Could the new world championship for Le Mans cars be a future rival to F1?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Audi will race its R15 TDi in the Intercontinental Cup
Audi will race its R15 TDi in the Intercontinental Cup

The days of a thriving World Sportscar Championship able to rival F1 for popularity among fans and car manufacturers are long past.

But that may change in the future as the organisers of the the Le Mans 24 Hours have announced they are planning a world championship for LMP1 sports cars. It’s already got the support of Audi and could easily attract manufacturers such as Peugeot and Aston Martin who already have LMP1 cars.

Could this new championship re-capture the glory days of the World Sportscar Championship – and muster more support from car manufacturers than F1 has?

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will run an Intercontinental Cup in 2010 which will run across one round from each of the three major sports car championships: the Le Mans Series (Europe), the American Le Mans Series and the Asian Le Mans Series.

The first two races will be the Silverstone 1000km (September 13th) and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (October 2nd).

In 2011 the series will expand to at least six rounds forming a world championship. Interestingly, at this stage the ACO are only talking about offering a title for manufacturers and teams – there is no mention of a drivers’ title. The World Sportscar Championship did not have a drivers’ title until 1981.

That championship, which was run by the FIA, collapsed at the end of 1992.

The increased technical freedom in the ACO’s rules may well prove more appealing for fans and manufacturers alike. Audi and Peugeot have both won the Le Mans 24 Hours with turbo diesel cars – and diesel engines make up a significant proportion of their road car sales. Aston Martin, meanwhile, run a 6-litre V12 petrol engine based on the one from the DB9.

We have also seen how other manufacturers are ramping up their sports car programmes, such as recent F1 departees BMW.

It comes at a time when motor racing series not under the FIA’s control seem to be doing rather better than those which are. The FIA-run World Rally Championship’s only manufacturer entrants are Citroen and Ford, but the rival Intercontinental Rally Challenge has just announced its eighth: former WRC competitor Subaru.

I’m certainly excited by the prospect of a new sports car championship with greater technological freedom than F1 and decent manufacturer backing, racing at some of the best tracks in the world – and I suspect many other F1 fans will be too.

What do you think of the ACO’s plans for the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup?

Le Mans 24 Hours

Top image (C) Audi motorsport

Lola-Aston Martin Le Mans car at the 2009 Goodwood Festival
Lola-Aston Martin Le Mans car at the 2009 Goodwood Festival

75 comments on “Could the new world championship for Le Mans cars be a future rival to F1?”

  1. great article Kieth but i still choose F1 over Le mans because in formula 1 the cars are radically different than what you normally see and they are blistering fast.

  2. Every time a sportscar championship has looked like it was even thinking of threatening F1, the Bernster has killed it off.

    On the rallying front, you’ve been slightly taken in by the spin. The number of ‘works’ manufacturer entries in the IRC is actually shrinking. Subaru customers have been entering since the beginning, but because Subaru hadn’t registered (it’s Byzantine, I know) until now, they weren’t listed in the official results.

    Hence the absurdity of this year’s Safari Rally, which none of the manufacturer teams bothered to go to, so the field consisted of Group N dinosaurs – of which only the Mitsubishis were officially recognised as finishers.

    1. The number of ‘works’ manufacturer entries in the IRC is actually shrinking. Subaru customers have been entering since the beginning, but because Subaru hadn’t registered (it’s Byzantine, I know) until now, they weren’t listed in the official results.

      Fair point Stuart.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys
    10th December 2009, 7:47

    I don’t think it will be a rival – so long as there are cars, there will alway be a Formula 1, that top tier of international motorsport.

    1. …except in the USA. It wouldn’t take much for an international Le Mans championship to put F1 in the shade over there.

      1. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
        11th December 2009, 22:40

        God I’m geting sick of people mentioning F1’s unpopularity in th USA, if there not interested in seeing the best drivers, in the best cars, goining wheel to wheel, thats their problem.
        If they’d prefer to watch a bunch of cowboys go around in circles let them!!

    2. i think with the new “only one tank of gas” rule the f1 cars will have to change a lot and take a look at the fuel efficiency of the Le Mans cars. Sadly i will be missing the raw speed of the f1 cars

  4. I would not dismiss the idea of F1 loosing it’s dominance in it’s claim to be the ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport.

