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Old 26th September 2007, 09:33   #1
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Default Indian Motorsport : How can we make it more popular and more fun?

Formula 1 : A good number of us can list the team + driver combinations for the last 5 years.
WRC : Ditto
MotoGP : Ditto.

When we follow international motorsport so darn well, why do we end up tongue-tied when a topic on Indian motorsport comes up? It’s a known fact that, given the size of our country and its enthusiast population, the following of Indian rallying / karting / other motorsport events is woefully low. Heck, even on Team-BHP…the number of threads on international motorsport far outnumbers Indian motorsport. WHY?

The FAN is the engine of any sport. The number of fans are directly proportional to what makes any sport tick : Tickets sold, following (size), publicity, advertising and $$$$. More money indirectly leads to better teams, drivers and an overall level of entertainment.

What can be done to improve the exposure, following and fan base of Indian motorsports?

1. Knowledge to the lay man : Think of this as the ABC of motorsports. What kind of motorsport events are conducted in India? Where are rallies held? What is the points system? When is the rally calendar? Who are the drivers? Which teams are participating? How do you win? Heck, how about a simple “motorsport for dummies” guide on the MAI website!! Most of us, even on Team-BHP, wouldnt know this as well.

2. Enhanced TV coverage : I, for one, don’t know what the motorsport schedule is, and on what channel it airs. Even the rare events that I have seen lacked in pizzazz and style….they were outright dull! Can’t we have better commentators and a more attractive presentation? Can’t we have better (prime time) slots?

3. Better press coverage : Current news articles (newspaper, TV and car magazines) barely touch motorsport. This is disappointing as the press is the most important factor in getting motorsports to the masses. Does the MAI have a PR person?

4. Driver personalities : As an example, F1 is a lot about its drivers. Would F1 be where it is without us knowing Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Raikonnen etc. etc. Let us know who the drivers are, what their background is, what they are like……add a “person” to the “helmet”. Gill, Karandip etc. seem to be pretty cool dudes. But what do we know about them?

5. Car personalities : Let’s get the manufacturers in! We discuss the performance of a Palio, OHC Vtec and an SX4 to the very last drop of blood on this forum; wouldn’t the presence of a Swift, Cedia, SX4, Civic and so on make motorsports more interesting? However, I do think that the manufacturers will only come after the fan numbers improve. So there you have it : Classic chicken and egg situation.

6. Babes and beer : Admit it, glamour sells. Add some “colour” to motorsports. Look at what Bernie has done to F1! Call some like….say Aishwarya Rai or Bipasha Basu to flag off the next event. Line up pit babes in team colours!

7. Interactiveness : Give fans the opportunity to walk down the pit lane. Meet up with drivers. Bring ‘em contests and prizes on. Motorsport Merchandise?

8. Marketing : Have road shows with rally prepped cars on a truck. Advertise. Biggest booth at all automotive shows with competition cars. Hit the youth, go out to youth festivals etc.

9. Pro-active measures by the authorities : If there is anyone who can make all of the above happen, it’s the MAI.

Once Indian motorsport gets the viewership it deserves, more car manufacturers / advertisers / talent will automatically come forward. The rest, as they say, can be history.

Your thoughts?

Last edited by GTO : 26th September 2007 at 09:34.
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Old 26th September 2007, 11:12   #2
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When we follow international motorsport so darn well, why do we end up tongue-tied when a topic on Indian motorsport comes up?
I guess it all comes down to exposure. Except a few who are really interested and get to go watch these races, we don't really get to know how the championship unfolds. Showing a pre recorded tape once in a while ain't gonna do much good.

A live telecast for such races could really help us understand the Indian Motorsport scene better. Have a reality show (like channel 5's "Be a Grandprix Driver"). Why should only the singers n dancers have their fun, give us petrolheads a chance and see how exciting it turns out to be.

Cricket got a huge boost from the T20 format. People i know, who never used to watch ODIs have been glued to their TVs throughout the whole competition. People want to see something diff, you can't possibly watch the same stuff forever.

Another idea would be to bring circuit racing to your own city, have a makeshift road course like the Melbourne, Belgium, Monaco tracks (why should we limit ourselves to race circuits?).

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 26th September 2007 at 11:18.
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Old 26th September 2007, 11:45   #3
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I am sure with the present young population, awareness is there..It only needs a big idea from somebody to capture this crowd. How do you popularise a sport which seems unaffordable and people cant participate in the country at the town levels. To popularise a sport, it has to come from the grass roots. Just like cricket we need to have local bodies organising local motorsport events.
What we lack is organised infrastructure, tracks and availability of good aftermarket support and equipment. we need to have the concept of weekend track days and for this we need to have tracks in major cities.
With out involving the enthusiast and creating more enthusiasts motorsport wont grow.
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Old 26th September 2007, 11:46   #4
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The adrenaline rush is there, the cars are there, the action is there, the babes are there. What we need is better coverage in the media & live screening of these events.

