Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More bad news - Honda cancelling NSX replacement

Honda's CEO made his end of the year speech outlining the company's direction for the next year along with changes that they will need to make to deal with the current world economic troubles. The most important change, to enthusiasts anyway, is the cancellation of further development of the V10 powered NSX replacement. Instead, the company will focus on more profitable models along with fuel saving technologies and alternative power sources.

Things just keep getting worse.

Here is the link to the speech summary.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Subaru withdraws from WRC

As I wrote yesterday, the economic disaster we are going through is taking a toll on auto racing. In a stunning announcement, Subaru has decided to end it's factory racing program in the World Rally Championship. Since Suzuki has already announced they too will leave the WRC, this leaves only Citroen and Ford as the only factory backed teams in the series.

This is really sad since the Subaru name is virtually synonymous with rally racing. Subaru entered the rally scene in 1989 by joining forces with Prodrive and together they have won six championship titles and featured some great drivers like Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg.

Not good news for the WRC since they are in the midst of implementing rules changes to lure some other manufacturers to the series and gain back some recently lost popularity. To me it won't be the same without seeing Mitsubishi and Subaru battling it out on the rally circuit.

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.