    AMLS has a footing in the USA, so although it is only minor compared to Nascar, at least there has been a long presence in the US, so it is already more international in that sense by having a stake in such a key market.

    The fact that car manufactures can run campaigns using technology that is actually more relevant to their road cars is a big draw. I mean, which is more relevent? A V8 that can do nearly 20,000rpm, but cannot be developed due to an engine freeze, or a diesel V10 vs a petrol V12? Yes please! Cars that can pass each other, tracks with tradition, prestige history and are just plain good tracks, and good crowds are a very exciting prospect.

    I know some people are F1 fanatics, and nothing else, but for me and a lot of other F1 fans there is much more out there. A good race is a good race, and some of the best races i have seen over the last 10 years, in fact the most, have not been in F1. F1 does not want to be complacent with it’s preeminence, history is littered with people, business, armies and empires who have been caught out. Hopefully for Motorsport fans, maybe a great rival to F1 will get it to get it’s ship in shape. Finally.

    1. I agree with HG. I like the looks of the LMP1 cars, although I still prefer the single seater open-wheel formula cars. But if the ACO offer more technical freedom, than it’s great and if the new technologies are more applicable in normal road cars, it’s even greater! So overall I think it’s an exciting prospect. Let’s hope they’ll get it done!

  5. Covered wheels, uncovered wheels.
    Motorsport needs both.
    I strongly support a competitive Sport cars championships, with great cars, drivers and constructors, on hystorical tracks. I think it would not compete with Formula 1, but it would complete racing calendar. Endurance races are wonderful, and a world top championship is necessary.

  6. A true World Championship for car brands that utilizes headlights, windshield wipers, and doors to close? Hell yeah. A showroom customer can tap into those simple things in daily life. That alone justifies a brands involvement. One can also tap into the fact that the engines used are more than likely a version of a showroom block. Justifying the cost. In endurance racing you root for the brand not necessarily the driver. Each car runs with multiple drivers. Brand identification. Plus, the “roofed” bodies tend to be very seductive as well. Remember Group C?

    1. I would love to see the LMP1 cars run a WC…however I dont think every round has to be an enduro.
      Make the races as long as a F1 race maybe marginaly longer but not to much…and then add a few specific rounds of pure enduro’s.

      If they are all 3to5hr or 24hr races then forget it.

      1. Interesting point – NASCAR races are much longer than F1 races, though, and they’re hugely popular in Amnerica.

        1. I prefer the endurance races. The race at Laguna Seca next year has been extended from 4 to 6 hours. At Long Beach we run 1hr 45 min, which to me feels too short, but is a good length for spectating in a single sitting. There is too much tradition and close racing historically to shorten Sebring or Petit Le Mans (although it was shortened this year—due to weather!).

  7. Likely they’re holding off the full championship until 2011 because that’s when the big rule change is expected to be in full effect – Peugeot expects to bring in their new car, the 909HY (a hybrid of some sort), and I suspect that the Audi R15 TDI was just an interim development, so likely they will have something as well. That’s not to mention Aston Martin’s intention to build their own bespoke LMP1 chassis separate of the Lola B09/60 they are using now.

    Now if only Acura would evolve the ARX-02a and bring it into a worldwide LMP1 championship…

  8. HounslowBusGarage
    10th December 2009, 9:13

    A good race is a good race

    Absolutely right, HG.
    I love sports car racing. It’s a gruelling and exciting contest of quite widely varying machinery over a wide variety of tracks.
    But it won’t ever supplant a spectacle like F1.
    Sports car races, by their very nature, just go on too long. The public’s attention span can just about endure 90 minutes or so of Grand Prix, but would wither away over a four hour race, and die completely over a 12 hour event. Le Mans is the only exception to that and that’s simply because of the history. After all, the general public pays little attention to the Daytona, Spa or Nurburgring 24 hour races; only Le Mans impinges.
    I’d love to see a resurgance in the fortunes of sports car racing of whatever description. But as mass entertainment, it needs to be short and dramatic like football, like a grand prix. After all, that why five-day cricket matches are being rivalled by the Twenty-20 game, isn’t it?

