“And, if you happen to look to your proper, you’ll see a GT3 automotive in its pure surroundings”. OK, so nobody really mentioned that to this author’s information, however it definitely wouldn’t have been an misplaced assertion at Donington Park final weekend.
The reason is that the British GT Championship had placed on a Circuit Safari, whereby a Routemaster double-decker bus took some fortunate passengers, together with myself, across the circuit whereas GT3 and GT4 vehicles circulated at a decreased tempo. It’s a well-liked idea in Japan, permitting followers to get a special perspective and a larger sensation of pace than from the aspect of the observe, and which has really taken place as soon as earlier than within the UK – additionally on the British GT invoice at Silverstone again in 2017.
Followers got the prospect to win a spot on the bus in a raffle held earlier than the fourth spherical of the championship and, shortly after British GT’s warm-up session, the Routemaster headed out for 2 laps of the Donington circuit together with the grid. From a private standpoint, it was fairly a surreal expertise.
Extra importantly, although, it was well-received by the followers on the bus and certainly by many across the circuit who had stayed trackside on Sunday morning to take photos and movies of the bizarre sight. Something that may be achieved to convey the vehicles and drivers nearer to the followers can solely be a Positive, and concepts reminiscent of this must be embraced throughout all platforms of motorsport.
“Extra fan engagement is an efficient factor,” mentioned British GT driver and workforce proprietor Martin Plowman. “I feel the extra we will do to get fan participation, it’s solely going to extend the variety of followers. In America, for instance, it’s all in regards to the followers.”
Plowman is aware of greater than most in regards to the attraction of US racing and what it has to supply followers, having competed in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. Aptly, this 12 months’s version of the fabled race happened on the identical weekend, showcasing different ideas that UK motorsport might discover sooner or later. This ranged from the standard driver autograph classes, already a staple of many UK motorsport occasions, to the maybe over-the-top driver introductions forward of the massive race that F1 was criticised for in Miami.
The pitstop problem within the buildup to the Indy 500 exhibits how fan-friendly initiatives do not must be tough
Photograph by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images
However there are different elements which can be extra unique to Indy, such because the Pitstop Problem. Extremely, it has been held nearly yearly since 1977, and permits pitcrews to compete with one another in a knockout-style match to alter their automotive’s tyres as shortly as doable. Followers can get nearly inside touching distance of the machines as they line the pitwall, and it’s an amazing instance of one thing that in precept could also be a easy concept, but is an extremely profitable and immersive one. Two-wheeled occasions such because the Isle of Man TT and World Superbikes additionally enable followers to kind a guard of honour after the races, applauding their favorite riders as they head to the rostrum.
Whereas I’m not suggesting that British GT or different UK championships instantly take up these concepts, it exhibits there are initiatives on the market that may additional enhance fan engagement. British GT, for instance, already has a free grid stroll, permitting individuals to step onto the observe forward of the primary spectacle of the weekend, get near the vehicles and take within the environment.
Because the drive for elevated security rightly continues, it does imply that spectators are pushed additional away from the sting of observe or have their views obscured by greater and extra dense catch fencing, that means possibilities like these are much more treasured
Alternatives like this are savoured probably the most by younger followers and may spark a lifelong ardour for the game. Because the drive for elevated security rightly continues, it does imply that spectators are pushed additional away from the sting of observe or have their views obscured by greater and extra dense catch fencing, that means possibilities like these are much more treasured.
Understandably, security is why it took British GT organiser SRO a very long time to get the Circuit Safari accredited and signed off by the game’s governing physique, Motorsport UK, so it definitely wasn’t the work of a second. As with something, it’s all about money and time, that means it won’t turn into a practice simply but.
There’s additionally the slight inconvenience for groups and drivers. Sure, it’s solely quarter-hour of observe ‘motion’, however it nonetheless requires the groups to have the vehicles able to run and, though extremely unlikely, doubtlessly placing them vulnerable to injury simply hours earlier than the primary precedence of the weekend.
Whichever method you take a look at it, although, the extra motorsport may give again to the followers the higher. Higher alternatives for them to get nearer to the vehicles and their heroes can’t be a foul factor.
Alternatives to get followers concerned ought to at all times be welcomed, and British GT deserves to be lauded for its efforts to convey again the circuit safari
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images