Why we’re here
theRACINGLINE.net was launched after a discussion: Why was the Le Mans 24 Hours so poorly reported? Every year a quarter of a million people make the journey to Circuit de La Sarthe for one of the biggest sporting events in the world. In motorsport, the only events that come close are the Indy 500 and the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
So with this in mind, why was the BBC Sport coverage for the entirety of 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans just 4 sentences? A week of build up and qualifying, one of the most unique Le Mans in decades, and the best the BBC could manage was a single article that didn’t have enough content to form paragraphs?
That 4 sentence article doesn’t even tell the story of the race. All it says is that one Porsche retired and the other Porsche won as a result. It mentions the Jackie Chan DC Racing Jota LMP2 car, but doesn’t tell you that it led the race. It doesn’t tell you that the reliability issues of the hybrid cars and lack of privateer LMP1 cars meant that this privately run LMP2 car could have won overall.
Do you know what else it barely mentions? The Toyota story. Sure it says the top 2 Toyotas retired (which isn’t true, one of Toyota’s full time cars did finish) but it doesn’t explain why. It doesn’t tell you that one tangled with a backmarker and had a desperate crawl back to the pits. Worst of all, it doesn’t tell you the bizarre reason for the lead Toyota retiring – the fake marshal.
A few people noticed the fake marshal during the live stream. The mystery man who appeared and gave Kobayashi a thumbs up, accidentally releasing him from the pit lane. The release and subsequent stop led to the clutch failure that would end Toyota’s 2017 Le Mans Challenge.
But the incident with the fake marshal wasn’t properly highlighted until a Toyota press release after the race was finished. Only then did people on internet forums, in particular Ten Tenths, start digging about and try to find out who this man was. Driver suit photos were dug up and teams garage numbers examined until Vincent Capillaire was found to be the mystery marshal. This was all dug up on a forum before any sites picked it up.
Shortly after that, some established motorsport news sites took the images from Ten Tenths, watermarked them, and took credit for the investigative journalism. It was depressing that this was the state that motorsport journalism was in.
The decline in sports car journalism became a topic of discussion. For European motorsport, the only true high quality and reputable source is Daily Sports Car. There is of course Racer.com and the loveable Marshall Pruett, but for obvious reasons he tends to concentrate on the American series. Those who like the technical side of things will no doubt be aware that Mulsanne’s Corner content was slowly tailing off. High quality independent sportscar journalism appears to be on a downward curve.
I spent so much time complaining about it (I complain a lot – you’ll get used to it) that eventually I was told “Well why don’t you make a site?”. I didn’t have a good answer as to why not, so that was that – a new site was being made.
Some of you may remember the old theRacingLine. It was created for a group of gamers who needed a forum to hang out on when their old Microprose Grand Prix forum closed down. The site was essentially an RSS reader – going through other sites, indexing the news and linking back to the original site. Since then the forumers have moved on, databases have died, and one dedicated admin kept paying the hosting fees anyway.
theRACINGLINE.net 3.0 is being launched as a site dedicated to Sportscar and Endurance Racing news and videos. The plan was to cover ACO series, but as you can see by the home page, things got out of hand pretty quickly.
We’re not competing with sites like DSC (we’d lose that fight pretty quickly), we’d like to work alongside sites like DSC and offer something different. DSC and others are extremely good at getting news quickly and accurately from the people involved. With the help of Andrea Quintarelli, tRL will look a bit more at the technical side of motorsport and analyse events, races and regulations involved. We want to invoke discussion and get the readers more involved. We’d like to reverse the trend of high quality independent news sources disappearing. We tick the independent box…we’ll work on the quality.
What you’ll find here
The site is currently setup to post news from ACO, SRO, IMSA and other series. You’re probably looking at the home page thinking, “Man that’s a lot of content. You must have a lot of staff”. No, we don’t. There’s me, there’s Andrea and there’s Nick (and Nick is just here to fix everything that I break). We have full time jobs, and I’m also studying, so won’t be keeping up with the established sites with multiple writers. But we hope to build the site over time and become a site that you check daily.
As we’re European, we’ll be concentrating on ACO and SRO events – specifically WEC, ELMS and Blancpain. We will try and cover the big races from other series, but we won’t get everything. Whilst we’d love to give IMSA a bit more love (because it deserves it), time zones and work schedules don’t lend themselves well to Europeans. However, we’ll do our best.
We also need to provide other services that you can’t find elsewhere. Apart from Race Car Tech and tRL TV (more on those late this week), you’ll find a comments section at the bottom of every article. We use the popular Disqus plugin, and we encourage readers to leave comments and chat with each other and the staff. You can login with Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts, so the chances are you’re already registered here. Leave us comments and get involved. We’d like the readers to be part of the experience.
We’ll also be producing Beginners Guides to selected events, to allow you to explore races you haven’t watched before. New to Dubai? We’ve got your back. Never watched an IMSA race? We’ll help. F1 fan who is feeling disillusioned? If you’re new to endurance racing completely, we’re here’ to help.
We also want your feedback. Leave comments and let us know what you like and what you don’t like. We’ll take them onboard and see what we can do about them. If you want to help out, you can start by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. Use the comments section, share links, tweet us and comment on our Facebook posts. It may not sound like much, but you guys sharing things can make a huge difference.
Lastly we’ve also got a little bit of internet history here, in the form of the RacingCircuits.net backup. The site was built by Daniel King in the late 90s and early 2000s. Unfortunately updates stopped and nobody was able to reach Daniel. In 2006, the hosting for the site ended and this backup was made so people could continue enjoying Daniels hard work. You’ll find a link to the backup in the footer menu.
When does the fun start?
The first event we’ll be covering live is the Creventic 24H Series – Dubai 24 Hours. For us sportscar nerds, the 24 Hours of Dubai marks the start of motorsport season. Although it’s held on the same day, we’ll also have a look at the Asian Le Mans Series from Buriram.
Towards the end of January is the first truly big event of the year – the IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona. It will be one of the highlights of 2018 with an incredible field of drivers, including current Formula One stars.
That’s a little introduction to theRACINGLINE.net. Over the next couple of days there will be introductions to tRL TV and Race Car Tech as well. And then the hard work starts. Bookmark us, support us, follow us and like us – we really appreciate it.