In 1992 I received a direct mailing talking about a new magazine called RACER. The mission of RACER, to provide a window into the world of racing, was tremendously exciting to me. As a mechanical engineering student who wanted to become an engineer with Penske Racing or McLaren, it was very difficult to find reputable sources of information about what was going in the world of racing and racecars. I didn’t own a TV, the internet at that time was about very bare text message boards, and the few European racing magazines were too expensive for me to contemplate subscribing to. I would read as much as I could for free when I had the time to hang out at a local café and bookstand (which was not very often), so as a result I barely knew anything. Case in point, when I applied for a job at Rahal Racing, tracking down their address in Ohio required an entire afternoon of card catalog searching at Stanford’s Green Library. I kid you not. Things have changed in the past 20 years.
I became a charter subscriber. RACER went on to blow my mind as it expanded my horizons. To feed my design engineering curiosity, it featured achingly gorgeous monthly photographic profiles of important race cars. It helped me understand the complex strategies – sporting, business and organizational – which drive successful racing teams. From a people perspective, RACER gave me insights into the thought and behavioral patterns of legendary design innovators such as Dan Gurney, Adrian Newey, Gordon Murray, and many more.
Above all, RACER’s crisp editorial point of view helped me crystallize a deep belief in the power of acting over just talking, the value of making decisions, and the stark reality that in order to win a race, you have to first show up and start. It made a big impact on this impressionable college kid. For those of you who don’t know much about racing (or perhaps don’t care – which is fine, just keep reading metacool!), being a racer is a lot like being an entrepreneur (and most racers are entrepreneurs): it means making the most of what you’ve got, and putting everything you’ve got into what you’re doing. It’s about being remarkable. It’s a world where, in the words of racer Roger Penske, effort does indeed equal results.
RACER celebrated its 20th anniversary this past weekend with a big party (it was a good one, I must say!) at the Long Beach Grand Prix. And as part of this big milestone, it is being relaunched as RACER 3.0, with a new aesthetic approach and a big new attitude – with a bunch of future innovations in the works. The extremely gnarly relaunch cover of the May 2012 issue is pictured above, and it features my favorite new race car, the Delta Wing. Does that look killer, or what? The theme of the issue is “Game Changers”, and I’m deeply honored to have written its introductory essay. Thank you, RACER.
If you happen to already subscribe to RACER, I hope you like what I wrote. If you don't subscribe, please do! Here's a link to an online version of the article.
For now, let’s all get back to making a dent in the universe! WFO, people, WFO. Be a racer!