What we also need is a couple of more racing circuits all over the country and make this craze catch on. Then, get the manufacturers to pour in with their factory support.

But most importantly, rather than expecting people (common layman) to turn up at the track, 1 question that I would like to ask is "How many of US (enthusiasts) spare some time and money and go watch these races?" If we enthusiasts don't, then how can we expect the rest? How many members from TBHP have taken time to visit these races? You will only find a handful. Until this changes, nothing will happen. We are the laziest of the lot when it comes to watching any sport other than cricket.
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Old 26th September 2007, 11:49   #5
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It involves full factory involvement in the way of manufacturer-teams slugging it out against each other. Right now, car cos in India are simply disinterested in motorsports.
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Old 26th September 2007, 11:54   #6
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It involves full factory involvement in the way of manufacturer-teams slugging it out against each other. Right now, car cos in India are simply disinterested in motorsports.
I am not quite sure on this but I think the manufac's are supporting the single seater racing? Aren't the swift, accent & the optra engines supplied by the manufac's for free for the sport?
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Old 26th September 2007, 12:04   #7
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Originally Posted by mclaren1885 View Post
I am not quite sure on this but I think the manufac's are supporting the single seater racing? Aren't the swift, accent & the optra engines supplied by the manufac's for free for the sport?

Thats a noble gesture indeed from them. I was thinking more along the lines of Maruti vs Tata vs Honda vs GM vs Hyundai etc in the rally scene. Fully prepped rally teams either directly factory run or with full factory support.
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Old 26th September 2007, 13:07   #8
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I second Shan's idea of street circuits, it doesn't have to be over the top like Monaco, just close off a couple of streets, include a nice parking lot section, & we could have something basic to bring in involvement. Aren't SpeedRuns conducted this way ? Dedicated tracks could be far too expensive - case in point, look at what almost happened to the MMSC track ! And yes, like McLaren said, we need more coverage of local events - not re-telecasts of cricket matches from the dawn of time.

Free works engines - a very commendable gesture indeed by the manufacturers, but why don't Maruti, Chevy, & Hyundai advertise their involvement in motorsport ? And I guess our automobile magazines & TV shows could weigh in with some increased coverage of local motorsport events.

For a start, team-bhp folks could simply start making it a point to visit events, try to rope in a few people, post their track experiences on their blogs & such, you know - just spread the word, that such things do exist...
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Old 26th September 2007, 13:54   #9
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Good points GTO and a nice thread too.

I think Manufacturer involvement is a very important thing.
There can also be a succession of series right from go-karts to bigger and more powerful open wheel cars. This way a program is in place for the aspirants and they are not wanting to ask the question "what next"!
Local sponsors can be identified local karting events can be initiated to garner the interest from the neighborhoods.
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Old 26th September 2007, 22:51   #10
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I think we need TRACKS / CIRCUITS atleast in all the METROS!
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Old 26th September 2007, 23:07   #11
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Street circuits are a good idea, but govt involvement is needed. To get that there should be ample opportunity for politicos and officals to get tax free money.
So if you can come up with a business plan which ensures them tax free income, you can have a GP from Kashmir to Kanyakumari with the main highways cordoned off

On a more serious note, many cities around the world have their local "GP" where some local street is cordoned off. Its high-time we get a sports minister who is actually a sportsman
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Old 26th September 2007, 23:23   #12
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Make sure more people come to track days!
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Old 26th September 2007, 23:26   #13
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We need sponsorship to train promising young drivers .
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Old 27th September 2007, 02:08   #14
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Indian rallying has been on an upswing in the past couple of years. Loads of privateers and sponsors. Rallying dosent need expensive tracks and therefore its easy to bring to sport to the people.
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Old 27th September 2007, 03:31   #15
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GTO has raised a few valid points. What Indian motorsport needs is clever packaging. The racing pedigree is there and money in the sport is increasing. But lets admit it, being a bunch of petro freaks, how many of us would take 2 days off to attend a motorsport event in a city just 3 hours away? (lets assume it is not track day and you are just a spectator). But, we have no hesitation in booking holidays and spending lots of moolah to watch F1 in some foreign land.

Top priority should be to increase attendance at any given event. Make it more family friendly, layman friendly. Package it as a day-out event. Start small, think big. Get the sponsoring car/tyre company to organise roadshows. A small example. Each time a new tyre is launched, the company invites car mags to test cars shod with/o their tyres. Get them to do the same at such events, only with real customers. Organise theme rides, get kids to meet their heroes like NK, market team merchandise, throw in some glitz and glamour.....xyz

Once attendance at these meets go up, the mainstream media gets interested. This is free publicity. (whether good or bad) The rest follows - broadcasting of events, sponsors lining up, more NKs in the making......ok enough. Time to pinch myself awake.
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