Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

U.S. Road Racing-- terminal?


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 Bob Riebe

Bob Riebe
  • Member

  • 1,670 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:44

I am putting this here because the-- racing comments-- sections seems to be a male youth version of Chatty Kathy.

 

The latest Autoweek comments that the pathetic showing at the Circuit of America-- or probably should be called Circuit of out of touch Arrogant Jackasses-- shows that road racing in the U.S., regardless of who is running it, is in far, far more serious troubles than anyone wants to admit.

 

Do you think it is on the verge of going belly-up?

 

I want to get back to Road America, just to see a racing version of the new 2014 Corvette, so I hope it  lasts long enough for me to do that.

 

As the new small-block V-8 gets most of its wonder-kid attributes from computers, how will this affect the racing version or are they going to race with the LS?


Edited by Bob Riebe, 15 October 2013 - 17:47.


Advertisement

#2 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 15 October 2013 - 18:39

'Pro' Road Racing in America has been sustained by the entrants for a long time now, possibly since the start. So if not a lot of people show up for the race at COTA, it won't kill them. Because either we can assume they're getting the necessary fans at the other races and the series is fine, or they aren't and it doesn't matter because as long as the rich owners are (relatively)happy they'll continue to race.



#3 Bob Riebe

Bob Riebe
  • Member

  • 1,670 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 15 October 2013 - 19:01

'Pro' Road Racing in America has been sustained by the entrants for a long time now, possibly since the start. So if not a lot of people show up for the race at COTA, it won't kill them. Because either we can assume they're getting the necessary fans at the other races and the series is fine, or they aren't and it doesn't matter because as long as the rich owners are (relatively)happy they'll continue to race.

If you read the article, and others in the same issue, the rich owners are not happy and are ready to check-out.

 

The article said the COTA race was just an obvious symptom of a problem no one want to really speak of.

 

It said the Grand-Am or what ever it is called now has serious problems.



#4 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,476 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 16 October 2013 - 00:11

It sounds like club motorbike racing in Oz is heading down a similar path. I paid my 10 bucks entry fee each day to watch 7 hours of racing by 80 guys who had paid about 300 each to enter, plus fuel plus tires plus accomodation plus bits plus blood plus maintenance. It was an excellent weekend, and all 50 (WAG) of the spectators probably enjoyed it. The club lost money on one of its two big events of the year.



#5 Fat Boy

Fat Boy
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 16 October 2013 - 00:22

Sportscar racing is what sportscar racing always has been. It's a place to race for rich guys with some talent (or at least interest) and plenty of money.  They team themselves with a truly good driver and you have a team. You also get the random rich guy with interest/money that teams 2 pros, but that's rare ( See Stallings, Bob).

 

If their interests were in different directions they would be involved in sailboats or polo. They like cars, so there is sportscar racing. I promise you, I've made peace with it.



#6 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,641 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:26

It sounds like club motorbike racing in Oz is heading down a similar path. I paid my 10 bucks entry fee each day to watch 7 hours of racing by 80 guys who had paid about 300 each to enter, plus fuel plus tires plus accomodation plus bits plus blood plus maintenance. It was an excellent weekend, and all 50 (WAG) of the spectators probably enjoyed it. The club lost money on one of its two big events of the year.

Club racing in general Greg. Entry fees are scaring off competitors. Plus the CAMS fees. Many of which are passed on in the entry fees.
Though many State meetings put on better racing than the supposed 'pro' events.

#7 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,433 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 16 October 2013 - 13:13

'Pro' Road Racing in America has been sustained by the entrants for a long time now, possibly since the start. So if not a lot of people show up for the race at COTA, it won't kill them. Because either we can assume they're getting the necessary fans at the other races and the series is fine, or they aren't and it doesn't matter because as long as the rich owners are (relatively)happy they'll continue to race.

 

+1.

 

I have been to professional road course events with essentially no spectators. 


Edited by Magoo, 16 October 2013 - 13:13.


#8 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,433 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 16 October 2013 - 13:14

Sportscar racing is what sportscar racing always has been. It's a place to race for rich guys with some talent (or at least interest) and plenty of money.  They team themselves with a truly good driver and you have a team. You also get the random rich guy with interest/money that teams 2 pros, but that's rare ( See Stallings, Bob).

 

If their interests were in different directions they would be involved in sailboats or polo. They like cars, so there is sportscar racing. I promise you, I've made peace with it.

