Everyone thinks their favorite racing series is the most challenging in the world. Since F1 has the most fans, it's easy for them to drown out the competition outside of North America. The sad fact is that if driving a race car were easy enough for the average person to do, then there would be no need to pay drivers exorbitant salaries.
When I hear someone complain that oval racing is all left turns I think, "Who decided right turns were so hot," or "Does drag racing make you cry?" Of course, there are some technophobes that see the technology level of a modern road race series and assume that driver aids have eliminated the need for car-control skills.
Stock cars are admittedly bulky and slow to accelerate; this is the appeal for a lot of fans. A car that weighs one and three quarters of a ton with a very powerful engine will have to slow considerably to negotiate a gentle, banked turn. It's like driving an eighteen-wheeler: it's big, clunky, and can?t drive straight line, but it's still a skill that I don?t have.
Contrast this with the average road racing car: sleek, quick, and nimble. One wrong turn in an F1 car and you?ll sprain your neck. A gentle, banked turn is no match for this car. It's like flying an F-22 Raptor. It doesn't matter how many flight controls are automated; it's a skill I don?t have. Occasionally these nimble roadsters find their way onto ovals. These days the neck snapping force tends to have more influence than slowing down for the turn, but I?m confident this trend will die soon.
I recall a few years ago when Jeff Gordon was able to attend the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis (as his Sprint Cup race was the previous night). Peter Windsor asked Jeff what he thought of driving the Williams F1 car a few years earlier, and Gordon said the car was, "On a whole different level." It?s unfortunate that people intend this to mean difficulty level. Gordon wanted to express that the car presented different challenges but could not simply be called "harder to drive". In the world of racecars (but fortunately not people), there?s still something to be said for 'separate but equal'.
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