DRIVING A RACE CAR TO WORK EVERY DAY
Imagine heading to work. You grab your keys, just like every other day, and head to your car to make the familiar commute. But unlike every other day, you’re driving a race car. You would rumble into work in a low, thunderous monster of a race car with cage and all. Your colleagues could be wildly impressed, or most probably, confused and annoyed. Who cares? You’re driving a race car.
The problem with this fantasy though, is that race cars are made for just that – racing. Driving a race car to work would be like putting a jet ski in a pool. Yes, it would technically work, but there would be no point other than saying “well, I did that.”
That being said, humans are nothing if not curious so we won’t blame you for wanting to know what it would be like to feel like Michael Schumacher for a day. But before you blow your kids’ college funds on something like this, take a look at why driving a race car to work is not the best idea.
Not Just Background Noise.
We’re not talking about the regular V6 rumble or the screech of tyres. We’re talking about the kind of noise that doesn’t even let you hear yourself think. All the sounds that wouldn’t bother you when you’re speeding around a track at 250km/h suddenly turn into a cacophony of annoying squeaks, bumps, and grinds when you drive at a legal speed.
You Won’t Be Stepping Out in Style
If you’ve been in a race car before, you’ll know that getting in and out of your car is no joke. If you haven’t, imagine trying to get out of a bucket after falling into it rear-end first. Between the cage, racing bucket seats and the harness, getting in and out without help takes some practice and at least a minimum level of fitness.
Seatbelt or Gordian Knot?
The people who complain about the unbelievable effort of clipping in a seatbelt have never been in a race car. A conventional seatbelt is child’s play compared to the Gordian knot that is a race car harness. A racing harness is hard to get out of, which is understandable to say the least. If it were easy to get out of, it would not be safe. But you’re not racing around a track, you’re commuting to work at a ridiculous speed of maybe 70km/h. We guarantee that you’ll feel drastically less cool after having to ask your co-workers to help you out of your seat.
Race cars are built for precision handling and impossible speeds, not comfort. Most races are over within 10 to 25 minutes. While this might seem long compared to your 5-minute grocery trip, it’s a wildly different experience. When you’re going around a track, you’re filled with adrenaline that makes small things like an itchy seatbelt or cramped muscles seem unimportant. If the only adrenaline spike you get is when trying to parallel park on a busy road, you’re not going to have a good (read comfortable) time.
In addition to this, race cars don’t have the luxuries of a conventional car – no radio, no electric windows (or windows at all sometimes), no extra space.
Throw Practicality to The Wind.
Not only do you not have the traction nor wheel grip that come from hot tyres on a race track, you’ll also have to deal with very cramped seating. There would be no grocery bags in the backseat, because there is no backseat. As a matter of fact, there is no nothing other than the driver’s seat. If you take this into consideration along with the lack of features, a race car as an every day driver doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
A fact about race cars that some people might not know, is that race car tyres heat up while going around the track and the heat is caused by the increased speed. This helps the tyres grip the track and make sharper turns safer. This doesn’t happen when you’re going 60 km/h down a road. The tyres are wider to grip the road, but this also means that race cars value performance over comfort. Wider tyres lead to lower ride quality and higher fuel consumption.
You’ll Be Burning Cash, Not Rubber.
Race car drivers like Lewis Hamilton have countless willing sponsors who make their careers a possibility by covering the costs of vehicle maintenance or replacement, racing suits, and track time. Conventional cars, on the contrary, are long-term investments. With proper care and maintenance, your car should be able to last you more than a decade. Race cars, however, aren’t meant for cross-country road trips. Enzo Ferrari explained it perfectly when he said that “the perfect race car disintegrates as it crosses the finish line.”
You probably won’t be replacing your hypothetical race car as often if you’re not burning it out on track days, but it certainly won’t last you as long as a conventional car. And trust us, race cars are not cheap at all.
What’s the Verdict?
We definitely don’t recommend using a race car as an everyday car, but that doesn’t mean that you have to let go of that dream completely. Our next article is all about tips from actual race car drivers that you can apply to your own driving. Not only could it improve your driving, but you can also hold on to a little piece of your racing fantasies.