 

 

+1 also. 



#9 MatsNorway

MatsNorway
  • Member

  • 2,023 posts
  • Joined: December 09

Posted 16 October 2013 - 15:56

If you want spectator friendly motorsport events you will find events like drifting, gatebil and rallycross. Gatebil got 50k+ spectators over a weekend.

 

I must say i really like rallycross as a idea. Here is a good Norwegian documentary about one of the first big names in Norwegian motorsport; Martin Schanche Rallycross champ, le mans driver and pikes peak contestant. with lots of good photage if you can handle the language.

 

 

Rallycross needs more power. He had 420 and beond with 2WD in a MK2 escort.

 

One interesting part is when he said that he got forced to use the RS200 even tho the Escort was fully competitive. He claimed he used 1.5year on getting the RS200 competitive. He even cried at one point as it seemed that once he fixed one thing another one broke. He has never feelt like a passenger so much as when he drove the RS200. It took him some time to sort it out.

 

Watch 00.56.50

 

0nboard: 01.02.05 and 01.08.10


Edited by MatsNorway, 16 October 2013 - 16:43.


#10 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,433 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 16 October 2013 - 18:09

We have RallyCross in the USA. Nobody watches it, either. 



#11 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 16 October 2013 - 20:25

It's that weird X-Games RX isn't it? The European stuff looks a lot better though I don't know what marketing impact it is having.



#12 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,433 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 16 October 2013 - 20:54

It's that weird X-Games RX isn't it? The European stuff looks a lot better though I don't know what marketing impact it is having.

 

It is/was called the GRC, Global RallyCross Series. They ran the season last year in conjunction with NASCAR on some Bruton Smith tracks, and yes, one of the dates was the X Games. A couple of Detroit OEs had some skin in it funding teams, but I don't think they do anymore. 



#13 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,476 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 16 October 2013 - 21:04

Thinking about why would they expect spectators? Nobody watched us as we raced our yacht, the average cycle race has an audience smaller than the number of participants, etc etc. Just because its cars doesn't guarantee an audience.



#14 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 6,806 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 16 October 2013 - 21:52

I am putting this here because the-- racing comments-- sections seems to be a male youth version of Chatty Kathy.

 

The latest Autoweek comments that the pathetic showing at the Circuit of America-- or probably should be called Circuit of out of touch Arrogant Jackasses-- shows that road racing in the U.S., regardless of who is running it, is in far, far more serious troubles than anyone wants to admit.

 

Do you think it is on the verge of going belly-up?

 

I want to get back to Road America, just to see a racing version of the new 2014 Corvette, so I hope it  lasts long enough for me to do that.

 

As the new small-block V-8 gets most of its wonder-kid attributes from computers, how will this affect the racing version or are they going to race with the LS?

 

Just to add some avgas to your fire....spectator numbers are down everywhere in Australia as well, V8 Supercars (Bathurst this year crowd down and the principles tap dancing to address the situation)...and our Historic racing does not appear to be doing too well either  :confused:



#15 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,641 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 17 October 2013 - 04:14

We have RallyCross in the USA. Nobody watches it, either.

We had rallycross here in Oz. I think the last one ever run was at Tailem Bend in 1980. I won the sedan division

#16 Bloggsworth

Bloggsworth
  • Member

  • 7,432 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:32

I suspect one of the problems in America and Australia is sheer distance; in the UK, and a lot of Europe, almost every circuit is within there-and-back in a day distance, and the local catchment area for spectators encompasses several major towns and cities.

British Superbikes attracts crowds a multiple of those for some World Superbike rounds (the racing being far better also helps); British Touring Car Championship races attract huge crowds, several times a year, some bigger than those of a lot of Grand Prix. The worst thing WSB did was to get rid of having a bunch of wild-card riders at each event, it now gives the locals no-one to cheer for as they beat the so-called superstars (as used to happen regularly at Brands and Donnington; the grids for WSB are pathetic for a "World Championship", BSB turns out 30 or more superbikes per meeting and the racing is fast and furious and over a weekend the meeting may see 60,000+ spectators.

#17 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 17 October 2013 - 11:22

But that's motorcycle racing which has a completely different fanbase to draw from. How well attended are British GT and/or international sportscar races in the UK? Or even in Europe? It's much like Grand-Am and ALMS. High level gentleman racing.