  9. If Mazda race their Furai concept how cool would that be…

    But seriously, there needs to be a decent rival to F1 for something to be done about the entertainment value of F1. As fans we’ll all watch it regardless of the on-track action, but for the casual observer there’s still barely any passing, even when drivers behind have a significant pace advantage. For as long as I’ve been a fan of F1 we’ve all collectively shouted for more passing, and the clear way of doing this is to massively decrease reliance on aerodynamic grip and massively increase reliance on mechanical grip – again, everyone knows this is a problem and yet NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE TO FIX IT!

    Bring on awesome looking and sounding sports cars in a world championship and maybe, just maybe something real might be done to spice up F1.

  10. I think the ACO are right to gradually expand this series.
    I am very excited about it as I love sportscar racing.

    However, the ACO should be careful not to expand too quickly as if they push costs up too high you’ll end up with pointless 1 off entries into races.

    Audi \ Peugeot only run a couple of ALMS races this year to cut down on costs. But then I guess running a couple of times is better than none at all, as long as you get a full field and good racing.

  11. i love le mans cars! they look great!

    however they couldnt rival f1 unless the regulations for the series were loosened up a bit, F1 is pretty strict but LMP1 are even tougher on the what you cant do and what you can,

    also shorter races for LMP1, would be good, and nobody knows any of the drivers well.

    Maybe it could be held in the F1 off season, or starting a month befoe F1 finished and a month after F1 began again would be good as i would have something to do in the F1 off season.

  12. The only motorsports I really follow are Formula 1 and in recent years MotoGP, so I can’t say I know much about the details of other series, for example although I had heard of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge I thought it was just a sub category to the World Rally Championship rather than a non-FIA run rival.

    I think it would be hard for any other motorsport to rival Formula 1 in terms of popularity, at least here in the UK, because F1 is so well established, for example F1 is usually the only motorsport to get a mention on the national news.

    I think the main factor in any sports popularity these days is TV coverage, and F1 is the only motorsport I can think of that has been broadcast live on free TV in the UK for as long as it has. One of the reasons I got into MotoGP was because BBC2 started broadcasting it live and the schedules mean it doesn’t clash with F1.

    One of the things that will hold a Championship for Le Mans cars back, on TV at least, is the length of the races, the only option would be a highlight show or the race broadcast live on a specialist channel on Sky. I think the length of an F1 race is about, I defiantly wouldn’t want F1 races to be shortened, but if they were significantly longer it would put off casual fans.

    I hope the new series is a success, and in an ideal world I would like some F1 teams and drivers to participate in races such as Le Mans 24 Hours, but I can’t see it ever rivalling F1.

  13. What level of performance will the new cars have? Sports cars in 90s were basically F1 cars with roofs, only 2-3 secs slower than F1 cars of the time.

    If LMP1 cars are to be close to F1 cars in terms of performance, I dont see how they will keep the costs low enough for new manufacturers to enter.

  14. Well, I dont see this ACO Le Mans Championship not really as a rival of Formula 1 since Formula cars are open wheel racers and Le Mans cars arent. Both classes attract their own fans as well as their own sponsors. See the fact that Microsoft (Xbox360), Sony (Playstation 3), Gulf, Ericsson and Essex where main sponsors of teams during the 2009 24hrs of Le Mans. These sponsors payed amounts of money that would also let them into a Formula 1 team, but chose for Le Mans instead.

    So I think if the ACO serie would actually become a rival, we are all by then passed our midlife crisis and enjoying our spare time with our grandchildren. Because it would take long for the cultural differences, the populairity as well as the esteem of both the series to level up with another.

  15. The reason why FIA championships are not as well as those who arent under FIA is because FIA has too much control over EVERYTHING. And people, especially engineers, hates being controlled.

  16. True F1 fan will never leave F1,secondly the FIA racing are an bit costly then which are independent.

    1. True F1 fans have been treated like a piece of **** for the last fifteen years.

      Personally, I wouldn’t blame any of them for abandoning F1 after the last five years of mostly boring races at nondescript tracks where you’re lucky to get an overtaking manoeuvre after lap 3, all for the pleasure of about £500 a weekend (if you’re lucky enough not to have had your nations GP dropped in favour of some Tilke desert track).

