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IMSA And SCCA Collaborate To Increase Motorsport Involvement

Illustration for article titled IMSA And SCCA Collaborate To Increase Motorsport Involvement
Photo: Brian Cleary (Getty Images)

IMSA and the SCCA are two of the biggest motorsport sanctioning bodies in the United States, particularly when it comes to sportscar racing. Now, both are partnering up to increase involvement in American motorsport in a variety of different ways.

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It makes sense, considering that the two organizations are fairly strongly intertwined. There’s a good chance that most folks in IMSA—be they drivers, marshals, or what have you—learned their craft through the SCCA. Why not pool your resources and see what you can do?

The new effort notes that there are both passive and active motorsport fans: the people who contribute to competition in some way, and the people who just watch.

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The main goal is to get more people to become SCCA members and head to the track to offer some kind of service, be that driving, marshaling, or volunteering in some other way.

Part of that initiative involves the “SCCA Got Me Started” program, which highlights the personal stories of motorsport professionals who found their roots through SCCA in some way. As per SCCA president and CEO Mike Cobb:

Sports Car Club of America has been working to demystify motorsports for auto racing enthusiasts. SCCA Track Night in America and the longstanding Solo program offer low-barrier options for people to explore motorsports. If they wish to dive deeper into auto racing, the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing program provides that opportunity for drivers, crew and volunteers. This new collaboration with IMSA is another spoke in SCCA’s wheel of influence for those looking to expand involvement and realize a professional career in IMSA road racing.

Both series are also looking to collaborate on the creation of regulations that dictate certification in certain areas of racing. So, if your goal is to be a race official in IMSA one day, SCCA and IMSA will have developed a curriculum for you to follow to meet that goal one day. It’ll be the same thing if you want to be a crew member. It sounds like a pretty relaxed version of a trade school program.

It’s a smart initiative, and I’m honestly surprised it took so long for American motorsport to unite in this way. It sounds like SCCA and IMSA are aiming to make sense of an often complex path to professional racing, where there is no one set path that gets most folks into the big leagues. Honestly, many people I know don’t even realize how many positions there are in the racing scene.

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Specifics are still a little sparse, but it's a damn good idea that I'm excited to watch grow.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

If you want to increase involvement in motorsports, you have to fix the bullshit economy. Racing is for the financially comfortable, and there aren’t as many of those as there used to be. You need access to a good supply of money to race at any level beyond autocross.

Even the LeMons series is over the top. Sure, you have spending limits which keeps the price of the car down, but if you crash and hit a SAFER barrier, you’re on the hook to replace it, and that very rapidly gets you into spending 5 figures for one event.

Racing is a rich person’s game. You can tell that right away even at the SCCA events. Walk through the paddock and start adding up how much just the ancillary gear costs. By the time you price the motorhome, the race car transporter, the tools, the tool boxes, the spare wheels and tires, etc, you’re easily deep into 6 figures and fast closing in on 7. And that’s not counting the really rich teams, which have a million or two just in the transporter.

And meanwhile, for more than half a century we’ve continued to vote in governments that focus on funneling as much wealth as possible to a few at the top, draining it from the rest of us. When most of America is working its ass off just to afford rent, food, and maybe a 1 week vacation to a beach somewhere, racing just isn’t going to be on the radar.

You hear the same complaints in the general aviation circles. “We need to get more people involved,” says the pilot wearing a MAGA hat. “Otherwise there won’t be enough GA pilots to justify keeping the smaller airports open.” Yeah, well then, stop voting Republican, because all that does is make sure that fewer and fewer people have a prayer of being able to afford to fly.

All of this crap is interrelated. Used to be you could support a family of 4 on one working-class salary. You can’t anymore, and it’s not because everything is so much more expensive. Adjusted for inflation, it’s not. But people are earning less money because we’ve gone through possibly the most massive wealth concentration in history, and if you weren’t in the lucky few the money was being concentrated to, you got left in the cold and can’t afford fun things like aviation or racing.