#18 Rasputin

Rasputin
  • Member

  • 291 posts
  • Joined: February 10

Posted 17 October 2013 - 18:49

I guess that for ordinary Joe, watching an oval with whatever vehicles is far more convenient and understandable, you can see most of the track and the pace-car will gang them up if it gets too confusing.

 

While the BBQ- and beer-stand is at a convenient walking distance.



#19 NeilR

NeilR
  • Member

  • 450 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 18 October 2013 - 23:01

I suspect one of the problems in America and Australia is sheer distance; in the UK, and a lot of Europe, almost every circuit is within there-and-back in a day distance, and the local catchment area for spectators encompasses several major towns and cities.

British Superbikes attracts crowds a multiple of those for some World Superbike rounds (the racing being far better also helps); British Touring Car Championship races attract huge crowds, several times a year, some bigger than those of a lot of Grand Prix. The worst thing WSB did was to get rid of having a bunch of wild-card riders at each event, it now gives the locals no-one to cheer for as they beat the so-called superstars (as used to happen regularly at Brands and Donnington; the grids for WSB are pathetic for a "World Championship", BSB turns out 30 or more superbikes per meeting and the racing is fast and furious and over a weekend the meeting may see 60,000+ spectators.

 

I suspect there is a larger issue at hand. 3-40 years ago there were not the other activities available to the 'average' person, so watching car racing was a viable activity. These days I can watch a huge amount online any time I want...why travel 70km to a noisy, dusty circuit with poor facilities and expensive food?

As for other activities...it's a sunny day in Melbourne, I could go fishing, 4wd'ing, sailing, joy fights, cafes, markets, jet boat rides, rock climbing, go-karting, trap shooting etc etc all for the same or less effort than to get to Phillip Island When I lived in the UK I did not have such access, but then that might have been down to where I lived in Hull.



Advertisement

#20 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,641 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:14

Road racing in many countries is in dire straights. Either you have hero racing, F1, Sports Cars in Europe, Nascar in the US, V8 stupid cars here in Oz etc. The public is indoctrinated this is the only racing to see. And it is often so choreographed as to be a total joke!
Go to a basic National level meeting and they struggle for a crowd as there is no 'hero' drivers. Though at that level there is often better drivers without the budget, luck, or inclinataion of the heros. And often have beaten the heros at the same level! At a club meeting there is friends and relatives. And these days with the chargers for admission only some of those. BUT promoters have to charge to pay the ever increasing costs,, as do the competitors who disappear as it has got too expensive, as do the ever increasing demands for car specifications, driver apparel and stupid things like it is getting near impossible to do work on the car at the track,,or even refuel the thing with all the nanny state rules. This is world wide. And is a ever decreasing spiral.
National bodies such as CAMS here need to get lower level motorsport viable again, make it fun and less [never cheap] expensive.

#21 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 5,641 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:21

Road racing in many countries is in dire straights. Either you have hero racing, F1, Sports Cars in Europe, Nascar in the US, V8 stupid cars here in Oz etc. The public is indoctrinated this is the only racing to see. And it is often so choreographed as to be a total joke!
Go to a basic National level meeting and they struggle for a crowd as there is no 'hero' drivers. Though at that level there is often better drivers without the budget, luck, or inclinataion of the heros. And often have beaten the heros at the same level! At a club meeting there is friends and relatives. And these days with the chargers for admission only some of those. BUT promoters have to charge to pay the ever increasing costs,, as do the competitors who disappear as it has got too expensive, as do the ever increasing demands for car specifications, driver apparel and stupid things like it is getting near impossible to do work on the car at the track,,or even refuel the thing with all the nanny state rules. This is world wide. And is a ever decreasing spiral.
National bodies such as CAMS here need to get lower level motorsport viable again, make it fun and less [never cheap] expensive.
Just another thought, A young bloke I know of has really had a choice of motorsport as a serious hobby [as was Dads] or chasing an oval ball which he enjoys. To do Motorsport cost thousands a year, as a good player he is being PAID to play amateur suburban football. While only a small amount of money it well and truly pays for his boots and jockstrap!!And his travelling to a match and for his social time after too. And when he leaves uni it will possibly provide him a decent job too.

#22 Bob Riebe

Bob Riebe
  • Member

  • 1,670 posts
  • Joined: January 05

Posted 19 October 2013 - 03:54

I suspect there is a larger issue at hand. 3-40 years ago there were not the other activities available to the 'average' person, so watching car racing was a viable activity.

