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Thread: wrc drivers future. Go to Top of This Forum

 Re: wrc drivers future. by k1w1taxi

8-Mar-09 05:26 PM 

posted by AndyRAC, on 16 Feb 09 03:38 PM

In trying to make the WRC 'sexy' for TV/Media -they've completely ruined the spectacle and endurance side of the sport. If they wish to regain it's popularity - this aspect needs to come back. Because every event is virtually the same - an idea from F1 - It is just boring.
Let's have some variety - short 2 day events with many stages,i;e a short, sharp shock. 3 day events similar to modern events. 4-5 day 'classic' events. Surely much more interesting....

I agree. I also wonder, given as making it cheaper was one of the *reasons* for this crap cloverleaf format what actual cost saving are in it for the teams. eg How much more expensive would it really be for the teams to do 800 kms over 4 days in NZ than 350 over two and a half?


 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

8-Mar-09 11:01 PM 

Costs, cost, cost everything costs and it probably does cost a fair amount to put on a stage. There permits to be attained, residents to compensated, roads to be graded, extra distance to be covered, additional road closure equipment, human resources, communication equipment, emergency services the list goes on.

So what are the ways these costs can be mitigated/recouped. I should think the aim would be to keep entry fees to a minimum (if any) and work on strategies that deliver a high level of interactivity with the spectator.

Things like an at spectator point SMS 'rate that drive' competition with instant prizes.

Use of large screen TV to deliver linked promo's, broken up by live 'in car' footage via RF transmission from the cars as they pass the spectator point so spectators get totally immersed in the experience.

Are there any other things you can think of?

 Re: wrc drivers future. by AndyRAC

9-Mar-09 03:17 AM 

The problem is that these ideas cost money - and guess who'll pay - yes the spectator. Here in UK it costs £90 for a World Rally pass on RallyGB - and the only facilities provided are a burger van and a few port-a-loos. Rip off or what?

 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

9-Mar-09 05:43 AM 

True and eventually somebody has to pay...

I don't know the actual costings or spectator numbers but for the conversation the whole point of those ideas are to make standing around in between cars in the elements more enjoyable for the less hardened Fan, so maybe greater numbers will attend.

So if sponsors get greater interactivity with greater numbers they'll probably be happy to fork out a greater share, and the price of a rally pass could be reduced which in itself might lead to great numbers.

Yes there would be some investment but what could be achieved in the medium to long term will make that investment really worthwhile.

 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

9-Mar-09 05:48 AM 

Teamanager: "Faster cars should still be able to finish ahead of slower cars, as there are always sections where speed and power can make a difference. The faster car can also slow down when things get rough...."

Resulting in the slower drivers in slower cars even more likely to break down.

Your comparison to the Safari is great. But there are differences. One is surely the shortness of modern WRC events and repeat stages. Next that there are too many similar events - now 6 in a row coming - and they are not in good locations. A Safari victory you can market in Europe, because of its unique scenery and location. Safari is something the general public understands, while why should the general public get excited about Cyprus or Sardinia.

Another is the surface. The beauty about Safari was indeed that underdogs could win. In all those groupB years never a 4x4 car won Safari. It was Peugeot 404 and 504, Datsuns, and later ever again the turbo charged but RWD Toyota Celica TCT. On the Peugeots you could always see, even if they had a rotten start, in the black cotton out of all places they would come back. And also with the Celica TCT you could see a pattern. A Peugeot 205 T16 or Audi Sport Quattro proved utterly useless in Safari. Even in groupA, it was the only event where the huge Audi 200 Turbo could shine, which OK, was the first 4x4 victory, but the year after, when a Lancia Delta won, it was bullied to the finish line by a RWD V6 Nissan Silvia. Despite this being Safari, it was not 4x4 that you needed, but a driver with the right approach to the mud and ever again a car with good suspension travel, long wheel base and huge torque. This pattern made me believe that there really is something about Safari. There are cars that simply work better in the conditions and challenges thrown at you. And to prove this, is what rally competition is about.

What rally competition is not about in my eyes is a rough rally wheere treacherous mud is replaced by rocks the size of footballs that will rip your wheels off and once you travel at 80km/h it is pure luck avoiding them! That proves nothing, it is stupid, boring and not even nice to look at, nor does it sell performance cars!

Next interesting point.

k1w1taxi: "I agree. I also wonder, given as making it cheaper was one of the *reasons* for this crap cloverleaf format what actual cost saving are in it for the teams. eg How much more expensive would it really be for the teams to do 800 kms over 4 days in NZ than 350 over two and a half?"

