Former F1 driver Anthony Davidson has hit out at the forgiving nature of modern racing circuits, saying they encourage dangerous driving.
Davidson (pictured with Toyota WEC team mate Stephane Sarrazin) told The Guardian “a driver should be challenged and should be punished for mistakes” on racing tracks.
“We don’t want to see fans get injured or drivers get injured or killed but the drivers should get punished,” Davidson explained. “On some modern circuits it’s pathetic when you see drivers going off the track and nothing happens.”
Davidson says that although changes to tracks have been made in the interest of improving safety it has had the undesirable side-effect of encouraging more risky driving.
“The problem is, the safer the circuit becomes the more ruthless the driving becomes,” he said. “So today there is such little respect for each others’ safety on the track.”
“They feel like they can bang wheels in a straight line, but ‘the car is mega-safe – it will take it’ is the belief and therefore you get this crazy, almost borderline reckless driving coming into play.”
Davidson survived a major crash during the Le Mans 24 Hours last year when his Toyota flew into the air. He shared second place with Sarazin and Sebastien Buemi in this year’s race following a crash which claimed the life of Allan Simonsen.
Michael Carter was selected as the winner of the 2018 Mazda Road to 24 Shootout.
Carter was one of four drivers who competed for the honor and a $100,000 scholarship that went along with it. Matthew Dirks, Hannah Grisham and Loni Unser also competed.
With the scholarship, Carter will compete in the 2019 Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup.
“What a journey this has been,” said Carter in a press release. “The reason I started racing a Mazda was because of the Mazda Road to 24 Shootout. It was our one single goal all along and to finally accomplish that is surreal. The process begins next week of getting ready for next season, for the series test at Barber, and to put together a good season in the Global MX-5 Cup.”
Carter was invited to the Shootout largely because of his 2018 performance in SCCA. He finished second in the SCCA Hoosier Super Tour Points Championship, won the Spec Miata Challenge and won in Spec Miata at the American Road Race of Champions.
The 18-year-old Carter had his eye on the Road to Mazda early.
“Each year, it is exciting to see the next batch of talent that is in the pipeline,” said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports. “I heard something from Michael and his father that really hit a chord with me which was that they built a Spec Miata with the sole purpose of going up the Mazda Road to 24 ladder.
That really speaks to the challenger spirit at Mazda, to why we have the Shootout, and to the family that we have at Mazda. Michael is the driver today who walks away with the scholarship, but we had four families come together here who have all gone racing together. For all of us at Mazda, it’s very rewarding to give these families a chance to go racing together. We look forward to watching Michael take the next step in his career in next season’s Global MX-5 Cup.”