OURSLER: The Rambling Road
When mistakes are made, today’s society frequently tears down the rich and famous, finding fault with almost everything. The idea of holding someone accountable is fundamental for achieving progress. Yet to achieve progress one must be accountable for mistakes in order to avoid repeating them moving forward.
Unfortunately, those running the new TUDOR United Sports Car Championship seem to have been in the cafeteria, drinking coffee the day that memo was sent around to their offices at IMSA, the series’ official sanctioning body. For those who might question all of this, they need only to look at the clarity of IMSA’s failures at this year’s Sebring 12-Hour where “poor vision” and five or so hours spent running behind the pace car spoiled the show for fans and participants alike.
In point of fact, however, it isn’t so much about the mistakes as is about the word “anticipation.” The true tragedy of Sebring is that for whatever reasons, the folks at IMSA appear to have been behind the power curve from the start, the first example of which was their apparent inability to come up with a set timely of rules.
Clearly, melding the disparities between the homegrown Daytona Prototypes from the Grand-Am Rolex Sports car Series with the American Le Mans Series’ LMP2 sports racers was a challenge. However, given that the amalgamation of the two championships was announced in the summer of 2012, and given that all the officials from both camps weren’t racing rookies, but had extensive experience motorsport management experience, one has to wonder what they were doing in the more than 14 before the first combined tests last November.
Did they not take a Daytona Prototype and an LMP2 counterpart and do some private testing? The answer, given the fact that the last regulatory changes to the series’ Rolex 24 opener came on the morning of the race, would appear to be in the negative.
As if that weren’t enough, what were series officials thinking when the let loose the revised DPs, with their extra horsepower and extra downforce, on Daytona’s high banks using last year’s tires? Didn’t they consult the people supplying the tires? Again, one suspects that didn’t happen because almost any good tire engineer would have told them that for safety the black and round stuff on which the cars roll needed to be redesigned in order to take into account the bump up in performance.
However, let’s leave that aside and concentrate on the finish of the Rolex 24, where officials first penalized the GT Daytona winning Ferrari for hitting the second place Audi in a last lap duel between the two for the victory, and before forced to reverse themselves when the video tape of the two showed they didn’t touch.
In light of the fact that the tape did exist and could be reviewed within minutes after the finish and that if the penalty that was called had stood, the winning order would have been revised. Might it have been better to wait a few more minutes to make the call? Not until later did the officials reverse themselves –basically after everyone had gone home.