A1 Grand Prix is in the middle of its second race weekend at EuroSpeedway (Germany) having successfully completed its first show at Brands Hatch just two weeks ago. Open wheel spec cars with spec engines, spec tires and spec aerodynamics. Identical except for drivers and paint.
Meanwhile, the DARPA Grand Challenge continues at Primm, Nevada. No spec cars. Almost no specs at all. Just "start here, finish there, no driver. And watch out for the tank traps." Vehicles include a Ford F-150, Nissan Xterra, a 1987 USMC HMMWV, a 1992 Isuzu Trooper, a motorcycle, a Jeep, a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid and a number of one-offs. Some with Ferrari quality metalwork. Others that spent their money on software.
Motorsport competition certainly includes the athletic abilities, stamina, experience and reflexes of a highly skilled driver. But truly great competition starts with the design of the car and all its components and includes the team's ability to learn, adapt and improve over time. Using spec cars makes the race very manno a manno -- just like a 10,000 meter run or a tennis match or skeet shooting. But without the technology and brainpower behind the machines and the teams, much of what I find exciting about motorsports is missing.
Given a choice, I'd rather spend the weekend in Primm.