Are racetracks in peril?


European racetracks are having a tough time.

Despite financial problems at Spain’s Jerez de la Frontera racetrack, Visordown is reporting the first European MotoGP race of the season will still be underway there on April 3. 
The courts have frozen the track’s circuit management company’s assets over 2.5 million euro in unpaid debts, and earlier speculation had the race torpedoed by money woes.

If you’ve got tickets to the 2011 race you can breathe easy now, but there’s a bigger question here: Is motorcycle racing in trouble? seems to think so.

The Italian website lists Jerez de la Frontera, Germany’s Nurburgring, and tracks in its own country such as Monza, Imola, Pergusa, and Vallelunga as prime examples of a sport in decline; writer Massimo Falcioni says rising costs at the tracks are making it harder and harder to operate, as well as driving up track day fees and ticket prices for fans, making the sport less accessible to viewers and those who just want to practice.

The economic recession has also hurt advertising, sponsorships and factory racing funding, he also writes. Need more evidence? MotoGP’s move to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes appear to be planned with tighter finances in mind.

We’d love to know what you think on this issue. Are you noticing changes at your road racing track? Have added safety measures or insurance hikes driven up the cost of your racing efforts? Is racing getting too expensive?


  1. The automobile has been made the whipping boy of failing western economies. The true culprit is government that prints money to support the ever escalating demands of public unions (and their dinosaur relative, the UAW).
    The decline of motor racing is more due to the video game generation. Teenagers don’t know a box end wrench from an impact driver. A car is nothing more than a collection of electrons on their I-pad.

  2. So long as there is more than one motorcycle left in the world there will be a motorcycle race. What there may not be is a whole raft of carpetbaggers lookin to reap the fruits.

  3. Having said that I do feel motorcycle racing has to some extent, so far, escaped the future by allowing various engine layouts … and the riders are pretty exposed to the danger of exceeding the limit.
    And we do have the Isle of Man … for now.

  4. This is a bandwagon I can jump on … along with turbine engines at Indy, in F1 we had the full monty of engine layouts with inline 4, V6, V8, V12, boxer 12, H16, and others. All sorts of different sounds to titillate the senses (think V12 Matra down the back straight at Mosport). It was a wild world of experimentation with small teams doing extraordinary things … albeit with a lot of death.

    I also noticed that one of the best vantage points at Mosport (at the top of turn 2) has been fucked up by a chainlink fence which you have to look through at an angle (doesn’t work) to see the cars coming out of turn 1.
    Motor racing has lost it’s soul. I won’t mention Nascar (whoops I did) :cry

  5. “Or even Andy Granatelli’s Turbine Indy Car…”

    Ah yes, the Lotus wedge cars. Beautiful. Driven by Joe Leonard and….?

  6. Maybe Im too old ..
    Anyone who was a witness to Mark Donnehue and his #6 CanAm Porsche,
    Or Ken Tyrell’s 6 wheel F1 machine
    Or even Andy Granatelli’s Turbine Indy Car ..
    knows what we have lost on the track.

    Too much money !
    at all levels has corrupted competition and innovation to the point that premier racing is little more than a parade of sponsors.
    (And I used to wonder if AJ Foyt actually sat on an Olsonite Toilet Seat in his #14 )

    Add to this the recent demise of the appeal of Nascar, where drivers went from being Good Ol’ Boys to pampered twits and you can see that racing is even more removed from the general public.

    Thank gawd for vintage clubs

  7. Batteries or regular fuel have nothing to do with that …. going to MotoGP race and hearing birds around the track will definitely not make me run buy a ticket.

    In my opinion the article is too vague and draws conclusion without showing us the data. If I am not mistaken all of the Euro GPs have great attendance numbers. So lets throw that out of equation. The owners of the track not making money has probably little to do with attendance in Europe.

    Could it be that tracks are not much of use between MotoGP or WSBK racing and thus the money made in few races cannot outweigh the overall costs? Quite possible … but then we’ve gone through worldwide recession so people might different priorities.

  8. I won’t be surprised to see the end of racing vehicles with internal combustion engine vehicle in my lifetime.

    These days, the use of gasoline on racing is becoming considered gauche and wasteful by the general public and I also don’t see electric racing picking up the slack that traditional racing is going to leave behind.

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