We’re still race fans though and feel the loss of watching our favorite spectator sport, just like NBA, MLB, NHL and other fans are having understandable sads. In the scheme of things, locking everything down in order to survive this pandemic is a no-brainer. Our economy, society and national security cannot be risked. And we know we’ll get through this.
Until then … we have a suggestion.
Run races that were cancelled virtually.
We have the technology to hold racing events with drivers in simulators. Developers can duplicate every shot we see on a TV broadcast, including in-cars, and show track signage and car liveries, with race sounds and real-time communications between team and driver.
Drivers will pass and be passed, bump, spin and crash with few mechanical DNFs and flat tires unless damage is caused by contact.
Cars can pit and be serviced with a virtual crew. Or real crews work on real cars in real time, on that custom simulator, with everything virtually converted for broadcast. When the driver brings the car to a stop they go to work. When they finish the driver gets back in the race. There will be chances for a dropped lug nut, slow tire change, fueling issue or poor pit box positioning. If a driver’s car is slightly damaged by contact the crew can change a wing and make repairs. Race strategy and yellow flags will be in play.
No one can get hurt. Large crowds of people, including each series’ traveling circus of sponsor reps, media, team employees, track workers, support companies, etc. will not be congregated. There will be no filled grandstands of real race fans sitting next to each other – although they’ll be packed in the imagery.
Other than the pit crews and studio workers, everyone will be a safe distance apart.
Maybe it could be used to raise donations for the inevitable needs related to the pandemic. Or it is broadcast content intended to help calm a nervous fan base while keeping the product and industry in front of the public eye.
Given the choice between not watching racing at all, and watching iracing-on-steroids with Will and Scott and Alex and Colton et al, even though they’re in simulators, well, weI’ll take it.