If you think you have what it takes to write an article on the automotive world, contact us! We would love to publish your article. Send us a message on our Contact Page with your article pitch, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Drive safely!
ALL ABOARD THE LESBIAN-MOBILE!
Did you know that lesbians are four times more likely to own a Subaru than any other customer? No, not because it’s big enough to fit the whole gang on the way to Pride or because it makes moving in together after the second date that much easier. People often joke about the Lezbaru, but the stereotype is more than just that. Subaru has become one of the most well-known LGBT-cars in history for a very good reason. Their marketing team made the active, purposeful decision to target the LGBT community with progressive advertising campaigns way back in the 90’s. This Pride Month, we’d like to give you some history about the little all-wheeler that could and the dedicated team that turned it into the lesbian-mobile it still is today.
Let’s start by pointing out that people in the 90’s weren’t very accepting of the gay community. In SA, homosexuality was still a criminal act punishable by up to seven years in prison. In the US, the Clinton administration had just started their “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the Defence of Marriage Act was at its heels. It’s no surprise that companies using marketing that even hinted at LGBT themes were criticised, boycotted, and even threatened by the public.
The early 90’s weren’t the best for Subaru either. Their sales dropped by more than 14% due to upcoming competitors and failed marketing. Their slump was blamed on inconsistent company strategies that confused and alienated their client base. That is, until Mulryan Nash Advertising came into the picture.
Subaru found that their “sturdy, but drab” cars were popular amongst niche audiences. Subarus weren’t flashy, but they were tough, capable, and practical cars. For this very reason they were popular amongst teachers, medical professionals, outdoorsy types – and lesbians. Tim Bennet, who was director of advertising at the time, found that in states like Oregon, Seattle, and Massachusetts, “the head of the household would be a single person—and often a woman,” who was more often than not a lesbian. After holding focus group meetings, they found out that Subarus were perfect for lesbians’ discreet, usually active lifestyles.
Subaru partnered with dozens of different companies (that catered to certain niches) to offer discounts to patrons when they bought a Subaru. The LGBT companies, like Rainbow Card, drove some of the most sales for years and encouraged the Japanese auto-manufacturer to push forward.
That Seems… Gay?
Their marketing tactics weren’t exactly straight-forward (pun intended). Instead of slapping two men kissing on a billboard and saying “Come and get it!”, they opted for very subtle marketing strategies. Their ambiguous slogans could have been construed differently depending on who saw them. “Get out. Stay out” could have simply meant that you should go exploring more – or it could mean coming out of the closet. Their ads also contained references to LGBT pop culture like Provincetown and Xena the Warrior Princess. This marketing technique came to be known as “gay vague” and became fairly popular with many household brands (much later, of course).
Don’t misunderstand. Subaru never hid their support of the gay community. They openly funded events, donated to charities and partnered with companies that were involved in/part of the community. Many companies were completely on-board with the idea.
When one Subaru ad man, Tim Mahoney, proposed the gay-targeting ads in talks with Japanese executives, the executives hurriedly looked up “gay” in their dictionaries. Upon reading the definition, they nodded at the idea enthusiastically. Who wouldn’t want happy or joyous advertising?
For Some, “Gay” Did Not Mean “Happy”
Some members of the public (and even some Subaru team members) did not appreciate this open support of the gay community. Subaru started receiving several letters from people stating that they would never buy a Subaru again in their lives after they saw the campaigns. Instead of being dismayed, Subaru did some research. Almost none of the people who responded negatively to their ads had ever actually bought a Subaru. Some of the letters even misspelled their brand name. Needless to say, Subaru simply kept going. Their team was committed to supporting a community that they believed to be under-served and “the perfect customers”.
Ever the Trendsetter
Subaru’s unflinching support was definitely part of the reason why countless brands and companies are now sporting rainbow logos in the month of June. Subaru’s success in the face of adversity has spurred other automotive manufacturers to follow suit. Many are using trendy photography and quirky taglines that are much bolder than what Subaru started with, but never forget who paved the way.
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