THE SILENT KILLER OF MOTORSPORT
Sound is everything when it comes to performance vehicles and motorsport. Well, 0-100kph means a bit too, but just park that thought.
With electric vehicles peeking over the fence, I can’t help but wonder (channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw), what the future of muscle cars and motor racing will be, and how will it be sold?
After all, how do you market a silent musical instrument?
First world problem, maybe, but for industries where sound is DNA, will electric vehicles sink motorsport?
EVs are inevitable. EV tech is incredible.
Actually, I take it back, EVs do make a sound. For they have climbed that fence and are now knocking on your front door.
Mainstream EVs are closer than you think. Way closer.
I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m driving one (if not a hybrid) with gusto.
Formula 1 is upping the volume (they get it). As for other categories, I’m not so sure. It feels like the EV revolution has its mouth open ready swallow them. Are promotors ready to market emphysemic electric dragsters? Seriously, how do you convince fans to turn up to an AC/DC concert pumped through transistor radio speakers?
Formula E marketers are giving it a go. Their promotions make way more noise than the cars on the track (you’ve only to watch a broadcast to see what I’m talking about). But can you build a live, at-track following when your cars mimic mice copulating behind a fridge? Sure, I get it’s a platform for manufacturers to flex their tech biceps and for street circuit promoters to lick their lips, but what of the fans? Or is it a case of customers first, fans second, or a bit of both? It’ll certainly be interesting to watch how Formula E quietly plays out.
Remember, at a track, motorsport is as much about feeling as it is about watching. No sound, no soul.
The company 'Charge' recently unveiled a 500horsepower EV 1967 Mustang at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed (I know, it takes a moment to compute). Impressive numbers, both under the hood and on the PR front, but seriously, who wants to own a muscle car with gagged grunt? You drive a Stang to turn heads, not to tippy-toe past them. Serendipity in performance motoring and motorsport is body, performance AND sound, right? My fingers are crossed.
Companies make Mustangs and Camaros because of the emotional wake - much of which comes down to symphonic signatures (yes, a 4 cylinder Mustang exists, but l’m choosing to ignore it, here). Harley Davidson has a voice as distinctive as your father's, and perhaps just as guttural.
Over time, electric engines will etch their own audible signatures into our ears. But will a manufactured electric shriek enter our souls the same way a screaming V10 does? Kind of feels like cheating; I’ll hold judgement until I hear one in the metal.
I guess it’s generational. A case of you don’t miss what you don’t know or have never heard, live. Still, it’s a challenge for marketers who are still relying on delicious engine roars to stir souls.
Ironically, motorsport is where much of the EV development happens. But is the quest for efficiency cutting off motorsport’s nose cone to spite its grille?
Without a drum, motorsport, muscle and performance cars are humdrum.
Which makes it a tough marketing ask to find the beat right.