IndyCar produces some of the best motor racing on the planet. The drama that unfolds on its oval and road/street courses is second to none, with stars like Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay battling it to win the Indy 500 and the series championship.
Yet despite this, the series still struggles to gain a larger following away from the United States. So what could be done to give this fantastic series a more global following? Well as it turns out, a few things could be done. Here are a couple of examples…
Here are a couple of examples…
Mainstream TV Coverage Away From US
Whilst the TV coverage in the US is already good enough, NBCSN’s work being stellar, the coverage around the rest of the world is lacking somewhat. The UK has the good fortune of broadcasting the series, ad free, on BT Sport but not on anywhere near the level the US provide. BT tap into the international feed and use the US commentary. Key replays are often missed due to the feed not being direct from NBCSN and during ad breaks it often feels that the BT commentators are not providing as good insight as their US counterparts.
The sport being on pay-to-view TV doesn’t help either. It would do the series a world of good in the UK at least if it was shown on a free-to-air channel, for example, Channel 4. IndyCar appearing on such a big channel is unlikely, but a showing on a free channel like ITV4 perhaps would not be a bad thing. More dedicated coverage is needed as well, instead of merely tapping into the US feed. A boost in coverage would certainly bring in a bigger audience to the series here.
— IndyCar Series (@IndyCar) September 21, 2017
Public Opinion Needs To Change
Unfortunately for IndyCar, the biggest misconception among racing fans is that “oval racing is easy and they just turn left”. Obviously, this is completely false. Whilst they do indeed turn left on ovals, it is perhaps the most mentally challenging racing on the planet.
Just ask Fernando Alonso, who experienced first-hand just how tough oval racing is at this year’s Indy 500. It is close, competitive and dramatic racing and some of the best in the world. A lot of the time these comments have been made by people who may never have witnessed an oval race in their life. As someone who has actually been to an IndyCar race, I urge anyone who has doubts about this series to watch one. You will be blown away.
Another thing that is frowned upon by many is the quality of the drivers. They are merely seen as ‘F1 castaways’. People forget that the likes of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve raced in IndyCar before Formula 1. Were they castaways from IndyCar? I don’t think so. Various F1 drivers have tried their hand at IndyCar, most notably Alonso and Nigel Mansell but both found the going tough despite showing incredibly well, Mansell, of course, winning the 1994 IndyCar championship.
Drivers like Alexander Rossi and Max Chilton should not be seen as castaways, but as young and fast drivers finally flourishing. They never had the chance in F1, but have shown very well in IndyCar. Rossi won last years Indy 500 remember…