      LMP cars are amazing and if they can get a decent set of tracks and a good format for the races I could see it pulling in lots of fans.

      And I say this as someone who has been an F1 fan for about twenty five years.

      1. I agree with you, beneboy.

  17. I would love a great sportscar WC!
    I know I’m going to the spa 1000km race this year, wich audi will contest with 3 cars!

  18. Wow that’ll be so cool :) I love the Le Mans cars they look amazing.

    I’d definitely watch it!

    I just hope all the teams participate in all the races, because this year we went to watch the Le Mans series race at Silverstone and, from what I gather, the team closest to Aston Martin in the championship didn’t even enter that race and it was the final one! So no matter where Aston finished they’d won the championship.

    (I think that’s right, but I couldn’t really here the commentator too well and I hadn’t followed the series on TV).

  19. It makes a lot of sense for manufacturers to support this series.

    For starters, they run diesel powered cars. Major manufacturers are developing and pushing this technology in its road car businesses, so this will provide the perfect footing for this.

    As Keith mentions, Audi and Peugueot have been highly successful in running diesel powered cars and this hasdirectly translated to their road cars. Not mention the efficiency that diesel engines provide these days, which would naturally lead to sports car manufacturers delving into fine tuning this technology for their road cars

    As pit layne mentions, these sports cars are very relevant to roadcars. If I was a manufacturer who has just pulled out of F1 or considering a successful platform for R&D, this would be perfect. I wouldn’t surprised if the likes of Renault and Toyota look at this seriously.

    I would watch this space with great interest!

  20. Hope that the Le Mans series really takes off – standing at Arnage at 1am with P1 cars screaming around the circuit in the night is awesome – they are spectacular to watch.

    I recall someone taking about a designing an all electric car for Le Mans – probably a few years away, but unlike F1 it would be welcome.

  21. KingHamilton&co
    10th December 2009, 12:13

    i love sportscar racing-almost as much as F1. son naturally i hope this sportscar series is a success. however, i wouldnt be surprised to see the FIA and ecclestone kill it if it gets too much of a competitor to F1. The FIA already killed the world sportscar championship by making ridiculous rules so manufacturers would go to F1 instead, and if they see this as a threat they will murder it within an instant (under bernies command ofcourse).

    however, talking about ridiculous rules, maybe the FIA won’t need to intervene in that sense, as possible silly new rules could see LMP coupes dissapear as they will become inferior if these rules go ahead………..

  22. It would serve the FIA right if LMP racing surpast F1, I’m truely sick of the FIA, they’ve ruined F1.

    Surely TV is the key, good coverage would make the series a success.

  23. I think it would be interesting if Formula 1 cars raced together with LMP1 cars and GT cars, all in one race. That would be the ultimate race. And I don’t know if that was ever done before.

    1. You’ll have to check out one of the old Clarkson videos — he had himself drive around Silverstone in a Ford Cougar, 5 minutes later Colin McRae sets off in a Focus WRC, and another few minutes later we see Johnny Herbert tearing away in a Stewart-Ford F1 car. They all come round to complete one lap at about the same time.

        1. That was a nice video. I really feel bad for Colin McRae, a Rally legend.

          1. Accidental Mick
            21st February 2010, 14:28

            Thanks for that Nitpicker – I’d not seen it before.

  24. I’d love to see the return of a good Sportscar Championship, but for it to really work for fans, it should be televised well.

  25. Let me see… The World Sportscar Championship collapsed at the end of 1992, the first complete year of Max Mosley ahead of FIA. And plans for a new competition begin to be discussed for te first year of Max Mosley out of FIA.

    That’s interesting.

    1. And Jean Todt was the Peugeot sports car racing team boss in the early ’90s before he moved to Ferrari.

  26. The only problem of Le Mans is actually its differentiator: 1000+ km is an unobservable race. Very few die-hards will watch it at the circuit or on TV. For such a race most of the people will go for the highlights only. On the other hand remove this and you get something like Speedcars or DTM …
    Can’t imagine it growing larger than F1.

