As we gear up for the start of the IndyCar season (March 11, St. Petersburg, FL) and Formula 1 (March 25, Australian Grand Prix), and are already two races into the NASCAR schedule, we decided to put together a few things we’re most looking forward to in motorsports marketing this year.
New Era of IndyCar
There’s a lot to be excited about with IndyCar in 2018. The New Era IndyCar has fans and drivers alike pumped up for the season. In addition to the new car, IndyCar has also seen four new teams join for the 2018 season (Juncos Racing, Harding Racing, Carlin, and Michael Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) and expects nine rookie drivers to be in the field throughout the season.
IndyCar is set to return to Portland International Raceway on Labor Day Weekend this season, returning for the first time since 2007. A major highlight of the 2017 season was the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park and the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. As a first-time event, Gateway experienced sell-out crowds and an outstanding night race, drawing praise from across the series. Can Portland mimic that success as a returning event?
Formula 1 Live in Miami
After the huge success of the first “F1 Live” in London last year, Formula 1 is taking the show on the road to five more cities in 2018, including Miami. This continues Formula 1’s approach, since Liberty Media took over, of being more inclusive as a sport and taking their product to the fans. At F1 Live in London last year, there were driver demonstrations on the streets, autograph sessions and other fan events.
As F1 continues to weigh a potential second US race, the Miami F1 Live could be a great opportunity to build awareness and excitement of F1 in the US.
Esports in Motorsports Continue to Grow
After a successful first season of the F1 Esports Series, Formula 1 is preparing to take the league to the next level. More than 60,000 e-racers participated in the inaugural series that took place from September – November last fall. This year, we could see involvement from all 10 F1 teams and a longer, wide-open tournament.
NASCAR is bringing esports to the tracks for race weekends. At the Daytona 500 in February, Daytona International created a weekend-long tournament featuring NASCAR Heat 2. The event will likely be replicated at more races throughout the season.
Richmond Raceway took a different approach and created a season-long esports program, also with NASCAR Heat 2, with weekly 40-player online races following the NASCAR calendar.