Wednesday, 4 April 2012

BTCC at Brands Hatch

I had a marvellous day out at Brands Hatch on Sunday, watching the British Touring Car Championship with my 11-year old son. We went as proper paying spectators, thanks to the generosity of Peter Nally at Nally-Track & Corporate, who cut us a very reasonable deal on the hospitality and great views of the Indy circuit offered by his suite in the Brabham Centre, overlooking the straight of the same name.

There was a big crowd there, and we witnessed a pretty packed day of racing entertainment - Ginettas, Porsches and Renault Clios interspersing the three races for touring cars. Having arrived at 9:00am, I was expecting my son to get bored long before the end of the last race, but thanks to the comfort of the suite, the entertaining company and the thrills and spills of racing, we stuck it out until well past 6 o’clock before heading home (via an inevitable souvenir purchase at Alex Reade).

Although I am still as passionate as ever about endurance racing, the day was a good example of how to bring spectators through the gate and entertain them - not with off-track attractions like bouncy castles, Top Gear simulators and over-priced merchandising (all of which were at Brands and doing a roaring trade) - but with good, solid, proper motor racing.

Collard leads race 1
Get folk in with the ‘soap opera’ names like Plato and Neal; with cars that the public can relate to; keep the action rolling along, and they will learn how to watch a sprint race: it’s a formula that worked for me before I hit my teenage years, and it will encourage others nowadays. You don’t learn to read by starting off with Dickens, Shakespeare or Tolstoy. But the seeds of leisure reading are planted by making reading entertaining, and inspiring you to read more challenging stuff as you get older. If the thought of attending six, twelve or twenty-four hour races is too much for you, go and see the BTCC, and see what it leads to.

One thing that I was very aware of at Brands was that despite the presence of a TV screen in the suite, nobody was watching it - the view out of the window at the real thing kept people spellbound. Long may it be thus - watching racing on a screen just isn’t the same. You have to be there to get the full experience.

Plato on the way to victory in race 3

Live motor sport - unbeatable!

1 comment:

  1. Glad that you had a great day. I agree that a screen does not compete in any way with watching the racing in the flesh, however perhaps the ultimate combination at Le Mans is a big screen opposite your chosen spot. Radio Le Mans on the earphones, big screen to see what else is happening on the circuit and the 'live view' out over the forest esses. Now you may call me greedy, but that's about perfect!