Part of the excitement of driving is the noise a car makes, particularly a V8.

It’s one of the reasons the makers of electric cars have been experimenting with the artificial sounds.

This lack of noise is also a major drawback when it comes to electric race cars, which might be lightning fast — but do little to stimulate the senses.

In this context it is interesting to note the comments of motor racing royalty Mario Andtretti in an interview with Autoweek.

Andretti’s son Michael who runs Andretti Autosport has teams in Indy, Indy Lights and America’s Rallycross Championship, and more recently the FIA Formula E all-electric series.

andretti - mario andretti - Formula E has the attraction of a toothbrush — Andretti
Motor racing royalty Mario Andretti

But Andretti hasn’t been to any of thr Formula E races.

Cornered at Charlotte Motor Speedway where he was being honored as the pace car driver for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series Roval 400, Andretti was asked was asked about the future of motorsports, especially when it comes to electric cars.

“Well, I hate to be on a negative note on a day like today, quite honestly,” Andretti said.

“But I’m not . . .  gotta say it because it’s true, I’m not a great fan of the electric cars yet.

“Quite honestly, my son has a team in Formula E and the owner of the series, Alejandro Agag, says to Michael, ‘Michael, sometime I would like to do an interview with your father’ and Michael  said, ‘I don’t think you do’.

“To me, you take the noise away from race cars, you’re losing half the thrill, half the excitement.

“I remember when Andy Granatelli brought turbine cars to Indianapolis in 1967, the first thing that the fans were saying ‘We like it, but we cannot picture 33 cars’ — and a jet engine makes some decent noise — but even at that they didn’t like it.

“Quite honestly as a purist, and I love progress and I love technology, always did; always look forward not backward, but I have some concerns.

“Can you imagine going to a stock car race and have just a bunch of electric toothbrush noises out there?

“I think people would go out there and just have a beer after the first lap. I think the sport will be alive and well as long as we have some noise out there.”

andretti - andretti and trump - Formula E has the attraction of a toothbrush — Andretti
Mario Andretti and who’s that in the back seat?

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.