  27. Reclaiming the legacy of the great battles of drivers and makes from the 50s through the 90s, with cars that do bring innovation and road-relevance to the fore, with a true diversity of engine designs and aero concepts, could definitely threaten F1. Who can forget the ripping howl of a V-12 Jag followed by the roar of a twin-turbo 962 flat-6?

    Along these lines, the real issue is getting that critical mass of the right makers—if the ACO can get any of Jaguar, Ford, BMW ,and a big Japanese brand, all of whom have rejected F1, to buy in that start to build massive interest. And if Ferrari build an LMP, you could call it a day: the rest would follow

    Regarding raw speed, the last sports prototypes of Group C held lap records over F1 cars and some circuits. I’m fairly sure that if Audi could remove those tiny air restrictors and run a decent sized wing on the F15 they would qualify somewhere between Manor and USF1 on next year’s grid.

  28. I love it when I write a nice observation/comment only to submit and I get the dreaded “Internal 500 Server Error”. Suffice it to say, YES! The WC Sports Car Series could indeed be a rival to F1. Lets all hope so! Simply for the technical freedom allowed the teams and the fact that they will race in countries where people who follow racing actually live.

    1. I always write my posts in a Word document before I submit them. It checks my spelling and if I get an “Internal 500 Server Error” then I still have the original to post again.

  29. I’d be delighted to see a global sportscar championship compete with f1, but I see one major problem. Endurance racing is near-impossible to pack into a reasonable tv program. An F1 race broadcast is just right – not too short like the feeder series’, not too boring like live LeMans coverage. It’s just a bit longer than a football match, the pinnacle of sports programming. It’ll take some radical innovation from ACO and the broadcasters to popularize this series.

    But for the hardcore it will be a treat:) The big names, the F1 drop-outs with everything to prove, the cars you can actually see on the road (in a way), the brilliant SimBin games:)))) Can’t wait:)

  30. Nice article Keith, yet I don’t know if the Le Mans champonship. It may suffer from the same problem as the Indy series, which has one race so popular (the Indy 500) that it overshadows the entire competition. Nobody really cares who wins the Indy league, and the same could happen for Le Mans.

    F1 has solved that problem though, in regards to Monaco. How did they do it Keith?

  31. If they do it properly with drivers and constructors championships and if they can get the rules right to let the petrol cars run with the turbo-diesels then I’m interested.

    Big if though.

  32. What about this new GT1 Championship (the “rebirth” of FIA GT)?

    1. Have been looking at that as well, might do an article on it later.

  33. If theses dont run on the same day ill watch both but if they are running on same day. It really depends on how the F1 at the time is. If its just 1 person dominating from start of season to finish. Ill watch the LMPS.

    Since i watched my first whole le mans race iv always been interested in theses cars as much as F1. These in there own championship will make it brilliant! Two fuel types, alot more different manufactures, lots more teams. This is what i want f1 to be.

  34. I don’t think the LMP1 Series will be a rival for F1, not even close.

    Sportscars is barley televised, the ACO seem to be unwilling to run races that are less then 6 hours, I cannot imagine average joe is going to sit there for 6 hours, and watch a race. Eurosport, currently cannot be bothered to show LMS 1000 km races. They show the start and the end, and that is it. That sums up how interested major TV companies are interested in sportscar racing.

    Bernie has built up such a powerful empire, that sportscar racing would not have a chance of competing. F1 is televised on the most popular broadcaster in the UK, can anyone seriously see BBC show sportscar racing?

    The only endurance race that is shown in full, is Le Mans itself. LMP1 racing is not exactly thrilling either, those cars have high downforce levels – and suffer from the dirty air issue. And without GT2 cars to create traffic, the racing would be just about as exciting as F1.

    And why is manufacturer participation so important? The same dropout will happen in the LMP1 world series, after some manufacturers realise that they cannot win, they will just leave, after costs spiral out of control.

