Another season of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship wrapped up last weekend with Shane van Gisbergen claiming his maiden title. The sport has gone through many changes over the last few years, from the introduction of new manufacturers to the grid, the removal of being a V8 only race and changes to various courses, which is still to completely play out. The best change they have made though is to have every race live on Fox Sports. Supercars Media in conjunction with Fox Sports produce every round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Series and here is why it is the best sporting broadcast in Australia.
Personalities and knowledge
In the commentary box there is the regular tones of racing legend Mark Skaife alongside veteran racing commentator Neil Crompton. Skaife has been around the racing track more than most and when he speaks the motoring world listens or at least acknowledge depending on whether you are a Holden supporter or not. Crompton meanwhile has worked on more races than almost anyone in the industry and he too brings experience to the broadcast. Out in the pits are Greg Rust, Greg Murphy and Riana Crehan who each offer unique, but knowledgeable and well researched insight into the event. You can tell they know what they are talking about, because very rarely does anyone get angry at them for coming up and asking for an interview. There are no silly questions here, only quality reporting and insight. All three look like they belong in the paddock and are not there to pester, they are there to add something to the event.
The drivers, pit crew, team bosses and racing officials are all very generous with their time. Even at times of high stress and let’s be honest, in this sport, that is almost all of the time. These motorsport enthusiasts answer tough questions and provide real honest insight into what is happening live as it unfolds. Nothing is off-limits and that is what makes it the best kind of reality television. Race radio is regularly tuned into, giving the viewer even more scope into what is going on out on the track. If there is a crash or an incident, the relevant parties will be behind a microphone ready to answer the tough question within minutes. During Top 10 Shootouts, often the drivers will be hooked up to the commentators the minute their lap has ended to review their performance and again put the viewer right out on the track.
Live in HD with no ads siren to siren
Anyone who is familiar with Fox Footy will know the saying “no ad breaks during play” and it is the same scenario here. Apart from the Bathurst 1000 race, where Channel Ten ads are shown in the smallest box possible in the corner of the screen, every race is live and uninterrupted from start to finish. Producing a good motorsport broadcast is clearly the most important aspect to the production crew and this shines through. Gone are the days where something major happens during an ad break and it is missed. There is no chance of that anymore.
There is also exclusive coverage of support car races, practice sessions, shootouts and any other event that may be occurring at any particular race. If you are a motorsport fan, there is certainly no shortage of content.
This year Fox Sports went one better and dedicated a whole channel to the Bathurst 1000 race for a week or so leading up to the event. It was a hugely popular concept and one that surely returns next year.
Pre and post race coverage
Gone too are the days where a race finishes and it is straight to the news. With the joint venture from Supercars Media and Fox Sports, there are post-race presentations, interviews and then in-depth analysis after every round. Before the drama on the track gets under way, there are extensive previews of what is to come and more interviews with the key players of the day. Jessica Yates who won the 2016 Supercar Media Award and Russell Ingall join Skaife and other guests before and after the race to provide the extra content to viewers.
So kudos Supercars Media production cast and crew and well done to Fox Sports for giving it the platform it needs to shine. If you have not got your teeth into the Supercars format, now is the time to do it. There is certainly something for everyone and it is must see viewing week in week out. Bring on 2017!
Picture – Supercars.com