Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Roarcourse drivers have a communication problem. It's very difficult to tell anyone who has not been on a course what it's like. It's FAR easier to just smile and mutter things about "good grip out there today..." and so forth.

I don't know how to conquer the communication barrier. It's very much harder to attract more folks to the sport if they don't understand what's going on.

Take NASCAR for example. NASCAR is all about going round and round, very fast. Minute changes in car setup and driver habit can make or break a race. None of that is clearly visible to the crowd. It's not possible to be close enough to the cars to feel how they react to the draft, or how they get just a smidge looser in every corner. Thus, NASCAR markets two things: Experience and heroes.

The experience of a NASCAR race is mind blowing. I hate them. Too much flash, not enough driving, too far removed from the pits, too much false "down home" bullshit. I am not a NASCAR fan. However, it is a wildly successful sport with the American public. The marketing concentrates on the experience of the race as a whole, rather than the driving or the tactics in the race.

They also market heroes. Cast as gladiators, the drivers are painstakingly groomed and coached and picked to look a certain way. They are all outstanding drivers, of course, but it takes more than that to be playing at that level. Have to be marketable.

But how do you market actually driving? The best seat in the house is the one behind the wheel. Hard to share that experience. There are in-car cameras, and that helps a bit, but at the end of the day, I think narrative is the best way to tell the story of the track. It's the best way to attract more folks to the sport. Thus, this blog.

I am, of course, not trying to market anything. I like to tell stories and write for fun. But I would encourage those reading this to see what it's like in person. If you ever drive fast and feel a little guilty (but satisfied). If you remember fondly that drag race you were in as a kid. If you like roller coasters or downhill skiing, give high performance driving a try.


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