Change in focus for SportsCar magazine proposed

Change in Focus for SportsCar Magazine Proposed Opinion copyright (c) 1994 John P. M. Dillon; Uploaded by the author. *********************** This article was originally published in the February(?) 1995, issue of MotoRacing magazine.

Change in Focus for SportsCar Magazine Proposed

Opinion copyright (c) 1994 John P. M. Dillon; Uploaded by the author.

*********************** This article was originally published in the February(?) 1995, issue of MotoRacing magazine. MotoRacing is currently on sale at selected newstands in the west, or you can call 1-800-58-KELLY to subscribe ($18 per year). ***********************

No doubt most of the readership is familiar with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), a national club of over 50,000 automotive enthusiasts. The SCCA has it's roots in road racing, but today's organization has three major arenas: road racing, slaloming and rallying. Until 1993 or 1994, a fourth arm--SCCA Pro--gave members professional racing options as an integral part of the club.

SCCA Pro Racing has a long tradition of exciting series, including Can Am and Trans Am, Super Vee and Formula Atlantic. As someone still relatively new to the organization, this editor can't and won't attempt to recount the history of this arm, nor will we address the controversy of the great "amateur/pro" debate of twenty plus years ago.

A year or two ago the SCCA nominally divested itself of SCCA Pro, forming a separate organization to minimize its tax exposure in the changing economy. This new entity continues to sanction numerous professional series as alluded to in a previous column.

Concurrently with the divestiture of SCCA Pro, the SCCA deigned it necessary to reduce operating expenses. One way it proposed to cut costs was by reducing the number of pages in it's house organ, a monthly magazine called [italic]SportsCar[normal].

[italic]SportsCar[normal] is published for the SCCA by Racer Communications. As an instrument of the club, it details club racing across the country (including rally and autocross), publishes proposed specifications and classifications, and reports on protests, actions, rules interpretations and clarifications.

The magazine also features extensive coverage of SCCA Pro events. Looking at recent issues, it's clear that the [italic]pro[normal] ranks get the most emphasis from the [italic]club[normal]'s national magazine despite the fact that SCCA Pro Racing is no longer affiliated with the club racing organization.

Considering these factors, This correspondent suggests that it's time to [italic]eliminate Pro Racing coverage from SportsCar.[normal]

Here's the reasoning, in no particular order:

1) SCCA Pro is no longer officially affiliated with SCCA, Inc.

2) Numerous magazines, including this one [MotoRacing], publish reports and results from the various SCCA Pro series.

3) SportsCar would be able to focus more on its amateur programs, theoretically the lifeblood of the SCCA.

4) By providing more coverage of amateur events, amateur entrants would receive more exposure, thus making it easy for them to move into the Pro ranks (if that is their goal). This is the proverbial "win- win" situation.

5) Costs would be reduced thanks to the number of reduced pages.

While I advocate reducing the page count by eliminating Pro coverage, I'm not stating that we should give up all the pages formerly filled by Pro events. Instead, we should split the difference to reduce the count. It's important that we [italic]add[normal] to the regional coverage; otherwise the benefits of a national magazine will be further reduced.

There might be those who feel that cutting the Pro articles would drive away advertisers. However, advertisers go where the market is. The vast majority of ads in SportsCar are aimed at the amateur market and it's doubtful that those vendors would pull their ads. In fact just the opposite should occur; with expanded amateur coverage, the vendors would have a larger reader base and would be MORE motivated to advertise in the club's magazine.

SCCA Pro has a long tradition of quality racing and the SCCA's club magazine SportsCar has faithfully and honorably reported on those events. However, with other racing magazines now providing decent coverage of the Pro ranks, and with Pro's removal from the SCCA umbrella, it's time to return the club's racing magazine to its roots. Give [italic]SportsCar[normal] the mandate to cover only those articles that relate to the various forms of its amateur programs.

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