Digital network to fill void left by SPEED with coverage of at least 40 racing series.
When cable TV's SPEED channel was absorbed into the Fox Sports family, motorsports enthusiasts suddenly found racing replaced with Ultimate Fighting events, a gap in broadcating was created that has not yet been filled, though Forrest Lucas' MAV-TV has, and is, making a valiant effort.
Speedvison was launched by cable pioneer Roger Werner in 1995, along with Outdoor Life, a roughing-it nature channel. Speedvision grew slowly but steadily until it came to the attention of Fox, which grew the channel even more.
Eventually, the network -- then called SPEED -- became a victim of its own success: It had so many viewers that it became more valuable to Fox as a general sports outlet, than a motorsports channel. So it disappeared. Werner was long gone by then, working other projects and vintage racing when time permitted.
Now, Werner is back, with a new plan for motorsports, automotive and cycle programming, delivered digitally. Werner, who began his cable career with ESPN and rose to that company's CEO, has announced he has backed the relaunch of digital performance automotive network Torque.TV, providing North American viewers with performance automotive content from domestic and international sources since SPEED went off the air. Series that will be covered includes Ferrari Challenge (above), Asian Le Mans, Pirelli World Challenge, European Le Mans, British Touring Cars and Blancpain GT. Torque.TV isn't new, but wit Werner's backing, it apparently will be expanded dramatically.
Torque.TV is designed to reflect the original editorial intent that Werner had when he and his team built SPEEDVISION (and later SPEED) in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s; providing viewers with motorsports event series and performance automotive programming that celebrates America’s passion for the automobile.
Online, Torque.TV uses a similar programming menu as the original SPEEDVISION. Already the Torque.TV site has more than 1,000 hours of content organized under one of six different channels; Motorsports, New Wheels, Lifestyle, Historical, Bikes and the homepage channel, Torque.TV.
Torque.TV’s motorsports programming is focused on providing viewers with access to race event coverage from the U.S. and around the world not available to American cable subscribers since SPEED ceased broadcast. Live and taped coverage of at least 40 international race series and events begins in March of 2015, including:
--Pirelli World Challenge
--Porsche Carrera Cup
--European Le Mans Series
--Asian Le Mans Series
--British GT Championship
--ADAC GT Masters
--British and Asia Pacific Rally
--British Touring Car Championship (BTCC)
--SKUSA SuperNationals from Las Vegas
--Blancpain GT Series
In addition, major professional domestic race series will be covered with news, highlights and special behind the scenes shoulder programming for series including NASCAR, IndyCar, NHRA, IMSA, USAC and SCCA. Select on-demand news programming includes Mobil 1 The Grid, Motorsport Mundial and Inside Grand Prix.
Following in the same vein as shows such as MotorWeek and Test Drive that originally appeared on SPEEDVISION, the New Wheels channel is where all of Torque.TV’s new car news, road tests and reviews appear. New Wheels also delivers select infotainment content supplied under licensing agreements with most OEM and aftermarket manufacturers.
Torque.TV’s Lifestyle channel gives viewers an inside look at the world’s leading automotive events such as major auto shows like the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows; Concours d’Elegances; trade shows such as SEMA and PRI; and classic car auctions from around the world. At launch, Torque.TV has a variety of content covering everything from major vintage automotive events to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
As part of its launch, Torque.TV also acquired the archives of WATV Productions, giving the network access to an extensive library of historical, lifestyle and biographical automotive content including popular titles like Icons, The American Muscle Car; Carroll Shelby Tribute; and the Carography series. Torque.TV will also air exclusive licensed content from the highest quality motorsport and manufacturer historical archives including footage never-before-broadcast on any television network, such as 50 Years of the official Le Mans 24 highlight films.
The Torque.TV Bikes channel features, racing events, lifestyle content, new bike test rides, news and information from the world of motorcycles. Programming includes, but is not limited to:
--British Road Racing Championship
--Two Wheel Thunder
--Red Bull X-Fighters World Championship
--Supermoto GP Championship
--History of Motorcycles
The self-titled TorqueTV channel offers a broad look into the network’s five other channels. The channel provides a continuous, linear stream of automotive enthusiast and motorsports content, broadcasting a variety of short form videos as well as previews of programming available exclusively to Torque.TV subscribers.
For the remainder of 2014, all of Torque.TV’s content will be delivered free of charge. Beginning in 2015, Torque.TV will move to dual-tier subscription format programming. Free content will remain on the main TorqueTV channel, but will largely consist of short form video content such as short news and magazine features, sponsor supplied infotainment, previews of upcoming races and teasers of subscription content. The paid section of the site will include flag to flag coverage of major racing event series, full 30-minute news and information programs, on-demand and live stream coverage of collector car auctions and other vintage car events, as well as full-length automotive and motorcycle documentaries