It is a general phenomenon that car racing is under appreciated in Nigeria but equally, we should understand the fact that there are a lot of people interested in the sports. In this article, we pledge to faithfully provide weekly trending gist on Formula One car race around the world and we hope it helps in all possible ways to quench your thirst and keep your fire for motorsports burning while we blatantly hope that somehow and someday, motorsports becomes a recognized sport in Nigeria.
Car Racing in Africa and Nigeria.
Hmmm! Car racing. When I hear “car racing” what comes to mind for me is the cute F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton; He’s a fine boy with this cute baby boy look- #issababyboy! To be candid, those types are the major heartbreakers.. Lol. But again the rhetorical question is asked: do people really care about car racing in Nigeria? This curiosity prompted the decision to research on car racing in Nigeria and in Africa generally . It turns out that though a sizeable number of people watch Formula 1 races but very few actually participate in the sport. In addition to his racing prowess, Lewis Hamilton is the first black man to participate in the formula 1 Grand Prix competition. In Nigeria very few opportunities are available for people with genuine interest in car racing and since the resources in our dear country does not support it, they are left with high hopes as they follow the world competitions and then wet their car racing thirst by playing racing video games. They also practice and sharpen their skills by go-karting in the few available go-kart facilities in the country; people have been able to establish themselves in go-karting but haven’t been able to go further due to unavailability of infrastructure and funding for motor sports in the country.
This is the plight in almost every country in the African continent except for South Africa that had prior contact with motorsports with the South African Grand Prix. Although various issues accumulated and led to the eventual discontinuation of the competition in the country in 1993. However, South Africans are hopeful that the country will be reinstated as a Grand Prix host as over 60% are in support of the return. To further fuel their hope, the new organizers of the Formula One competition have announced their desire to expand the sport globally to places such as London, New York and South Africa. In response to this statement, polls have been run both locally (in South Africa) and internationally (across the world) for F1 fans around the world to vote for the next place they wish to see an F1 race on the sport’s calendar. This polls came out in favour of South Africa with 60% of the local population in favour and across the world coming as the third choice with 13,000 votes. This gives Africa a ray of hope for a renewed local participation in motorsports. Let’s just hope South Africa is able to overcome logistics, licensing and corruption.
In Nigeria, one person has been able to go past the unfavourable circumstances, although we can say he was able to do that because he moved out of the country to the UK to further his education. Ovie Iroro is the first Nigerian to participate in the Formula Ford Championship. History was made in 2014 when he signed up to be the first Nigerian to ever compete in the British Formula Ford Championship. Ovie started his motorsport journey here in Lagos, where he won his first ever Go Karting championship at the age of 16. He later moved to the United Kingdom where he studied full time alongside pursuing his racing career. He also gained further Go Karting experience by competing in the Rye House club championship and winning the award for the top rookie. In 2012 he signed up with a Formula Renault team, where he took part in a successful training program over a few months as his first taste into F1 style single seater racing. In 2014, history was made when he signed up to be the first Nigerian to ever compete in the British Formula Ford Championship, which is the same place the likes of Jenson Button and the great Ayrton Senna started their car racing careers. He achieved impressive results in his debut season, including top 10 class finishes and is currently undergoing a training program for a full on assault for the championship next season. He has since been training regularly while completing his Mechanical Engineering degree at the University College, London.
A closer look at Ovie, one would see that there are other young talented Nigerians interested in motor sports but cannot further due to lack of opportunities. Participating and even winning a Formula One championship seems impossible but it is not. The government and wealthy business people can invest in motorsports, it is very lucrative and the youngins can get a shot at what they love. They can start from local car racing competitions, then move to hosting lesser world wide car racing competitions like the GT Series. Hosting a motorsports competition like any other sports competition is a very good source of revenue through tourism and would make a very big impact on the local economy. Likewise, successfully hosting a GT series is a ticket to eventually bringing Formula One to Nigeria. The revenue and exposure such will bring to Nigeria will be overwhelming. Hence, investing in and promoting motor sports in Nigeria is, in a long run a win-win for everyone.