Courtesy of Sharon Cox
2020 Motorsports have endured severe disruptions to race calendars within global outbreak of COVID-19- not only affecting racing but also respective Motorsports to keep fan base engaged off track.
Beginning new decade was always going to be nail-biter for broadening fans engagement amongst most competitive Motorsports within FIA and FIM. Given stream-lined access to racing via TV Live broadcasts, videos, web and social media posts- there has been substantial rise of fan-base following – a real turn around from Pay to View racing number of years back.
With high profile Motorsports of Formula 1 and MotoGP emphasis on attracting fans through gate put on hold post COVID-19, the already in place strategy of making viewers ‘feel-like-I’m-there’ through TV coverage has been ramped up via tightened race schedules. And, incumbent change to racing spec regulations.
Given jury is out on which Motorsport provides fans best entertainment- the F1 cars racing speeds out-of-the-ball-park versus the oh-so-shave-of-knees cutting lines on the tarmac of MotoGP, fact remains both racing disciplines will vie for fan engagement over next 12 weeks. Add MXGP into the fan-pool, what can fans expect to see?
With racing already underway within 2 Motorsports Series- F1, 2 and 3 have 9 Rounds within space of 13 weeks, MotoGP compacts 13 Rounds into 18 weeks and World MX Championship which starts in 3 weeks will race 14 Rounds over 16 weeks- Media communications will ride at all time high.
For sure, statistics state growth in fans and mainstream audience retention has increased with development of driver/racer interviews in person giving public insight on each athlete’s character pre-during and post racing. Videos posted over race weekends by Teams/riders, Press Conferences, along with behind the scenes glimpse on what happens come race day has given rise to fans knowing way more about their favourite race-star than previous ‘athlete-under-the-helmet’.
Equally, there has been deliberation and actioning of change to rules and regulations to allow for greater leveling of field for racing along with long-term strategies to preserve sports sustainability.
FIA and Formula 1 rule change taking effect this year in F2 and F3 outmodes tyre size from previous 13 inch to 18 inches, places capping on budgets, standardizes car components along with emphasizing need to make racing financially accessible for mid-field Teams. Importantly, F3 and F2 are feeder Series for longevity of F1 hence these young, up-coming drivers gain important race-time within Formula racing environment.
MotoGP has advantage of producing exciting, close racing. Fans clamor over their phones to watch bikes go wheel-to-wheel at incredible odds against gravity- skills displayed are enthralling whether fans are track-side or not.
The momentum gained by running back-to-back races, the up-swing of front-runners injured, the potent mix of racers all keen to unleash **-amount of adrenaline on tracks after so many months holed up during lock-down- will be X Factor for fans watching.
Finally, racing is back for Infront MXGP starting with Round 3 of 16 on August 8th with triple header of racing within 7 days. This is certainly going to be wow factor for fans as never before has MXGP and MX2 and EMX 250 raced 3 Rounds with only 2 days break in between.
More questions than answers come to mind- how will race leaders across all classes go? Will momentum of such tight schedule raise pressure gauge for riders to gain valuable points and podiums? And will fans take to the triple-crown race schedule, which has premier classes appearing only 1 day within Round compared to traditional Saturday Free and Timed Practice and Qualifying Race- Sunday Race 1 and 2? No doubt fans will be in for a treat either way.
2020 Motorsport calendar has certainly survived extreme of extreme disruptions with no racing for months. On other hand, Motorsport disciplines have had opportunity to re-set bench-mark on providing fans and mainstream audience a new-improved version of racing at beginning on brand new decade.