    I mean look the situation in America. ALMS may well be a brilliant championship, that has been an innovative leader in motorsports since 1999, but NASCAR is still king, by a mile. Innovation and manufacturers doesn’t really matter, it isn’t what makes average joe watch. F1 and NASCAR have been built over many, many years, and that is what counts.

    The world LMP1 series will be interesting to see, but those who think it can be a rival for F1 are very naive.

    1. Some NASCAR races take six hours to complete. Yellow flags galore. Stock cars can’t race on wet tracks.

  35. i think it’s great – the more sports car action, the better!

    i’m pretty optimistic about the new rules. gt3 has been a big success, gt2 remains strong, and the fia’s (aco adopted the spec) gt1 sounds promising. as for prototypes, still plenty of lolas and dallaras. the aco wants to keep a 1.5-2% performance difference between lmp1 and lmp2. lmp2 will use gt2 engines and lmp1 will use gt1 engines.

  36. A sports car WC will endear itself to anyone who GOES to a race and experiences the pit access available to the ordinary fan. Rubbing elbows with drivers and teams, close up inspections of cars, it’s all just amazing. Given time, it could equal or surpass F1’s popularity; time being the operative word.

    Much more fan friendly than F1 has been or probably ever will be.

    1. The Canadian Grand Prix of 1970 in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, was fan friendly. The drivers had rooms at the Gray Rocks Inn but preferred to have their lunches and suppers at Mont Tremblant Lodge where the food was first class. My brother and had a rented cabin at the lodge for $15 dollars a day, including two meals. We sat just beside the tables of Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill on several occasions.

  37. AMG Fan has pretty much summed up my view.

    It’ll be an nice side show for us Motorsport geeks, assuming we can find it televised anywhere… but it’ll never come even close to the king that is F1. I doubt it’ll even generate as much interest in the UK to rival the BTCC.

    The Le Mans 24hr will have an increased turnout however, but that’ll probably be it.

  38. I’m really excited to see something like this coming back together. Having a world championship again with prototypes would be a really good idea, in my opinion, if it can be made attractive for manufacturers, competitors — and a large enough audience.

    I think endurance racing is different enough from Grand Prix single seaters that two such championships could co-exist, too.

    1. I agree, but yet I just hope the fate doesn’t run out like the Group C cars.

  39. Hey that Audi looks a whole lot racier than the current FI cars with those awful rear wings and giant snow shovels at the front, bring it on.

    1. Hey that Audi looks a whole lot racier than the current FI cars with those awful rear wings and giant snow shovels at the front, bring it on.

      And a car that sounds like a vacuum cleaner.

  40. Around 1971 the sport-prototype category was more popular than F1

  41. I love it. Sports car racing will no doubt be cheaper to attend than F1, the racing has the potential to be better, because of the higher body-contact tolerance, and it will be able to race on great tracks deemed unsafe for F1. Also, I’d have to imagine manufacturers would find a bigger draw to it. However, I think F1 will still be more fun to be a part of, because, as was previously mentioned, the cars are much faster.

  42. I am quite interested in LM series but it will only rival F1 if it available to UK Freeview viewers and F1 is not. However, if coverage is improved to show whole races rather than edited highlights such as on Motorspport Mundial, then it would definitely capture my attention.

  43. I totally agree, F1 is dead because of the FIA and Bernie being greedy. I think in some instances lemans is more enjoyable to watch.

    If Ferrari leave f1, f1 is dead. Especially now that there is only one other manufacture. If all the big supercar manufactures enter Leman not controlled by the FIA, Ferrari and Merc will have no option, because people would want to compare apples with apples. F1 is getting boring, the cars look ugly, and the FIA has screwed the sport.

    A new series could set up to become as big as f1 with 80% of the revenue going to the show the teams, and not to some company who does nothing for the sport.

    It will become more attractive over time and teams/manufacture go were the money is.

    1. I totally agree, F1 is dead because of the FIA and Bernie being greedy. I think in some instances lemans is more enjoyable to watch.

      If Ferrari leave f1, f1 is dead. Especially now that there is only one other manufacture. If all the big supercar manufactures enter Leman not controlled by the FIA, Ferrari and Merc will have no option, because people would want to compare apples with apples. F1 is getting boring, the cars look ugly, and the FIA has screwed the sport.

