The Le Mans 24 for sportscars now has a 'rolling' start, but the motorcycle 24 hours still has a traditional Le Mans start where the riders line up on the opposite side of the track and run to thier machines at the drop of the 'Tricolor'.
Should we also go back to drawing lots for grid positions? It would make for some spectacular racing.
Seriously though, I do think sometimes it would not hurt to keep to tradition. At least at the Le Mans 24 hours 'auto' these days they line the cars up in the old fashioned way before doing the warm up lap.
I'm a US bike guy. The AMA even tried the NASCAR pace car start a few times to write rules to keep the Buell competitive. It had a racing class written around it (Formula Xtreme), which it rarely finished, then HD killed the entire product. But fortunately, the flat track twin rules which had been written around the HD XR-750 (which hasn't been manufactured in 20 years) were opened up to permit more even competition. Where flat track is dying in the US, the UK has had a great resurgence in "run what you brung" beach oval racing.
One of the truest starts is still motocross. One drop gate with 30 bikes stuffing into a 6m wide first turn.
Bike endurance racing can afford to keep the tradition, since a 10 second starting advantage tends to mean nothing, even in a 4 hour amateur endurance race. And riders can just jump on and go.
Car racing has so much safety equipment that you can't just jump into the old lapbelted front engine roadster and take off. I'm amazed that endurance cars can even make driver changes.
I wouldn't be surprised of all motorcycle road racing having some fall out from the Simoncelli crash.
Driver changes in endurance events are only possible as a result of pit regulations. At Le Mans and in ALMS, the fuelling rate is restricted such that it takes 40 seconds or so to top up. In addition, the number of 'over the wall' pit crew is limited and they can't change rubber and fuel at the same time (no touching the car when the fuel hose is in). All that means the 30 second or so driver change can be done safely and without cutting corners and leaving the pits with belts undone or doors flapping, a common sight up to the early 1980s.
On the subject of Simoncelli, you are right there will be some 'fall out' from that tragedy, but bike racing is inherently more hazardous than auto racing, and that is part of its appeal. It attracts a very special kind of competitor. No matter what safely gear a rider wears, he is out there skimming the surface of the track with no safety cage around him. Almost whatever measures you take, there will be fatal accidents now and then. Even in open wheel car formulae it can happen, just take Dan Wheldon's fatal accident last year.
Racing is dangerous. If it was completely safe then we might as well just play video games instead. In a competition that has an element of danger, that risk has to be controlled, but to remove hazards completely would emasculate the sport. My view is that current drivers/riders should always be the ultimate reference as to what is an acceptable level of risk, not old guys in blazers at the FIA/FIM
The pit rules make a lot of sense. Fans complain about the pit rules, but all teams have to deal with it, so it is doesn't penalize anyone.
Bike racing is different. As I tell my sports car friends, slide a miata around a corner at 70mph then get on a bike and drag your knee around the corner at 70 mph and tell me when you felt the rush.
I'm American and I have to watch the entire NASCAR debacle. A car slides a little in the corner and they throw a yellow flag and send out a pace car. It is the most paranoid and non competitive racing known to man.
I do like car endurance racing, and Aussie V8s are what American stock car used to be. Probably my greatest appreciation is racing where safety is not immediately available, Baja and Dakar.