RACING AROUND THE WORLD...FROM HOME
A look at how Canadian race car drivers are entertaining their fans with running E-Sports races through their simulators and how race series and broadcasters have jumped on-board.
When you can't race globally because Covid-19 has shut down everything, you turn to video games to pass the time. But what if your profession could entertain the fans while everyone is stuck at home? NHL, NBA and MLB have all struggled to come up with ways to continue engaging their fans online, on social media and of course on TV. Motorsports has taken a tool (the simulator) that drivers normally use to practice and started broadcasting the virtual races. Drivers are customizing their cars, teams are taking their liveries back to a digital setting and sponsors are coming onboard. Some younger drivers are getting the chance to race with teams and drivers they've looked up to. Drivers have rigged their simulators with cameras and microphones so you can watch how they are reacting to the track. While the visuals are so crisp and clean you feel like you're watching the actual race. Even though it's entertainment to the fans watching on TV, Twitch, Facebook or YouTube, it's keeping the drivers sharp and ready for when they are able to get back onto the track but for now they are racing through their living room.
The crew members below are seen as family. We have worked together for 13+ years on a variety of productions.
ALEX COLTHART (Executive Producer / Director) has been producing videos since 2001. He started his career in TV and worked his way up the production ladder. Productions included Ed's Up, Invention Nation, Fresh with Anna Olson, Food Truck Faceoff, and DNA of GSP, to name a few. He also produced and directed over 100 music videos and a handful of commercials for brands like Redbull, Unicef, Porsche Canada and Sheridan College.
About 5 years ago he started building content for Porsche Canada, BMW, Cadillac, and Harley-Davidson. He also started working with motorsports race teams across North America, documenting their journeys. Filming for Porsche Canada GT3 Cup Challenge, IndyCar, Drag Racing, CSBK Pro Superbike, SportsCar Championship and other IMSA series.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Alex was in the middle of producing/directing a documentary on the late David Thompson, who was the aid & friend of Pierre Trudeau.
JORDAN LENSSEN (Producer) is a Canadian motorsport and commercial automotive photographer, covering races from the F1 Canadian Grand Prix to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and many others. His style is a combination of editorial and photorealism, capturing his subjects from a bold, yet organic perspective.
He is the official licensed photographer for Porsche Canada and the Porsche Canada GT3 Cup series, as well as Fiat Chrysler Canada, Audi Canada, and other international brands within Canada. His editorial and planning background gives him a leading advantage on project production, and he looks forward to meeting new colleagues and challenges.
Jordan and Alex will conduct all the interviews with the drivers, race series spokes people, and the others included in the documentary. Their connections with race car drivers, teams and other professionals within the motorsports world will allow them to get access to some of the best known Canadian racers and have them comfortable talking.
MICHAEL CHERRINGTON (DOP) has been working in the media industry for over 20 years. Served as Director of Photography on music videos, commercials, documentaries and short films. Also operates a telescopic camera crane and motion control. He has worked on many shows that are produced locally including Star Trek: Discovery, American Gods and The Handmaids Tale
CHRIS DONALDSON (EDITOR) is a video editor from Toronto with over 12 years of editing experience and multiple Canadian Screen Award nominations.
He has worked on some of the biggest Canadian reality shows including: Big Brother, Amazing Race, Masterchef, Iron Chef, The Great Canadian Baking Show, and Home to Win, to name a few.
JOSH BROWN (SOUND EDITOR) is a sound engineer in the Film and Television Industry, with 10+ years experience, working in both location audio and primarily postproduction sound.
Productions ranging from Lifestyle TV and Web Series to large Episodic TV Series and Theatrical Feature Films. Some of the titles Include: Motherland: Fort Salem, Antlers, In the Shadow Of The Moon, Resident Evil 6: The Final Chapter, All Out War, The Defector: Escape From North Korea, Leave It to Bryan, and House Of Bryan.
Racing around the world…from your home
Through this pandemic, the NHL, NBA and MLB have all struggled to find ways to entertain and engage their fans with current content. Motorsports on the other hand has increased their fanbase during these challenging times with offering E-Sport races. Professional drivers are using their racing simulators and iRacing to engage their fans who are also isolated at home.
Despite the coronavirus having put motorsports on halt, drivers are still gaining new fans because of the popularity of E-Sports, live streaming and appearing on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. Broadcasters, who have struggled to air anything other than classic sporting events have even jumped onboard and are now broadcasting races, which when you think about it, they are broadcasting a group of people from around the globe playing a video game. Fans are now able to watch their favourite drivers operator their simulator; some drivers even have multiple cameras and professional audio setups to go along with the race footage so fans can direct the action and change camera angles.
Race teams and series have seen the popularity of iRacing grow in such a short amount of time. Now race series are scheduling races which should have taken place, physically, but instead are now taking place virtually with motorsports teams, drivers and broadcasters through iRacing. Series are offering awards and money for some of the races. With the graphics appearing to be so life-like, you feel like you’re really watching the race.
Racing Around The World…From Your Home is a 35-minute documentary that showcases some of Canada’s best race car drivers, and some up and coming drivers who are getting the chance of a lifetime to race and be part of teams they’ve looked up to. We’ll look at what the drivers think about participating in these E-Sports races and if they think it’s helping their careers or is it purely for the entertainment value. We’ll speak with the teams and series that are involved and discuss how they got involved and why. We’ll also look at what this could do for the sport once everyone is allowed back at the ‘real’ racetracks. Finally, we’ll explore and interview people who are around the racetrack during these virtual races, from the fans to photographers who are still working snapping photos (frame grabs) and editing them for clients. We’ll also chat with some family members who are in isolation with these drivers and their large race simulators and discuss what they think about them participating and what it’s done for the household during Covid-19.
To stay with social distancing, we’ll use a variety of techniques to record interviews. All interviews will be conducted virtually by Alex (Exec. Producer) and/or Jordan (Producer), either via zoom or FaceTime. Some drivers have their own camera setup from vlogging or on their simulator and therefore will be able to record and deliver us the content from their interviews. Other drivers we’ll get on a Zoom meeting and record the session. We’ll also have the option to mail a camera and microphone to some drivers. We’ll secure a license for trackside racing footage from iRacing.
Alex & Jordan have personal relationships with dozens of Canada's top race car drivers, who will be glad to be interview during this time. However, we've also done research into stats on the impact of Covid-19 on E-Sports and racing community, links below.