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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For the Fans: New Site Revolutionizes Online Motorsports Viewing

For the American open-wheel racing fan, many a weekend is spent searching for a way to get a fix on open-wheel competition. Unlike stock cars, which run just about every weekend from February to November, open-wheel series usually run schedules of 20 or fewer races. The IZOD IndyCar Series only has 17 events, as does Formula 1, and the issue of time zones makes following the latter difficult as it holds its Asian rounds.

However, a new motorsports website built for the hardcore fan has come along to solve some of these problems for the American open-wheel fan. RaceFansTV.com, in its infancy, has already secured the rights to rebroadcast past events of some of the top open-wheel series in the world, including British and European Formula 3, the Star Mazda Championship, the Atlantic Championship, and classic open-wheel events, including Indianapolis 500s from the 1960s. It also broadcasts profiles of some of the top drivers in racing history, under the title of "Golden Age Documentaries."

The site was founded as a way to bring historic motorsports videos together in one place. It boasts dozens of new videos per week, fresh and frequently updated news from around the world, as well as an already vibrant online community with contests, polls, and message boards. It even has a section allowing fans to post their own reports, often times including striking fan-shot photography of some of the biggest events in the world. With only weeks online, the site is still primed to grow exponentially.

Among the names that older racing fans might recognize in classic open-wheel races are A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Eddie Sachs, and Rodger Ward. More greats are profiled in Golden Age Documentaries, including former Formula 1 stars Jack Brabham, Jim Clark, Juan Fangio, Jackie Stewart, and John Surtees. Budding racing historians can also check out the site's extensive wiki, containing information on just about any driver imaginable.

But don't let the "historic" tag fool you - many of the junior open-wheel series events that the site currently carries come from the past two years. Among the young talent that Race Fans TV users can watch are Formula 1 test pilots Valtteri Bottas, Brendon Hartley, and Daniel Ricciardo, Firestone Indy Lights drivers Philip Major, Jonathan Summerton, and Jean Karl Vernay, and IZOD IndyCar Series rookie Simona de Silvestro. Many more drivers whose exploits can currently be seen on the site will make names for themselves in those three series in the future. In fact, current IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway, and Takuma Sato all made names for themselves by winning the championships in the branches of Formula 3 that Race Fans TV carries, making it a prime place to seek out the imported open-wheel talent of the future.

Of course, Race Fans TV is not exclusively an open-wheel site. It also boasts solid video libraries of sports car, touring car, rally, stock car, and motorcycle racing, giving it something for just about everybody. In fact, eight channels highlighting different niches within motorsports are running at all times, with five more niche channels and two on demand channels also established.

The site is free to experience, and free to join, but a $5 monthly subscription also opens up increases in video quality, decreases in advertisement, and the ability to watch a handful of videos on demand each month. Subscribers can also watch videos on demand any time within 24 hours of their most recent airing for free.

You can check out Race Fans TV's open wheel channel here, or the home page here.

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