“What I see through the eyes of my
teenage kids is a totally different way
of sourcing and consuming information”
T WO- Time CART indy CAR
2003 indiAnApOlis 500
Winne R ’m not armed with hard data, but come the Super Bowl in February, I know I see
more kids out throwing footballs. When the
World Cup comes around, local soccer fields
are packed. In June and July, all that
coverage from Wimbledon inspires droves
of wannabe Nadals or Federers (including
me) to pull their racquet out of the
cupboard and head to a tennis court.
That’s the power of sport. It has an ability
to inspire, to capture one’s imagination.
So do movies (he says, seamlessly
introducing the theme of this RACER). And
done well, movies are a fantastic medium
to showcase the natural drama of sports.
Yes, I’m that sucker who still cries in
Disney movies, believes in all the heroics,
am talking about. Unforgettable.
So, what can we expect from Rush,
or the already released Turbo From
an entertainment perspective I can’t
comment, as I’ve not seem them yet. But,
crucially, will they motivate and inspire
people to head to the grandstands?
Spark the interest and curiosity of a new
generation of potential fans? Get them
to turn the TV on to watch the hours and
hours of live racing currently on offer?
I hope it’s at least one of those things.
For me, the biggest win would be if they
lit that spark to a lifetime of being captured
by racing’s spell – which is clearly something
we seem to be failing at when it comes to
the more junior inhabitants of our planet.
It’s well documented that motorsports fans,
globally and across pretty much every form
of racing, are getting older. Or let’s say that,
at the very least, the young ones aren’t
turning the TV on. It’s a challenge that all
the main series are trying to overcome.
But just because they aren’t spending
Sunday afternoon in front of a TV, does
that mean that we aren’t turning young
ones into fans? Do you even need to be
watching live racing on TV to be a fan?
I know that everyone is obsessed with
TV ratings – and perhaps rightly so, given
that it’s probably one of the best available
measures of how many people are being
turned on to our sport. Sponsorship and
commercial success depend on it.
But… What if Gen-21st Century isn’t
interested in watching hours of TV, yet
still consumes a tremendous amount of
Soundtracked by a rising heartbeat, the
way Le Mans builds up the tension before
the start is an “unforgettable” piece of
racing cinema, says Gil de Ferran.
and wanted to be a boxer after watching
Rocky. Actually, The Karate Kid was much
more me. “Wax on, wax off.” Kicking my
friend in the face for practice, however,
didn’t turn out to be a smart decision….
Movies are perfect for portraying the
often hidden drama around sport,
particularly the fascinating psychological
war that goes on within and between
athletes – something that the average fan
rarely gets to see or truly understand. After
all, as every competitor knows – or should
know – too much transparency or insight
into your psyche will always give your
opponent an edge. Yes, sometimes a little
is revealed, but there’s no way I’m going
to say and show enough to give my rivals
ammunition to work with. A balancing act…
That’s the beauty of artistic license. One
gets to accentuate what’s important in
order to tell a compelling story and provide
insight – in short, give a much fuller picture.
The viewer can, through a movie that’s
done well, get to really understand certain
aspects of a sporting competition that
simply can’t be portrayed during a real live
event. And, yes, the emphasis is on done
well because, when it comes to racing
movies, let’s just say that in many cases,
my hopes of seeing something insightful
and moving were dashed. Nevertheless,
there are some success stories. For me
the start sequence in Le Mans with Steve
McQueen really captures much of what I
ThE Racing MoviES iSSuE