Uncensored CΛRT Commentary|
by Ed Donath
SROpen Wheel Racing Series?
ATHENS, NY—According to an AP story about CΛRT’s most recent event, the Mexico City Grand Prix set a three-day attendance record of 402,413 surpassing its lofty 2002 benchmark of 351,970. More than half—221,011 fans—were in attendance on Sunday alone, setting the Champ Car World Series’ all time race-day attendance record.
Joseph Heitzler—yes, that Joseph Heitzler—President of GRAND, the Gerald Forsythe-owned company that renovated the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez racing circuit and which promotes both the successful Monterrey and Mexico City events south of the border, supplied AP with these lofty attendance figures.
Tio Jose also stated in atypically jargon-free fashion that his boss’ promotion is now "one of the world's largest motor racing events."
So while Mr. Forsythe’s accountants salivate over the prospect of a huge tax write-off for his diversified enterprises in the USA when the $0.56-per-share cash-out of GF’s major shareholdings in MPH: NYSE is executed, profitability projections in Forsythe’s Mexican investments appear to be on-target as a result of the healthy gates and numerous corporate sponsorships at Fundidora Park and Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Combine Forsythe’s ability to continue steering future OWRS events to his company’s venues with his long-standing team ownership and extensive CΛRT-related associations, and it is clearly Gerald Forsythe—not Paul Gentilozzi or other OWRS partners—who has the most potential for a win/win in the assured survival of Champ Car racing.
Therefore, if there is to be optimism over the prospect of the continuation of our beloved speed sport under the aegis of new private ownership, it is largely because Gerald Forsythe has far too much to lose should OWRS’ venture not bear fruit.
And with a lean-and-mean 2004 event schedule that will have had both poorly attended and overly expensive events surgically removed, OWRS, in conjunction with its co-promotional music concert series, will need to generate lots of revenue the old fashioned way—by filling grandstands.
Fortunately for them, selling tickets for Canadian and Mexican events plus Surfers Paradise, Long Beach and several other American street races has been the least of CΛRT’s business problems. This is, in fact, the main reason why the OWRS partners believe that there is money to be made by an aggressive, self-promoting sales-oriented company in Champ Car racing.
However, because airtime buys are so costly and because any TV coverage that might be acquired at little or no cost is worth precisely that much due to its limited reach, it would be wise to heed this prediction: If your butt isn’t planted in a grandstand seat when the green flag drops next year, you may not get to see any given race live and/or in its entirety.
Are you excited over the prospect of attending more races than in the past? If so, you’ll want to plan your trips and order tickets as early as possible because if OWRS can tweak rules and courses enough to encourage passing and make the races more exciting there will be some SRO signs at the ticket windows of its events.
On the other hand, if you’re a stay-at-home racing fan you should begin preparing right now for the impending couch potato famine.
Copyright © 2003 by Ed Donath and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.
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