Mainstream Motoring Media & Sportscar Racing

dailysportscar exists for several reasons. Included amongst these are, of course, the passion for ‘our’ part of the sport from dsc’s contributors, but another important motivation is the overwhelming feeling that sportscar racing just doesn’t get the attention it warrants from the ‘mainstream motorsport media’.

We’re pushing hard to improve our product even further:‘new dsc’, though much delayed, is very much on the way and while there are, as always, other offerings on the web, we’re very confident indeed that, in the words of Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better.

The perceived competition has long come from the motorsport print magazines, but now something interesting seems to be happening.

While the motorsport magazines seem more content to either almost ignore the sportscar racing scene, concentrate on rumour and speculation or look back on ‘the good old days’, there are signs that their more mainstream motoring cousins are beginning to fill the void.

For example, a trawl through the UK news stands today netted three mainstream ‘glossy’ motoring monthlies. EVO, TOP GEAR and CAR.

Among the regular fare of shiny new cars, class comparisons and lifestyle features, there is now a regular stream of racing-based coverage.

EVO is first up and there is plenty here to show that the racing scene is seen to ‘sell’ – there’s a Brian Laban-penned Le Mans preview, concentrating heavily on the prospects for the Audi R10, and an accompanying feature looking at previous ’alternative’ entries to the great race. The new BMW Z4 Coupe road car is compared and contrasted with the brand new racecar version, bound for the VLN series (and perhaps elsewhere too!), and there are road tests of the road-going versions of two very significant GT racers, the Mosler MT900 and the new Porsche 997 GT3. And it’s not just the editorial too. There are full-page ads. for the British GT Championship, the Dunlop Race Academy and the revamped Radio Le Mans.

CAR magazine has a little less on offer for sportscar racefans. There is an in-depth feature on the GT3 Aston Martin DBRS9, which is a very entertaining read. The impression gained by readers of the thoughtful approach of George Howard-Chappell to the task in hand is a fair reflection of this writer’s impressions having met and conversed with the man himself. There’s a brief profile of dsc’s European 2005 Rookie of the year, Vanina Ickx, as she embarks on her maiden DTM season, and the start of a continuing series that will take two of the Car staffers on the journey from road to racetrack. Dunlop’s commitment to its racing endeavours is further underlined with a double page ad. for their Race Academy programme here too.

This month’s TOP GEAR is perhaps less of a draw for racing fans, just a 997 GT3 road test on offer (and not as good an article as the EVO version either) for ‘dsc’ers but there has been a steady stream in previous months, with the Aston DBR9 and Audi R10 both featuring recently.

There is perhaps one rather odd anomaly though. Right next door to the monthlies lies the weekly AUTOCAR magazine, ‘media partners’ for the British GT Championship. Aside from the road tests, there are ads. for the FIA GT Championship opener and a double page ad. featuring the Audi R10 – “It’s Inside The Audi A6 TDI Diesels”. The anomaly? That the same ad. isn’t in the monthlies, alongside the features that tread the same ground. There is a double page Audi ad. there (for the new TT), but surely that has to go down as a miss in EVO, alongside the editorial content plugging the technology of the R10!

All in all the parallel that this scene brings to mind is that of the motor industry in general, and the US motor industry in particular.

There’s an obvious market that draws easy custom, but the challenge is always to keep an eye on the next big thing. And it just might be that in concentrating too hard on the obvious cash cows of F1/ WTCC / BTCC (or in our parallel market the Pickups and SUVs), that the eye is off the ball.

There are other parts of the market in both instances that have much to offer and at the moment it seems that as far as sportscar racing and its crossover into the mass market is concerned, the motoring media is beating its motorsport brethren to the punch.

Too much focus on F1 in the motorsport weeklies – and on what anyone happens to have said this week, no matter how uninteresting – has been a long-standing complaint here. Well done EVO, TOP GEAR, CAR and AUTOCAR.
Graham Goodwin

"BUTTON'S HONDA CRISIS - IS THERE A CURE?"

 

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