Motorsport Q and A with Racing Journalist Wolfgang Monsehr
August 19, 2018
Senior Writer: Nelli Thomas
We have an honor to interview a very interesting individual, whose life’s passion has been closely connected to the car racing: Wolfgang Monsehr, a Motorsport-Journalist and CEO of Rennsportpresse-Agency.
1. You have a unique 40+ years experience of an eye-witnessing of the history of car racing. What are a few most interesting facts about car racing you would like to share with our readers?
Technology. Having started as a Motorsport-Journalist 52 years ago (when I was still in school) for a local newspaper, it is so surprising and fascinating for me how fast and quick the technology has been developed during this period of time, especially in the safety-area of racing-cars. For example: in the 70-ies use a material like carbon fiber was totally unknown, and even under low-speed drivers got nasty hurt or even killed. Now, carbon fiber, which is a very light but resistant material, is standard at the race-car-construction-industry.
2. If you compare car racing industry 40 years ago and now, in your opinion, what is the biggest difference?
Electronics and Computers. It is unbelievable what you can simulate nowadays with electronics and PC-Technology, BEFORE the real race-car even will be driven on the track.
3. What do you see in the future for the auto racing in the next decade?
Well, I only can speculate. Maybe self-driven-race cars without a driver (although that would be boring, I guess) or even better fuel-consumption at endurance-events with less refueling. Or maybe we will see one day a race-tire that still can be driven when it's flat, and the driver does not have to come into the pits for a tire-change. This is already existing to some degree in the road-car-tire-design, when a tire can be driven, although under slow speed, when it is flat for a distance between 50-70 miles. This technology was developed first by the French tire-giant Michelin.
4. Your home base is Germany. How popular is NASCAR in Europe at the moment?
Although Formula 1 and DTM (The highest German Touring Car-Series, where Audi, BMW and Mercedes are running works-teams) are still dominating the headlines, NASCAR is growing and becoming more and more popular in Europe, thanks to the NASCAR-Whelen-Euroseries, which is existing since 5 years now and where currently the 2000-Cup-Champion Bobby Labonte is driving. For example, in this Championship ex-Formula 1 Driver Alex Caffi is running his own team.
5. What would you say the biggest difference is between European and American car racing fans?
I think the US-Motorsport-Fans have more fun at the race-tracks. There are more activities at US-Race-Tracks beside the real event: BBQs, Open-air-Concerts, Parties....The European fans are (unfortunately) more serious.
6. What is your favorite race track in U.S. and why?
Favourite Race-Track: I guess Talladega/Alabama. I was there back in August 1975, when US-race-driver Mark Donohue set a Landspeed-World-Record for closed Race-Tracks with his Penske-Porsche 917/30-CANAM, which had unbelievable 1400bhp!!!! It made me speechless when I saw Donohue driving there.
7. What drives your passion for the car racing?
I first fall in love with motor racing when I watched a Go-Kart-race when I was a kid. That was in the late 60-ies, and from that time onwards the love for motor racing or the passion for motor racing never had stopped. It became bigger and bigger.
8. If you had a chance to go back in time and choose a different path for your life, where would you see yourself today?
I would say: Having set-up my own book-publication-company. I love books, and I read as much as I can.
9. What is the biggest challenge for a Motorsport journalist and your craft?
Although it can be exciting, nowadays with the strict rules and controls, I think the biggest challenge is travelling. Personally I cannot handle the jet-lag, so I always travel to the races very early.
10. Have you considered writing a new book about auto racing, and if so, what would you share in it?
Indeed, I am planning to write & publish a book in the next years. It will be something like an encyclopedia of US-Motorsports for European fans. There are so many races, championships, series...in America, which are totally unknown in Europe