What I’m watching – Motorsport (Goodwood, Formula Drift, Supercars) on YouTube

Yes, I know, I’ve written about YouTube and Facebook and the way the two social media platforms have changed – though ‘revolutionised’ would arguably be a better word to use to describe the difference – the way I ‘consume’ my motorsport via TV.

This weekend just passed, for instance, as I sat virtually chained to my ‘work’ computer finishing off the… August issue of NZ4WD magazine, I was able to keep up with not one, not two, but three major motorsport events happening around the world , two ‘live’ and in ‘real time’ via Facebook, the other slightly  delayed via YouTube, but each one professionally produced and – get this – absolutely free, nada, for nix.

OK it probably slowed my work rate on NZ4WD down a tad, but it was the weekend, and it does say ‘motorsport reporter’ on my business card, so I figured, you know, ‘who’s going to tell me what I can and cannot do……’

I also figured, rightly as it turned out, that there would be a Talk Motorsport column in ‘the way we watch motorsport and how it is changing.’

On which point we need a little context.

Years ago, for instance, when I first started following motorsport here, there were only two ways to ‘watch’ it on TV.

One was on TV1’s variously-sponsored (though Shell is the one I remember best) magazine-style motorsport programme on Sunday afternoon, the other TV3’s Mobil-backed news show on Friday nights.

Neither was perfect, and really, more often than not, I had – MUCH – better things to do of a Friday night and/or a Sunday afternoon than sitting in front of a bloody TV but – once we added a video player to our home entertainment arsenal it became a (relatively simple) matter (for my much more tech-savvy wife Delia, anyway) to chuck a blank cassette into the VCR and ‘record’ either or both programmes for later consumption.

Sky TV’s much heralded arrival here in 1990 marked something of a sea change in the way mainstream sports fans (rugby boofheads and cricket tragics mostly) ‘consumed’ their sport.

Not me though. This was the era when the BTCC was like a de facto World Touring Car Championship with ‘our own’ Paul Radisich one of the emerging stars of the show.

The way we got to watch it wasn’t via SKY though. Oh no. TV3 had – I think- the local rights to the series and chose for a couple of years anyway to ‘celebrate the arrival of the ‘videotape’ of the latest round of the BTCC’ by putting on a special highlights package show at 9.30pm on the Tuesday of the week after the week after the race weekend.
That probably makes it sound like months but in reality it was only    nine days and to is it seemed like the day after. But you can watch this clip f from 1994 and decide for yourself.

Compare ‘how we roll’ today with what went down (maaaaaaaan)! back in the day and boy, is there a difference?

First up thanks to posts on Facebook leading up to the official re-birth of Lord March’s Festival of Speed meeting, I was able to dip in and out of the live Facebook feed and catch up the next day via YouTube for archived ‘highlights packages’ like this one….

Talk about blanket coverage.

Speaking of which it was the latest round of this year’s US Formula Drift championship from the Lake Eire Speedway in Pennsylvania (see below) I really wanted to immerse myself in, and in his case I was aided and abetted by Time Zones.

Because Formula Drift events usually run on a Friday and Saturday afternoon and into the evening format, events on the East Coast are usually live down here on Saturday and Sundy morning.

As such this past weekend I was able to catch all the drama from both days literally as it happened.

As well as the official steam drivers like ‘internet sensation’ and YouTube fan video pioneer Adam Lizotte-Zeisler (aka Adam L-Z) are constantly producing their own daily updates (see below) giving YouTube viewers a fascinating insight into an event.

The third and final major motorsport event I ‘watched’ over the weekend was the Repco Supercars Championship round from Townsville.

 I think I’ve said before that this is the one series I wish I still had Sky for (that and the Valvoline D1NZ Series) but in saying that the edited highlights packages produced by Supercars and uploaded to YouTube 2 to 3hrs after each practise and qualifying season and each race (see below) generally tell you all you need to know.

Which basically boiled down in Townsville to how much quicker SVG was in qualifying and how the bugger went on to win both races….

Which just goes to show I suppose that despite all the changes in the way our news is being delivered to us, some things – like Shayne’s ability in a race car – stay the same!

Ross MacKay

Ross MacKay is an award-winning journalist, author and publicist with first-hand experience of motorsport from a lifetime competing on two and four wheels. He currently combines a day job editing NZ4WD magazine with contract media work, weekend Mountain Bike missions and towing his 1989 Nissan Skyline drifter to grassroots meetings around the North Island.

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