Daily Archives: January 25, 2009

and with that, the season has begun!

Well, I have to say, despite the serious lack of formal coverage, and my bleary eyed rant at 3am, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the Daytona Rolex 24 this weekend with the help of fellow race enthusiasts such as myself and the efforts of some highly creative and talented folks at the race itself.

Firstly, major kudos go out to the folks at TRG! and their innovative coverage of the race, allowing fans to become part of the action all weekend via pit cam (which was unfortunately reduced to still photography by the powers that be… ) on-the-fly youtube videos that had the production value of something far more advanced, constantly updated photo albums and a live chat room that provided a steady stream of not only information, but the opportunity to chat with drivers fresh from their stints in the car, crewmen, suits, PR folks and the like.

To be able to hop into the chat with them throughout the weekend and essentially ride along with the team on their way to their 1-2 victory in the GT class was a real treat, and a fascinating look behind the curtain. While I have had many an opportunity to be in the thick of the action at several racing events, to experience the joy, the frustration, the fear, the exhaustion, all in real time along with the team, only enhanced my enjoyment of this race as a viewer, a journalist and a fan. TRG should be the example by which all teams & racing series present themselves to their fans on race weekend, not the exception to the rule. And the sooner the series and the broadcasters support these efforts rather than thwart them, the better.

Secondly, to my fellow keyboard jockeys! In particular the boys at FuriousWedge and their clever bloggathon initiative!

What a hoot to participate with y’all via our mutual blogs and twitter accounts this weekend.

When our little community comes together like this it makes me all at once proud and grateful to call you my colleagues and friends. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the 2009 racing season. Suddenly the cold, harsh winter doesn’t seem so bleak, and the season ahead seems far less grim.

so… let me get this straight…

(and bear with me, as I’m a little bleary eyed right now, so I might not make sense)

Speed has the rights to the “live” broadcast of the Daytona Rolex 24, and what they’ve chosen to do with those rights are show a handful of hours, then shut ‘er down and spend the rest of the time making sure no one else can provide any “live” coverage to the fans.

The fans who are chomping at the bit to watch racing. Any racing. By any means possible. (hell earlier I watched a feed of a web cam pointed at someone’s tv!)

Fans who would be a happily captive audience to whom you could plug all your other upcoming shows and to whom the sponsors could plug their wares to.

And what of those sponsors? Where is the bang for their buck?

This is the hugely anticipated, first race out of the gate for the new season, with drivers spanning all of the major racing series that run in the U.S. It’s a prime opportunity to promote the various series, the various sponsors, the various drivers…

But what are they doing?
nothing. nada. zip. zilch. Diddly fucking squat right now.

It’s not like the technology isn’t in place! They’ve provided full coverage, online, for ALMS. Why not the 24?

Ok, so maybe live video (or god forbid television) is cost prohibitive. So, how about just a fricken audio feed then?? IMS radio broadcasts for days on end during the month of May, when there’s a whole lotta nuthin happening on track, and yet they take the opportunity to talk to the fans, do interviews, provide insider tidbits. Hell, the track announcers in Australia set up a webcam aimed at the tv in their booth, and yapped for hours, entertaining us out here in webland the days leading to the race.

At what point are these series going to realize that this sport is fan/sponsor driven? Fans tune in, by whatever means provided, to watch the cars, decaled to the hilt with sponsor logos. They then go and seek out and support those sponsors, a reward for their loyalty. Said sponsors see an ROI and re-up, supporting the drivers, teams and series, who in turn provide the fans with entertainment. The cycle begins again.

but here it is, 3:00am-ish, 11+hrs into a 24hr event, and all I have to follow along with is a dry, boring T&S screen, (which I just lost the feed to while typing this… 🙄 ) a pitlane webcam that has been forced to take still pictures and refresh every couple of seconds making watching a pit stop like an old time talkie movie, a live chat at Speed which, while entertaining at times, provided very little actual information about the race and has now closed up until 7am.
Lucky for me I have colleagues at the track who grace me every so often with a phone call from trackside so I can hear the cars and get updates.

Speaking of updates, just got a phone call. My team is out. 😦
AIM Autosport has fallen victim to whatever gremlins have been attacking the Fords this weekend, and the boys are currently packing up the truck.
Terminal engine failure.
Fat lady belting out at centre stage.
The gutted voice on the other end of the phone line told the story.
Devastating disappointment.

on the bright side, because I no longer have any means to follow along at this moment, and am now acutely and sadly aware that my phone will not be ringing from the track again with “news” anytime soon, I am now going to bed.

Catch ya’ll for breakfast…