The Summer Olympics are wrapping up this weekend, which means it’s time to wave goodbye to impressive feats of physical strength for the next four (well, three) years. And I’d like to imagine a scenario where motorsport is involved in the next Summer Olympics. How would you format it?
This became a topic of conversation after I wrote a story about the single Olympics to feature motor racing, and it’s been a topic just about every year. Motorsport is excluded because it generally doesn’t evaluate a person’s physical performance, since it relies so heavily on machinery. So, you couldn’t have an F1 race in the Olympics because the results would be dictated by the team with the best equipment. It’s no longer about the athlete; it’s about the car.
At the same time, there are even subtle differences in the cars in spec racing series. Even if every single car is built with the same components and setup by the same person, you’ll hit variables in part quality as a result of production flaws or personal error by a fatigued mechanic. No two cars are ever exactly the same.
While mulling it over to myself, I considered something akin to rally time trials, where each athlete is asked to get behind the wheel of the same car and set a time. But even then, there’s variability. A rally driver will have more experience at that type of competition than an open-wheel or stock car driver, so they’ll have an advantage. The quality of the car will change as more and more people use it. The track conditions will change as the day goes on. It’s never really going to be equal.
I thought I’d turn the question out to you fine Jalopnik readers: How would you format the Motorsport Olympics?