Number 242: The Heroes Issue

Defining who the true heroes of our sport are is at best a highly subjective task. Most drivers who reach the top levels are a hero to someone. Which means every edition of RACER, by its very nature, will contain stories of heroes. For example, three drivers featured in last month’s issue, Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon and Gilles Villeneuve are, without any shadow of a doubt, heroes to millions. So if your own personal hero doesn’t appear in at least one of our stories this month, we apologize. Although RACER has expanded in size lately, it would need to be of...well, truly heroic proportions to include all the drivers we wanted to include in our pages.

Now, can a car be a hero? Depends if you think cars have personalities. We think they do, so why not a heroic one? A car with a big personality, and one that for decades has defined American sports cars, is the Chevrolet Corvette. Almost 60 years on from the debut of Harley Earl’s elegant original, we were thrilled when GM and Pratt & Miller moved mountains (and a very large semi hauler) to bring the latest racing ’Vette, the C6.R, to Rick Graves’ studio for our latest In Focus shoot. As you read this, Corvette Racing is preparing to write another heroic chapter in its recent Le Mans history. We wish it bon chance!

Heading into the 96th Indianapolis 500, questions hang over the new Dallara’s inherent oval speed, and the engine rules. (When is homologation not homologation? When a recently spec series is trying to juggle equalization, apparently.) Thankfully, even in far more politically tense times than these, the “500” has proven a cornerstone of racing heritage that will always rise above bickering. The Brickyard is a stage for heroic deeds, so be sure to read Robin Miller’s celebration of IMS legends.

Before the start of the “500,” some 4,500 miles east, Sergio Perez will have just completed his second Monaco Grand Prix. Sauber’s Mexican F1 phenom has won the hearts and minds of his compatriots and the attention of Ferrari. We investigate if he’s ready to deliver on the expectation.