Dion von Moltke talks about his thoughts on the TUSC story lines.
I got so charged up today about writing this blog for Motorsport.com that I ended my workout early to get back home to write this. Now for those of you that know me well, that is saying something, as I really love my workouts! Originally Motorsport.com wanted me to write about the driving standards within the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, but I had to write about something that has been on my mind over the past four months. I have tried to read most of the blogs from the expert journalists that cover our series as well as the comments from you, the fans, and while I agree that there are many problems that need to be fixed such as: how the balance of performance is handled, the officiating within the series, the driver rankings, and our TV and radio package, I don’t believe the sky is falling over the U.S. sports car world.
I am personally very encouraged when it comes to the balance of performance within the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. If we look at the qualifying results in the prototype class from Sebring, it was amazingly close between the Daytona Prototype cars and the LMP2 style cars. I did not think the LMP2 cars would ever have had a chance to win in this series to be honest, but with the way things are looking, watch out for them in Long Beach. I don’t mean things are perfect; there are definitely areas that need to be improved. If we look in our GT-Daytona class, the BMW was not extremely quick at Daytona, but at Sebring they had that car flying. It was able to do a lap time of 2:03.5 at a time in the race where we could not even come close to that.
We actually needed the perfect cool, grippy conditions of the night to get within a second of that lap time. Balance of performance is a hard thing to control, so as a team when we saw the BMW do that laptime we raised an eye brow, said, “Wow.” But we kept our heads down and kept digging all race. It all worked out in the end, as the end of the 12 Hours of Sebring was amazingly close. We came 5th place and under 10 seconds away from the winning Magnus Porsche after 12 hours of racing! That’s badass if you ask me. The series will see the lap times from Sebring and make the necessary adjustments to keep all the racing as close as ever. At the point we are at now the series has to make adjustments after every race, but this has to change. We have to be able to get to a point as a series where we are not changing rules every week. This will take time but I know this is something we absolutely must achieve.
The officiating within the series has been a big talking point for everyone over the first two races, and I agree there is an issue here. What happened to Alex Job Racing at Sebring is inexcusable. As a series we all have to work together to solve this issue. I believe a step in the right direction is to have a full time ex-driver as a steward who is with the race director for the whole weekend. This driver steward has to be someone who has the respect of every driver in the paddock because his opinion from the experienced driver side will be vital. This may not fix what would have happened at Sebring, but it will be an initial step to moving things in the right direction.
The thing I see spoken about the most though is the current TV package that we have. In the first season of a new series I believe we have to understand that there is only so much funding and power this series has to try a garner a big time TV package. The fact that we have partnered with FOX is excellent, and we saw at Daytona we got some big time coverage at the start of the race. While I agree we all want the entirety of every race broadcast live, I can understand why this is not the case right now. I believe this is also the area where the fans can have the biggest influence in changing it. On social media, I have to be honest and say most of the posts I see are negative to most things about our series. We all want a primetime TV and radio deal and to get there we must all come together. To get a primetime spot on FOX we should all be spreading the word on the amazing movement that is currently taking place in the new IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Motorsports worldwide is changing drastically right now and this is a great chance to garner many new racing fans. The more eyes we have watching our race broadcasts, talking about the series, and spreading the word about the great racing taking place to new fans, the more we will grow. The more we grow, the more sponsors we will have come in, which will mean better TV packages for the fans, which will ultimately build a show we will all love.
Let me be clear, I am not saying let’s ignore all the issues but I am saying let’s be thankful for what we have and in the right way we can turn it into something we all want to see. We are all a part of this and have a hand in where this thing goes. From the France family, to the gate officials at every race, from the biggest teams to the smallest, and from our lifelong fans to a brand new fan falling in love with this sport, we are all in this together. Let’s come together and make this series a success.