The Battle for Rally Racing

By Phineas Upham

Rally racing, for the uninitiated, is one of the most exciting sports to watch. It can take a long time to complete a course, several days in fact, but there is no more exciting way to watch people battle the elements and themselves. Rally racing takes sheer determination. It’s easy to wreck your car, and spectators can present a risk to drivers too.

The sport has been short on cash for years, and its current form may have to change dramatically for anything substantial to occur. There are famous racers, incredible cars and majestic tracks. There just isn’t the money to keep every corner staffed and safe.

The World Touring Car Championships weren’t always in this predicament. In fact, the first season of rally racing almost killed the circuit precisely because of its popularity. The European circuit had been a mainstay of racing for years, but the world circuit brought new courses like Mount Fuji in Japan.

The winner of the tournament even changed hands in a controversial decision, stripping the West German drives Klaus Ludwig and Klaus Niedzwiedz. Apparently, the results were misjudged in the original determination, and the Italian Roberto Ravaglia (who drove the German BMW M3) was declared the winner.

Despite this controversy, the WTCC circuit caught fire and its popularity threatened Formula 1. Rally had speed, danger and thrill in spades. FIA attempted to compete with its own sanctioned race, but failed to get manufacturers to support it. Rally continues for the same reason it always will, because it involves cars we drive every day.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn page.