      A new series could set up to become as big as f1 with 80% of the revenue going to the show the teams, and not to some company who does nothing for the sport.

      Probably the biggest pile of rubbish I’ve ever read. You think F1 is dead, because of Bernie’s greed? If you take your blinkers off, you’ll have realised that Bernie is the reason why F1 is so powerful now. The naviety of your post amazes me, how a new world sportscar series could be more popular then F1, within a few years.

      Ever thought about promotion or TV contracts, do you see endurance racing being broadcasted for its entirety on mainstream TV? Bernie’s got that one, so game over for sportscars.

      If you so called F1 fans, are fed up with F1, then simply don’t watch it. Watch sportscar racing, but don’t come crying back when you find the TV coverage poor and the races too long.

      1. Two or three years ago Mr. Ecclestone promised F1 fans more exciting in-car, outside-car camera work. I’m still waiting. Anyone notice that the hair raising, flatout, 195 mph corner at Spa has not been shown at an advantageous camera angle for several years? I recorded Spa about five or six years ago and it was shown once. After that, they censured it.

  44. Been Watching Le Mans racing off and on for some time. I think it could be a great World Series. Will it rival F1…. If it dose it wont be for many years.

  45. If it was managed well I could see it being a huge success. If I was in charge this is what I would do.

    Every race would be a 24hour race.

    There would be 2 races per continent / region. 2 races in Asia, 2 races in Australasia, 2 races in North America, 2 races in South America, 2 races in Africa, 2 races in the Middle East (including India), 2 races in Western Europe and 2 races in Eastern Europe. So a total of 16 races a year held over the whole year.

    Because each race is 24 hours, at least some point during the race it is going to be in TV prime time for every region around the world. Races would be streamed on the internet, and TV stations could pick up the broadcast if they wanted. With the streaming on the internet, there would a free version, with localised ads every 15 minutes, and a subscription version, with no ads and the ability to download to watch offline etc. A highlights package for each race would be produced, and would be two hours in length, and would be broadcast the week following each race.

    Rules wise, manufacturers from around the world would be encouraged to enter. A standard chassis would be available, and manufacturers would develop their own engines, suspension, gearboxes, electronics and aerodynamics around the standard chassis. Like the DTM, prior to each season the aerodynamic performance of the cars would be checked by the controlling organisation, and evening out of the aerodynamic performance of the different cars would occur, and then the aerodynamics for the season would be frozen for the season. There would be no control tyres or fuel, but the number of tyres and the amount of fuel allowed to be used would be limited. Each season the number of tyres and amount of fuel allowed to be used over a race weekend, would be reduced in order to push the boundaries, and encourage more sustainable methods to be developed, and result in racing that uses less consumables. This research could then be applied to road cars, and in turn reduce the consumables used in road cars.

    1. The Petit LeMans is 12-hours.

      1. Petit Le Mans is 1000 miles or 10 hours, whichever comes first. Sebring is 12 hours.

  46. Because each race is 24 hours, at least some point during the race it is going to be in TV prime time for every region around the world. Races would be streamed on the internet, and TV stations could pick up the broadcast if they wanted. With the streaming on the internet, there would a free version, with localised ads every 15 minutes, and a subscription version, with no ads and the ability to download to watch offline etc. A highlights package for each race would be produced, and would be two hours in length, and would be broadcast the week following each race.

    Sounds great, but if you broadcast it for free on the internet, where does major revenue come from? Its widely acknowledged that the reason why F1 has become so profitable, is because Bernie has signed TV contracts worth many millions.

    Everybody’s ideas are quite devoid of reality. F1 will be the king in motorsport for years to come. Sportscar racing is something I enjoy watching, but we are talking about a rival for F1. And there is little chance of that happening. F1 has been built over many years, it has been promoted and organised by a genius. F1 has been going for 60 years. Sportscar racing has been too inconsistent and is no where in the public eye, just because the ACO are organising a world championship, it doesn’t mean that it can rival F1 in the future. There is no solid evidence to suggest that a series with an open rule book creates more interest.

