Recent updates
14 days
News and results
News Flash
Michael & Andrew Cotton
Scrutineering Bay
Kerry Morse
Not that it's any of
my business

John Brooks
Notes from the

Across the Border
Focal Point

Mail  to a friend

Baby You Can Drive
My Car

Family and friends
Your comments
Index Index
Back Back
Top of Page
World Council

Bill Oursler looks at the ways and means

  Years ago when John Bishop, the founder of the International Motor Sports
Association, was told by this columnist, then his employee, that it was too bad that
we couldn’t allow one of the better Trans Am Camaros to participate in an
upcoming GT race because it didn’t quite comply with our FIA generated GT rules,
he had a one word answer: “So?”

  Bishop was, and has remained since a realist and realistically speaking, we
desperately needed cars to fill our fields. To ignore what he perceived as a
welcome addition to our competitor base simply because the car wasn’t fitted with
headlights, clearly not needed for our short duration day event, was folly. His
practical approach to building what became one of the most important and
lucrative racing series in North America is testimony to the correctness of his

Solitude Standing
  Stability and the future of IMSA were Bishop’s goals rather than to hold absolute
power, which of course he did since he owned the place. However, Bishop was a
modest man who was goal, not ego oriented. Would the FIA have approved of the
way things were done by IMSA? Perhaps not. However, the Paris-based
organization spent many years associating with Bishop’s sanctioning body, so
what would be your guess as to how they felt.

  In the early 1980’s Bishop’s instincts told him that the FIA’s fuel economy based
Group C prototype regulations were not the way to go. Instead, he instituted his
own-power-to-weight scriptures for what were roughly the same (in some cases
were the same) prototypes cars. At the time the pressure of the FIA was
enormous for IMSA to adopt the FIA’s concept. Yet, Bishop held firm, and in the
end the popularity of Camel GT Prototypes vs. their Group C cousins, which were
not the box office successes that had been hoped, at least not in the beginning,
showed again that Bishop did right by listening to his instincts.

  Was his judgment totally unflawed ? Absolutely not, there were mistakes and in
the end the IMSA and FIA Group C universes grew much closer together. The
point is that had John Bishop been running the show at the U.S. Grand Prix in
Indianapolis, the chances are strong that he wouldn’t have hid behind the rules
as Max Mosely did. Bishop would have found a practical way to put on a race for
the fans that meant something, not the farce that was presented as a Formula
One event.

The War of the Words
  In the days that followed the USGP, I have heard much from both the supporters,
and the non-supporters of Mosely and the world governing body. And, to be fair,
both have points on their side. The problem is that Formula One in general, and
Mosely and company in particular, have become to narrowly focused; perhaps so
much so that someone should purchase them an electron microscope.

  I realize that there is much at stake in the Grand Prix arena. God knows the folks
in F-1 have budgets that could support small countries, and clearly help the
populations of some larger nations if used for social purposes. Yet, for all the
wrangling at Indy, the key ingredient that was left out of the discussions was the
ultimate consumer - not the team principles; not the sponsors, not the
manufacturers, but rather the public.

  It is the public that keeps F-1 running at the level it does, not the FIA and its
competitors; they are the ones putting on the show. F-1 forgot that fact at Indy with
their internal battles, and now they and the rest of us who are involved in, or
simply just enjoy motor sport, are going to pay for their selfishness. Racing has
grown and prospered because it has generated positive publicity and positive
marketing for those who pay for it. The increasing turmoil in F-1 between Mosely
and the teams, which was clearly shown at Indy, was anything but positive.

Bridge of Sighs
  Who knows what the long term effects well be. But, given that Formula One is,
along with NASCAR one of the two towers that holds up the suspension bridge
that is racing at the moment, then any damage to it threatens the whole of the
sport. One can say that at Indy, from the viewpoint of both sides, it was a
successful operation in that they each proved their point. The problem was that
the patient died, and I, for one, don’t think that us what anyone had in mind.

Bill Oursler
                                                                    July 2005

For the fan
Stuck in the middle with you
sportscarpros Across the Border

Features on or from Guests
Power behind the throne
For the fans
Bank on this
Self Government