To a great degree in the U.S., because 30-40 years there were a great number of people who were very make loyal and went to race to see their favorite make compete against the evil other makes.

That is one reason that the Trans-Am was actually a far more important series, and lasted longer, than the much inflated  importance of the Can-Am.

 

NASCAR still has some of that despite the France boy tring to homoginize it into a totally pointless pile of dung.



#23 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,356 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:10

A very interesting discussion. Here in the UK the crowds at Club meetings definitely seem smaller even allowing for rose - tinted specs etc.

Modern TV coverage, let alone other mobile media have changed sports viewing interest generally. Take the UK soccer Premiership, immensely successful but live attendance revenue is now only a small part of its revenue. Look at the pitch side adverts and you will see many in Chinese. It's probably fair to say that 90% of Man. United or Arsenal fans will never ever go to a live match partially due to ticket prices.

Similarly our last US visit coincided with the start of the NFL and College football season and the coverage was overwhelming - ten TV channels of it, huge screens in every bar.

So don't judge motor racing by trackside attendance alone, that is SO 20th century (!).

As mentioned above club racing is really for the competitors and friends/families. I'm in the 750 MC and its whole commercial race promotion depends on entry fees not spectators.

Having said al of that I will now contradict myself a bit and mention John Webb and the Rolling Stones. John Webb was the 1970's Brands Hatch promoter and an outstanding one. Once he got 50,000 people to a club meeting via radio promotion. Of course club attendances were higher then but fewer than 10,000 so he showed what good promotion can do.

Similarly the Stones turned live gig touring into a financial monster show and many acts, new and old, now derive most income form live, and very expensive, shows. Again good marketing a help live attendance despite so much cyber media supply.

 

So maybe the problem is that eh skilled promoters have vanished?



#24 GBarclay

GBarclay
  • Member

  • 163 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 21 October 2013 - 19:28

Worked both the COTA event and Petit Le Mans

 

COTA - WEC / ALMS attendance seemed poor, certainly in comparison to the Aussie V8 event there in May,( with World Challenge as one of the support events.) We were finished and out of there by Saturday evening so cannot comment on the actual crowd on Sunday for WEC. But COTA is huge, and there may well have been a decent crowd, it just does not show well if they are scattered through the stands or open admission area's. My own experience talking to fans who stopped past our paddock setup was the Aussie V8's attracted a lot more people who were not local to the track (say within a few hrs drive), I met fans from all over the US. For the WEC event, the fans seemed to be more local, several admitting that the tickets were part of their season package which they had bought in order to get primo F1 seats. 

 

Petit at Road Atlanta - rain on Saturday played a huge part in the reduced crowds, but the turnout on Friday was really very good. We had crew stuck in an almost 2hr traffic jam trying to leave the circuit Friday afternoon. Hard to guess the actual numbers, and perhaps the final ALMS event was a draw, but the area's I visited out of paddock - Turns 1 though 5, and Turns 10 and 11 (or 10a and b) were well populated. Maybe Petit is more like Sebring in that it attracts the really hardcore fans, some of those guys were in line outside Road Atlanta when we showed up on Sunday, and they only allowed them in Wednesday or so. 

 

I'd say that although there are lots of people with lots of reservations concerning Sportscar Racing under the Tudor United banner, in general the mood is fairly positive. Several teams will be taking a wait and see approach, and work is going to be harder to come by, but there will be 12 great events on the 2014 schedule, and the optimist in me thinks the changes being made will be good for the sport in the long term. No doubt 2014 will be a year of transition. 



#25 Bloggsworth

Bloggsworth
  • Member

  • 7,432 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 21 October 2013 - 21:56

But that's motorcycle racing which has a completely different fanbase to draw from. How well attended are British GT and/or international sportscar races in the UK? Or even in Europe? It's much like Grand-Am and ALMS. High level gentleman racing.


No - That's motorbikes AND touring cars - The principle is what I was talking about, the fact that in the US the fan numbers might be large, but they are thinly spread; Most UK fans live within 50 miles of a major circuit; if you live in the middle of the UK you live within about 4 hours drive of half a dozen or more circuits. The more populous the local catchment area the more chance of larger crowds.