Sure LevinGT has a point, but who says the same personal can only stand at one stage. I also believe, if you take an old style RAC over 4-5 days with parks etc, when every stage cost spectator charges, the marshalls across the country and the spectators across the country are more enthusiastic about getting involved. Is a marshall working for free and living in north England or Scotland really wanting to marshall the Cardiff superspecial. Sure there are other charges, permissions, emergency services, but do they make the bulk? I can remember the Lombard Rally, which is an amateurs affair for small groupN cars, they manage over 40 different stages and going to a soft pattern control tyre and only one run over stages meant regrading and forestry commission charges actually went down for them, and if the amateurs can run such event, there should be ways for the pros.

From a financial team point of view I never understood this 16 rounds clover leaf business full stop. The FIA told us they do that to reduce costs. Well, the bulk of the team expenses is to develop and test a car plus the logistics. These costs stay exactly the same if a rally is 350km or 800km and if you run 2 cars or 3!
!! If you have 16 rounds of 350km each you organise and pay the logistics for 16 rounds. If you have 8 rounds of 700km, you organise and pay the logistics for 8 rounds, half the logistics expenses even though you cover exactly the same competitive distance !!
If you extend your rally in length, sure there is more hotel nights, more fuel, more tyres, but the basic work and orders you have to do anyway, so if you extend your rally by 50 percent, it does not mean 50 percent more cost but maybe 10 percent, while you probably have 50 percent more visibility. More clear this example maybe gets with the cars. If you start with one car, you need one motorhome, one team doctor, one catering. If you run 3 cars, you maybe need a few more mechanics, but you still only need one motorhome, one team doctor and you still do not need 3 kitchens and chefs and the development cost of your rally car is not a cent more either!

 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

9-Mar-09 06:20 AM 

I also must say, by all my love for the IRC, I felt somewhat sorry that teams had the expense to travel to Brazil for only 2 days and 13 stages. Hardly worthwhile.

If in your question you want an accurate price tag, well I don't know the prices everywheere. But say:

If a Euro based team does a 300km rally in Japan and then a 300km rally in NZ 2 months later, they have to book flights and ferries whatever twice. If they run only a 600km Rally NZ and start with 4 cars instead of 2, they only travel once and they put the extra 2 cars on the same transport of the other 2. In fact this 2-car team business is part of the silliness. Look how Ford and Citroen travel to the events. They have car transporters carrying 5 or 6 cars. I am convinced Stobart and Rautenbach paying M2 teams actually reduce the logistics costs for the works teams, proving how silly the 2-car team limit for cost saving is!

So now you extend your Rally NZ by another 300km, making the rally twice as long. You need:
- one or two extra hotel nights for 50 staff
- fuel for 2 or 3 cars for 300km, making maybe 300litres, which is pessimistic calculated 500 Euros.
- tyres for 2 or 3 cars for 300km which is say 10 sets of tyres for a 3-car team

Everything else, car preparation, transport from and to the event, booking, entry fees is in it. Or even if the entry fees double, the list above we don't speak more than a few 10,000s. However we have more to report about the event, legendary locations are re-visited, we return to events that the public can understand the challenge of! And that is massive value!

You know I hate the Dakar as being a truck trial, not a rally. But this event is massive, nothing clover leaf, the audience understands it as adventure and TV is full of it, even if it is nowheere near as good rally action as WRC and IRC. The other day there was a documentation about VW in Dakar -they were not even in Dakar for this not even a rally, but who cares- in German TV and they said there alone for Dakar 2009 Volkswagen had a budget of 110 million Euros! And somehow I was not surprised by that figure. If the show, the single events stand out as a real challenge and show, I am sure spectators could understand more and teams and media would be more interested. Yet in the examples above, extending the rallies is not even that much cost increasing at all!

However then as a final point it is still important to reduce the calendar. Even if die hard rally fans may not like this suggestion. Even if we increase the rallies to something more unique with legendary potential, if we have Cyprus this week, Sardinia next and Acropolis in 3 weeks time and yet another one being similar thereafter, none of these events will stand out and public and media soon lose interest in these repeats.

 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

9-Mar-09 02:12 PM 

Sorry if I give you too much to read. But the last point I made I think is an interesting twist to the whole subject to think about. Not only is extending single rallies NOT that much more expensive at all. Dakar, like it or not, it is a huge, ANNUAL event. If Dakar was monthly, I don't think anybody would still report about it! And the same sensation we need back in WRC or IRC.

I would agree to Cyprus being a great event if it was twice as long and replaced Acropolis, Sardinia, Turkey, the lot as a once a year highlight. But as it is, as much as half the WRC calendar is made up of the worst surface there is, why should anybody be interested in the name of these many mini events?

