Fast is Pretty!

The aero kits are here!  For three (or is it four?) years, I’ve been listening to IndyCar fans, bloggers, media, and even critics, talk about aero kits.  For the past few months, we’ve been anticipating their release, and finally Chevrolet released their kit three weeks ago.  It was met with a great deal of scrutiny, and we awaited the release of Honda’s version.  That finally came last night.  Reaction has been mixed, but isn’t it always when it comes to IndyCar?

Before I launch into the body of this post, I must credit Megan with the inspiration for the title.  It came in response to my tweet asking if I am the only IndyCar fan who doesn’t really care how pretty the car is.  If there’s good racing, I’m happy.  I was very pleased to learn I am definitely not the only IndyCar fan who feels that way.

Let me start by saying I seem to be one of the few fans who doesn’t absolutely hate the look of the DW12.  And I absolutely love the safety aspects of the car.  Has it been perfect?  No, of course it hasn’t.  Auto racing is an inherently dangerous sport and there is no way to remove 100% of the danger.  But advances in the racetracks and the cars have made it much safer than it has been in the past.

If you don’t think the DW12 has given us three seasons of amazing racing, well I honestly don’t know what series you’ve been watching.  I’ve attended the last three Indy 500s in person and what I’ve observed is amazing racing down to the final laps.  Even though two of those races ended under caution, they were all nail biters to the very end.  And I will trade that for whatever the rest of the world considers a “pretty” car any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

Part of me believes there is something to be said for a driver who is good enough to drive a spec car better than everyone else on the track, and thus end up as race winner or season champion.

I am not one who is drawn in by how “pretty” or “ugly” a racecar is.  Maybe that’s due to the manner in which my IndyCar fandom began–by listening to the Indy 500 on the radio with my dad out in our driveway while we worked on some chore together.  I had no idea what the cars looked like.  I was drawn in by the sound of the engines as the cars sped around the track.  Even when we’d watch races on TV, the look of the cars never made much impression on me.  I looked for the red blur or the blue blur, or the yellow blur or the white blur, and knew that was the driver I was rooting for.

I do understand the position of those who say teams should able to make some design changes to their cars.  I would not be at all opposed to that, as long as it didn’t mean one or two teams were constantly racing each other while the majority of drivers were mired in the back of the pack every race.  I can see the argument that those who have more talent, innovation, or pure luck deserve to benefit from it, but as a fan, I want to see great racing where there are any number of drivers who could win a given race.  And I don’t care what the car looks like.

A friend of mine has a gorgeous car.  It looks great as she drives down the road and I’ve seen people react and make comments to her about it.  But you put a tiny bit of ice, or snow, or sometimes even rain, on the ground, and that rear-wheel-drive car is useless.  Unfortunately, we live in a place that sees some ice, snow, and rain for a good portion of the year.  So the car sits parked in her driveway, and she is often stuck at home because her car doesn’t perform well.  But hey, it’s pretty, right?

I’ll go further than saying I’m not drawn in by a pretty car.  I flat out do not care how pretty a car is.  You could show me the most gorgeous racecar ever designed, but if it goes 3/4 of the speed of the other cars on the track, I’m not going to like that car.

These days I try to attend 2-3 races per season, and just like when I watched races on TV as a little girl, when I’m watching the cars go around the track at speed, I’m seeing blurs of color.  I don’t see this winglet here and that nose there.  So yay aero kits, but here’s hoping the racing is as good this season as it has been for the past three.  That will make me happy, regardless of what the cars look like.

Let me add a disclaimer here, lest anyone misunderstand me.  I am not at all saying all the debate, discussion, scrutiny, and analysis is a bad thing.  If there are those who do care about the visual appeal of the car, more power to them.  I personally believe pretty much anything that gets people talking about IndyCar is a great thing.  So please, fans, dissect every square inch of the Chevy and Honda aero kits!  Decide what you like, what you don’t like, and criticize to your heart’s content.

As for me, I’ll decide which aero kit I like–if any–when we see them racing out on the track.  If the racing is still great, I’ll be a happy girl.  After all, Fast is Pretty!

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