes Ah-Wanderin’ Wayback’ to 2008 when Justin Wilson scored His first IndyCar victory after that Dastardly Helio Castroneves Blocked Him upon The Raceway at Belle Isle!


Since it’s funny how whenever I hear the words IndyCar and Detroit, I immediately think of Ye Beautiful Island, Err Belle Isle, for which I tried scribblin’ about some of my Belle Isle memories previously in another No Fenders tome.


As IndyCar has become so synonomous with Belle Isle that I forget that the CART/PPG IndyCar World Series raced Thar between 1989-1991, following Formula 1 choosing to not race on the Streets of Detroit following 1988.


Which fortuitously for Mwah led to my very first, true Grands Prix. Being the 1989 Iceberg Grand Prix held upon Ye Downtown Streets of Phoenix, Arizona on June 4, 1989. A very significant day in world history, i.e.; China, Iran and Poland!


Whilst your much younger humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso was sweltering in the 104 degrees Fahrenheit Heat of that year’s amusingly named Iceberg Grand Prix!


As I also like to believe that it was the 1986 Detroit Grand Prix with Ayrton Senna’s beautiful black and gold John Player Special Lotus that introduced me to F1 Wayback’ when! Which would be fthe first of Ayrton Senna’s three consecutive Detroit Grand Prix victories.


As the much unloved 2.50-mile, 17 turns  temporary street circuit was despised by the Formula 1 drivers. This race which was considered the Hardest of the season, due to the circuit’s bumpiness anlong with being run during the brutally Hot portion of mid June in Detroit, where the Ash-fault

 Routinely disintegrated! Just proves to me again, how much of a Bad Arse F1 Pilote the late Ayrton Senna was! Since Senna won the most Detroit Grands Prix before the F1 Circus departed to Phoenix.


Without scouring the current IndyCar race circuits lengths, I believe that the new, 1.70-mile 10 turn course on Detroit’s streets will be the shortest on the IndyCar calendar, with the only caviot being that the entire race course’s Downtown Streets have been repaved expressly for this purpose! While for Mwah, the most interesting portion of the track is the unique Pitlane, which I think features drivers pitting on two different sides of the Pitlane…


Meanwhile, how much does having an IndyCar race in Downtown Detroit really matter? Since when I think about the once fabled “Motor city”, I think of the “big-3”, i.e.; Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler and the legendous’ Muscle Car era and the Pony Cars war.


Not to mention Scotty Scooter’ Pruett kicking Arse during the Motor city 100 SCCA Trans Am races…


Yet now Ford will soon be the only Playah’ with a rear wheel drive V-8 powered Pony Car left for customers to purchase. Following the demise of Chevrolet’s sixth generation Camaro in January, 2024. Whilst Stellantis has already killed off the amazingly brutal Dodge Hellcat Charger! Leaving us with just the Mustang, which Ford has just rolled out it’s seventh generation version.


 Making me wonder if we’re headed back for another incarnation of the early 1980’s, when turbocharging initially became the rage during an enforced tightening of vehicle emissions and fuel economy, if I remember correctly?


As one has to say it’s slightly odd thinking that Indy Cars, albeit going Hybrid next year, will be pounding round the streets of Detroit hopefully for years to come with their “ERS” (Energy Recovery systems) Internal Combustion Engines, (ICE) while Chevrolet, Ford and Stellantis are all racing to “lock-up”, Uhm secure the world’s deposits of lithium and other raw materials in order to make everybody drive Electric Vehicles…


Although the ACO which governs le 24 Heurs du Mans has just instituted a Hydrogen Class for it’s top LMH category for Le Mans beginning in 2026 for Fuel Cell technology. And intends to make Hydrogen powered prototypes the Classes only fuel source by 2030. So may be the V-8 Internal Combustion Engine can be converted to Hydrogen after all?