 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

10-Mar-09 03:40 AM 

Good way of looking at it Chris, the economies of scale argument is a big one.

Definitely mixing it up and maybe even some un-pacenoted map events.

OK not too sure about the cutting back of the calendar.

WRC and motorsport in general are not only about selling the motoring industry and associated sponsors. It is about, in part, about providing inspiration, promoting the human spirit and technology, promoting tourism, promotion of cross cultural relationships and business.

Cutting back on the number events would be highly detrimental for everyone involved.

 Re: wrc drivers future. by m4d-mike

10-Mar-09 09:53 AM 

twelve events a year is a good number maybe once a month but the four day rallys are also a good idea. the r.a.c.(the old one) the safari, monte carlo, sardinia and the acropolis. all four day events then maybe some sprint events also in there too. we are seein an extreme in here of all short sprint events. how do we know the other extreme will not be more of the same, a good mix is whats needed. tarmac snow and gravel. the new wrc cars are not built to take 4 day events and the toughness wold have to be improved so the cars would end up changing too.
the fia i think is suffering from the same narrow mindedness that dictates they have to have a single format for every event.
if we can see a change of that mindset i reckon the whle sport will get better. after all what is the point of using monte and the safari for the same championship if not to challenge the teams to be the best.

 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

10-Mar-09 08:39 PM 

Absolutely agreed with m4d-mike, except maybe replace Sardinia for San Remo.

Plus if I look at the reliability of modern WRCars on them short events, I don't think they would have a big problem with longer events. Only maybe the longer events need more reliability, which in turn could lead to less extreme and such cheaper tuning. Same principle as the turbo engines, that get their power through boost rather than compression and revs....

12 rounds is OK, but it shouldn't be more to not overcrowd the calendar and such again narrow the significance and memory of single events. 10-12 is about perfect.

I also see no problem with some sprint events mixed into it. As long as each single event stands out like a highlight to the public as a unique challenge!

See again my Dakar example, which is talked about in the media for months and wheere VW is prepared to spend near twice the budget on a single event than Peugeot had per season when blamed for being unfairly rich! Why is that again? Because it is an event like no other and the winner - even if it was a pathetic win for VW - is crowned King of Dakar for at least a year!

Ergo, I would agree with m4d-mike 12 events including some sprint rallies but also some 4-5 day ones and maybe even - to a lesser degree for me - as LevinGT says an un-pacenoted event.
-- Because the one thing how we don't sell rally to the general public and media is having 16 identical events per year! --
VW would not spend 110 Million on Dakar and TV would not report about it near as much if Dakar was repeated every couple of months!

 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

11-Mar-09 01:20 AM 

Hmm the calendar, is difficult, I mean what criteria do you apply to choose what stays and what goes, and what about opportunities for new Rallys

If Rally was only about TV then the formats of the events wouldnt matter that much. Most of my WRC watching is done on TV. Problem is that in the last few years a lot of the camera work consists of panning one Ad banner to the next. I read some if you are to show a person something ads the same way more then five times in a row during a sitting you run the risk of building conscious resistance to it. This can also rub off on the content value.

As far actual events are concerned Rally Aus progressively shrank, in the early years a spectator chasing the top 10 cars you could easily cover 1500+ kms during the rally which was really enjoyable. In 2006 it was about 300kms and the worst part was having to park miles away the stages and be carted in on buses to Rally villages. One advantage I guess was the fact you could actually sit tight and watch the whole field go through…

Anyhow I went to check out Japan last year to see what the state of things were. So given the exchange rate was poor the stage entry prices extremely high and the format being similar to what Rally Aus had become I decided I would just go drive the stages at night prior to them being run.

My vision for Rally Utopia. Better variety of events that test human ingenuity, resilience and technical excellence. How might this be achieved.

My observations are, there is a need to cater for differing types of patrons probably based on comfort level. This is already done to some extent but there are certain things I can see that will improve the efficiency of delivering Rally to the spectator some of this is outlined below.

Rally Aus would have different ticket levels including enthusiasts pass which gave access to all areas Rally villages, sss and included exclusive media access points which usually included routes through state forest and some navigation to get to. This tended to reduce over the years. More of that is good, there is no bad in being lost in state forest with a target time.

For normal level of comfort Rally villages with the things like I have written in one of my previous posts to engage the spectators.

For high level comfort seekers keeping them grounded at a central location such as a service park and keeping them close to a SSS and entertained by a number of means but primarily by granting non-exclusive licenses for teams to use incar footage at the event and on Youtube. How the data gets there doesn’t matter, Ymax, physical connection when the car arrives at service, remote upload and sat or other network transmission. But the team can then add in its own targeted promo and advertising and deliver it.