#26 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,433 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:06

I have to confess I don't understand how COTA was built. I don't see how the numbers could possibly work. I can't help feeling that a few years from now, there will be a strange-looking ruin on the outskirts of Austin, and people will point to it and tell their children, "They used to hold F1 races there."  



#27 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 22 October 2013 - 01:59

No - That's motorbikes AND touring cars - The principle is what I was talking about, the fact that in the US the fan numbers might be large, but they are thinly spread; Most UK fans live within 50 miles of a major circuit; if you live in the middle of the UK you live within about 4 hours drive of half a dozen or more circuits. The more populous the local catchment area the more chance of larger crowds.

 

I think BTCC works because it has more of a motorcycle crowd than an F1 crowd. It's much more lower-middle.

 

 

 

 

 

As for COTA. As long as the local/state government is picking up the Bernie Fee, that frees up their income to go towards paying off the circuit.



#28 Bloggsworth

Bloggsworth
  • Member

  • 7,432 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 22 October 2013 - 09:30

I think BTCC works because it has more of a motorcycle crowd than an F1 crowd. It's much more lower-middle.


And on what do you base that ludicrous assertion? Lower-middle! What century are you living in?

#29 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:39

I don't know that it's completely working class. And I was talking more economically than socially.

 

Motorcycle is definitely the everyman. tgoo


Edited by Ross Stonefeld, 22 October 2013 - 11:40.


#30 indigoid

indigoid
  • Member

  • 381 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:16

I don't know that it's completely working class. And I was talking more economically than socially.

 

Motorcycle is definitely the everyman. tgoo

 

Don't know that I can agree there re: bikes. Maybe it's different in North America. Down here I get the impression that most serious motorcyclists (not casual riders who just commute, don't follow the motorsport, etc) are in a pretty comfortable place, economically speaking. It's just too expensive to be a hobby for many of the "everyman" class. Did you mean it's a sport for everyman followers rather than everyman motorcyclists?

 

Re: cars - a friend who used to run a Datsun p510 (of reasonably cheap build) in IPRANSW used to spend a minimum of $2500ish per race meet, assuming nothing broke on the car (ha!), and he wasn't a front-runner by any means. 2-2.5 race meets per set of tyres. BP100 fuel. Somewhat warmed-up NA engine. Nothing overly exotic. One weekend a front-running R32 GTR in IPRANSW over-2L class lunched three front diffs, at ~$2k a pop. IPRANSW at least used to be considered "club level racing" down here, and it's very far from affordable for the everyman

 

What's "tgoo"? "These games of ours"? (googling)

 

I have a friend who occasionally tries to tempt me into recreational aviation. I don't have a large fortune to make a small fortune out of, sadly.



#31 Ross Stonefeld

Ross Stonefeld
  • Member

  • 56,832 posts
  • Joined: August 99

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:18

Dunno, had some sort of editing shunt. Shouldn't be anything after everyman.

 

I'm talking mainly in terms of attendance. I know everyone likes to claim their fan base is high earning because it impresses the advertisers but you really only need to look around you in the grandstand. There was far more diversity in the stands at Donington MotoGP than an F1 race. I'd put it primarily down to ticket cost.



#32 indigoid

indigoid
  • Member

  • 381 posts
  • Joined: March 04

Posted 22 October 2013 - 12:49

There's a perception for many forms of motorsport involving corners that you get a better view on telly. The IPRANSW events I attended were not broadcast at all and typically mingled in with 5 or 6 other race classes, meaning steady action all weekend, yet the attendance was very poor. I suspect almost all folks there were either competitors/their families/pitcrew or CAMS/track officials.

 

 

I'm wondering what the organisers of the V8 "Supercars" down here are planning to do after 2016 when Red and Blue are gone. Probably madly trying to offload the franchise onto some gullible fool who thinks it will survive with Toyota/Nissan/etc. Though I hear attendance of even these events (which I think fit your "everyman" category nicely) is dropping too.



#33 Fat Boy

Fat Boy
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 22 October 2013 - 16:39

I have to confess I don't understand how COTA was built. I don't see how the numbers could possibly work. I can't help feeling that a few years from now, there will be a strange-looking ruin on the outskirts of Austin, and people will point to it and tell their children, "They used to hold F1 races there."  

 

The funny part is the redneck trailer homes right beside the track. It is just a huge dicotomy.

 

The upside is that it's one of the few F-1 tracks where you can get BBQ wild game within 5 minutes of the track.