Motorsport has continually evolved over the past century but one thing has remained consistent throughout: it is bloody expensive. Where a tennis player needs little more than a pair of shoes and racket to get onto a court, a budding racing driver needs fireproof underwear, overalls and a helmet. And then a four-wheeled money pit to, you know, sit in. It's inevitably costly, even in the lowest-rungs of competition where the sport has become increasingly professional. To ensure its longterm survival, motorsport must adapt.
That's the opinion of leading forces behind the UK's governing motorsport body, anyway. As a result, the MSA has announced some fairly ambitious plans to give racing in Britain a welcome boost - and underlined the change strategy by renaming itself Motorsport UK. Apparently the powers-that-be thought the old name too institutional (funny that), although its replacement will continue to do what it says on the tin: namely promote and govern most forms of motorsport in the UK.
According to MUK (unfortunate) there are some 30,000 racing licence holders in Britain, the majority of which are hobbyists rather than young guns mounting a charge for a professional career. For this reason, the body's CEO Hugh Chambers wants his organisation to switch from a being "regulator and administrator" to an organisation that "places the promotion and marketing of the sport, and customer service at the front and centre of everything [it does]".
The key pledge of this new approach is making it easier to get into motorsport in the first place. The biggest barrier for most is, of course, cost, so it'll be interesting to see how MUK can encourage more people to part with their hard-earned money. Also worthy of attention is a pledge to increase the presence of electric and autonomous technology into British racing. Will we see grassroots versions of EV and Roborace in the future? It's currently hard to imagine - but at the same time, probably necessary if motorsport is going to move with the times.
If there's a country to lead such a shift in grassroots motorsport, it's Britain. As Motorsport UK's breezy new video explains, Britain is home to seven of the ten F1 teams currently racing, the most F1 champions and Le Mans winners, as well as countless engineering and design talents. Plus, let us not forget that beneath all that grassroots motor racing in Britain is in reasonably good health.
Earlier this year the UK's first closed-road rally stage was allowed to take place thanks to a change in legislation, and next year will see the launch of a new endurance series featuring the humble Mk1 Ford KA - precisely the sort of low-cost event you'd imagine MUK is now keen to get behind. Let's forget either the countless independent innovators, like Scotland's eRally, which is at the forefront of pushing for an all-electric junior rally class and even created the first working car for the class out of a Renault Zoe. Plenty for Motorsport UK to get on with 'promoting and marketing' we'd wager.