Monday, December 15, 2008

Financial crisis killing motorsports

The current world financial situation is taking it's toll on the state of international motorsports today. Over the last several weeks, there have been announcements by several manufacturers regarding their factory sponsored participation in various different forms of racing.

Honda has announced that they are pulling out of both Formula One racing and AMA motorcycle racing. Audi and Porsche announced they will be pulling out of the American Le Mans series for 2009 despite the fact that they have both dominated their classes, LMP1 for Audi and LMP2 for Porsche. Additionally, Suzuki says they will not be fielding a factory WRC car any longer and the list continues to grow.

Some of the reasons given have been non financial but there has to be more to it than that. The notion that Audi has nothing left to prove with their racing program can be argued but their diesel powered prototype cars have done nothing but increase awareness and sales of their street going cousins.

So it seems that these decisions are exactly what they appear to be, a way to save money in tough financial times. These companies may not be hurting just yet but they are starting to tighten their belts and prepare for what are shaping up to be a few shaky years to come. Unfortunately, the first to fall are the very expensive factory backed racing teams.

NASCAR, to my disappointment, continues to soldier on.

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