“Rossi went into May unburdened
by expectation, and ended
the month having earned a
permanent place in Indy folklore”
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A glimpse of the past – and the future? The 1980 Italian GP at
Imola marked the only time that the race has left Monza...so far.
Nelson Piquet beat Alan Jones for the win, while Gilles Villeneuve
crashed a Ferrari 312T5 at the corner that now bears his name.
Edd Straw is the
regularly covers F1
for RACER. In this
issue, he explores
the sport’s struggle
to balance heritage
want to win the Indy 500 every year,”
Marco Andretti said in February. “But the
100th is a milestone. If there’s a year to
do it, this is a good one.”
The victory would elude him once again,
although he’ll take whatever solace he can
from sharing engineering meetings with
the driver who did capture it. Alexander
Rossi went into May unburdened by
expectation, and ended the month having
earned a permanent place in Indy folklore.
That sense of a victory that is great in
isolation, but which also becomes
absorbed into a greater narrative is one
of the defining qualities of a “legendary
race” – and something that we’ve tried to
tap into with the cover for RACER ’s first
Legendary Races Issue, an homage to the
Indy 500 program from 1939 (RIGHT).
But “legendary races” is a loose concept.
Some icons – Monaco, Macau, Bathurst –
are inextricably tied to the layout that
made them famous. Another member of
that club is Le Mans. This year’s encounter
delivered heartbreak and drama at the
front of the pack, and a surprisingly
lopsided battle for the returning Fords in
the GT class. In this issue, we take you
behind the scenes of both.
In some other cases though, the
distinction between legend and place
is less clear. More people probably miss
the French GP as a symbol than they do
Magny-Cours as a venue, and that idea
could be put to the test again in the near
future as Monza threatens to buckle
under the weight of rising competition
from new locales with deeper pockets.
Which prompted us to ask: Could Formula 1
survive without its traditional venues?
The answer, like everything in F1, is more
complicated than you might think.