The objective being to maximise the possible returns for organisers and teams by increasing the time a patron is exposed to event branding, product and service messages and maximise the time spent making exclusive use of event amenities rather than having them transit on the road to spectator points inherently they are subject to ‘external’ marketing messages and are able to spend their money else on route. This may also serve to diminish the risk of potential serious injury to spectators.

Anyhow WRC events are usually over popular with problems of on stage safety being a big issue, don’t know what the answers are but the above may help to spread the demand, clearly people will transit between each but it seems such a waste to have all the infrastructure in place and paid for to have it frequented for such short times, see video below

Big shout out to the organisers, the volunteers, professionals, car clubs and associations, N1TV and sponsors that put on these events you all do an incredible job.

I’m hoping this sort of rhetoric might lead to some other focus, other then as m4d-mike stated the “same narrow mindedness that dictates they have to have a single format for every event.“

 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

11-Mar-09 02:15 AM 

Try again with the link:

 Re: wrc drivers future. by Chris B

11-Mar-09 05:35 AM 

Very good post and a lot of points to let sink in and think about. Just some comments for now.

The only point I really don't agree too is that the event format is not so important if it is about TV. Even for TV audience it is the uniqueness and its challenges from single events that makes rally attractive and can be transported through the screen. Once again my unloved example of Dakar. That the TV crews do NOT have the comfort of returning to the same hotel and same camp every night seems exactly the asset of the event for them! Dakar gets massive air time, TV teams do not seem to have a problem having to travel hundreds of km every day, in contrary it is that which allows them to sell it as a huge adventure.

"I read some if you are to show a person something ads the same way more then five times in a row during a sitting you run the risk of building conscious resistance to it. This can also rub off on the content value."

This is very truue. This is in fact why I hate soccer so much. Whatever TV or radio station I tune it, I am being confronted with a game that I don't find exciting about 20 or 30 times day in day out, and it is this which makes me hate it with a passion, total overload and sick of it. And indeed the same goes for me for advertising. If there is an advert that is annoying and switched too often -or an unrleated product linked to soccer- I actually do make a point of avoiding to buy it!

What concerns the WRC TV, I have the feeling they really do not make a good job of it. Most extreme case that therefore I remember well was when on Rallye Deutschland I stood on top of a hill and saw 9 hairpins and the ISC TV crew stood on the bottom of the hill and only saw one hairpin and, fair enough, the advertising banners. Sure enough on TV at night the stage looked utter rubbish. Absolutely nothing at all of the superb atmosphere was carried over onto the screen and the car action was the worst you could possibly come out with, as you may have only realised actually being there. At this point I actually wondered if the TV crews don't carry the advertising banners with them, because even for the large crowd of spectators at the stage, you could not have found a worse spot for the banners, they were just visible on TV!

On the infrastructure for teams and spectator management, I just want to say for now that incredibly in the larger events this was less of a problem. Ironically for the larger area with potentially more marshalls having to be covered. Die hard fans had more fun travelling round the country, while locals that would not travel i.e. to Wales came out and watched. See my arguments pro RAC park stages. The ones travelling all country are likely not the bulk of spectators, but real die hard fans as you and me. So the irony here is, with a more compact event you don't actually make things easier for this spectator group, you make it less enjoyable, less involving! Apart from that a normal and forseeable formula seems to apply. If you concentrate a whole day's action on 3 stages run twice in a 40 square km area, of course you have a crowd control and traffic jam problem despite lower spectator numbers. We cannot spread out any more!

 Re: wrc drivers future. by levingt

11-Mar-09 08:37 AM 

Thanks for the comments, I guess most peoples views on ads are probably the same however as I posted before someone has to pay, better to spread it across all prospective buyers of sponsors goods and work on getting numbers. Ads can be ok, they just need to be delivered with some variety.

Are yes fools ball, they play it mostly with an oval shaped ball over here...great role models for this countries next generation, drug taking, women raping.... the list goes on and this gets the majority of media attention!!!

 Re: wrc drivers future. by bringbackrealrallying

11-Mar-09 12:23 AM 

Basically, regarding the events layout and mixtures of events, long events short events etc, what we are saying is rallying used to be perfect. You had the Monte, all its glam and and fame and a good test thrown in, Sweden and Finland short sprints, mega endurance events such as the Safari, mixed surface events like Portugal and San Remo and the good ol' RAC running nationwide, in the forests for those who lived nearby or could be bothered going and the park stages for the less hardcore fan. Plus other classics like Corsica and Acropolis providing their own variety.
This is rallying, this is what we need back. If the car makers dont like it tits to em. People will always enter rallies and people will always go and watch. When the car makers re notice the potential in rallying they would soon come back.

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