    When the LMP1 series is shown on mainstream TV, every race is shown and the viewing numbers start to signifcantly increase. And it starts to rival F1 as the world’s most sport. Then lets have this discussion.

  47. Because each race is 24 hours, at least some point during the race it is going to be in TV prime time for every region around the world. Races would be streamed on the internet, and TV stations could pick up the broadcast if they wanted. With the streaming on the internet, there would a free version, with localised ads every 15 minutes, and a subscription version, with no ads and the ability to download to watch offline etc. A highlights package for each race would be produced, and would be two hours in length, and would be broadcast the week following each race.

    Sounds great, but if you broadcast it for free on the internet, where does major revenue come from? Its widely acknowledged that the reason why F1 has become so profitable, is because Bernie has signed TV contracts worth many millions.

    Everybody’s ideas are quite devoid of reality. F1 will be the king in motorsport for years to come. Sportscar racing is something I enjoy watching, but we are talking about a rival for F1. And there is little chance of that happening. F1 has been built over many years, it has been promoted and organised by a genius. F1 has been going for 60 years. Sportscar racing has been too inconsistent and is no where in the public eye, just because the ACO are organising a world championship, it doesn’t mean that it can rival F1 in the future. There is no solid evidence to suggest that a series with an open rule book creates more interest.

    When the LMP1 series is shown on mainstream TV, every race is shown and the viewing numbers start to signifcantly increase. And it starts to rival F1 as the world’s most watched sport. Then lets have this discussion.

  48. Because each race is 24 hours, at least some point during the race it is going to be in TV prime time for every region around the world. Races would be streamed on the internet, and TV stations could pick up the broadcast if they wanted. With the streaming on the internet, there would a free version, with localised ads every 15 minutes, and a subscription version, with no ads and the ability to download to watch offline etc. A highlights package for each race would be produced, and would be two hours in length, and would be broadcast the week following each race.

    Sounds great, but if you broadcast it for free on the internet, where does major revenue come from? Its widely acknowledged that the reason why F1 has become so profitable, is because Bernie has signed TV contracts worth many millions.

    Everybody’s ideas are quite devoid of reality. F1 will be the king in motorsport for years to come. Sportscar racing is something I enjoy watching, but we are talking about a rival for F1. And there is little chance of that happening. F1 has been built over many years, it has been promoted and organised by a genius. F1 has been going for 60 years. Sportscar racing has been too inconsistent and is no where in the public eye, just because the ACO are organising a world championship, it doesn’t mean that it can rival F1 in the future. There is no solid evidence to suggest that a series with an open rule book creates more interest.

    When the LMP1 series is shown on mainstream TV, every race is shown and the viewing numbers start to signifcantly increase. And it starts to rival F1 as the world’s most watched sport. Then lets have this discussion.

    1. Sounds great, but if you broadcast it for free on the internet, where does major revenue come from? Its widely acknowledged that the reason why F1 has become so profitable, is because Bernie has signed TV contracts worth many millions.

      As I did mention there would be two options for internet streaming, one that was ad supported, so free to the viewer and paid for by advertisers, kind of like how free to air tv works, and the second option, which is the viewer pays a subscription fee, and therefore doesn’t have to watch ads. This is where the revenue comes from. It’s kind of like buying direct from the wholesaler. The creator sells the content to the consumer at the same price as a TV station would sell subscriptions or advertising in a normal situation. When you sell to a third party, i.e. TV stations you cannot charge as much as selling directly to the consumer, because TV station needs to be able to make some profit. So streaming over the internet is reducing the splitting of revenue between parties and at the end of the day ensures that a greater percentage of the revenue comes back the creator, and that’s how the revenue is made. Just cause it’s free to the consumer, it doesn’t mean it isn’t profitable, take Google for example.

      The TV contracts the FOM have signed makes Bernie and the FOM a lot money, but I don’t think the F1 as a sport on the whole actually makes much money from the TV deals. It seems like the teams get a very small proportion each, and the tracks, well they all seem to lose money. So who is really making the money?

      It might be pie in the sky thinking, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work.

  49. I think the only person here with a grasp of the reality of the situation is AMGfan… Sportscar is great to watch, but it is not and never will be F1 for the mainstream viewer.

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