RCGP (Warning, A little longer read)
I have been reading posts and comments on social media today about the first ever weekend of RCGP competition. I feel compelled to give my view, opinion and thoughts especially since I have a vested interest in the series, production and life of the concept. You don't have to agree with me but I challenge you to have an open mind.
First and foremost congrats the everyone involved in the RCGP for a VERY successful first event.
When I started watching the videos on Friday of the press conferences the first thing I thought was wow, they are stepping it up instantly. They are giving you content we don't get on a regular basis and setting the bar. I thought the meeting of the team concept was great and feel that what ever the plan is in the future to bring more interesting candid and lifestyle packages and features will definitely keep us tuned in and interested in the series and the competitors. All the videos and pictures of the facility and the look were great and showed they cared and weren't going to leave out the little details. So very first impressions were solid.
Once I started watching the heads up qualifiers for round one I was blown away by the production and the racing. The heads up format (Reedy Race or whatever you want to call it) was way more exciting than watching people race the clock. They all came down to the wire and it was not just good for us but great for the competitors as well. The 15min Mains were just what was needed. The racing was good, there was some pit strategy and the racing was still pretty close considering the disparity from 1-13.
To be 100% honest by day two we already knew who the players were and it was going to be similar to day one. That doesn't take away from the outcome and how the racing went. But in my opinion and this could already be the plan they should focus the RCGP around the schedule of Round one and not do two rounds at the same track however I know why they did it this year. If I had to guess moving forward they would do one round per country and have 6-8 rounds per year. At least that is what I would want to see and think would be most exciting and fun to watch.
One of the biggest problems in all of RC is we qualify all day to run one long ass race that you may not even make out of the first turn. It's pointless. The hobby side of things even makes less sense to spend days upon days at tracks qualifying to run a 15 min lower main (or less depending on the event) and not even get you to the mecca of a 30-45 min main. I for one understand why promoters do what they do to get big entry counts and make money. There are some good ones out there and they have mastered their craft and kudos to them. But in the end of the day it's not for everyone. The manufactures want their drivers there because they sell product to the non pros (Sportsman), The Pros want to be there because they like to race against the other pros of their caliber and there is normally contingency money on the line for those bigger marquee events. The middle racers lets call them open are trying to get noticed and sponsored at a higher level so they attend. It is a circle of life when it comes down to it. But that doesn't make those events great or better than the next. The experience with your friends, learning, competing, all those things are what makes it great, not 600-1000 entries.
Ok so lets talk about RCGP. Here is what I think you need to keep in mind.
We have only seen their first ever event. And in my opinion they knocked it out of the park. Can they do better, can they improve... Come on, nothing is perfect the first time.
They did not have the 15 best drivers in the world there. Yes they had a few and the talent there was amazing however imagine if basically the Top 15 in the world were there and we watched them race heads up like the Round 1 format. Can you even fathom how great the racing would be?
They are doing something that has never been done. A WORLD Series. Points accumulation that crowns a World Champion. Yes IFMAR crowns a champ every two years. But what if after 10 days of practice, qualifying and a couple semi's someone in their prime like Maifield or Tessman gets taken out in the first lap and breaks their car. I get that there are 14 other guys that have the same chance but they have to wait 2 years for another shot. Now they get a month to regroup and race the best again for a chance to gain points to be crowned the champ. In my humble opinion to win a series like this is way more prestigious than winning a stand alone event every two years. The IFMAR Worlds could may just end up being the Indy 500 of 1/8 RC. We will just have to wait and see.
Their coverage and professionalism is far above anything I've seen to date. I'm a fan of Live RC and their efforts but lets be real here. RCGP is making an effort to make stars out of RC Drivers and their teams. They care about the image and content. The camera angles were great the announcing was spot on and will get better, the on screen graphics were a step above. Just think this is only their first go at it. No one starts at their best, you only get better.
Put it into perspective people. RCGP is not for everyone. This is the NASCAR, F1, NFL, Supercross of RC. I seen people say RC is a participation sport/hobby. 100% true, But when you start off racing quarter midgets at 5 you are probably dreaming of making it to Nascar or F1. Watching the best in the world do it 8 times a year and rooting on your favorite team or manufacturers is fun, interesting and competitive. This is a chance for people to still go to those races like Silver State, PNB, or any 1/10 and 1/8 race to earn accolades, get noticed and hell.. Possibly make their way to the RCGP where you can make a living at being the best in the world. IF you don't see that then you are not forward thinking. I challenge you to be open minded. I challenge you to not judge the RCGP based on the fact tha JQ has something to do with it or you didn't see or notice the value of it this past weekend. Just remember Super cross wasn't this big until Feld Motorsports took it over 15-20 years ago, Nascar was only a southern redneck form of racing and NFL was just pigskin until the TV Networks picked it up. You have to give it a chance and you have to realize what it is and will be. It is NOT Silver State, It is not DNC, It is not PNB, it is a whole new level of Pro RC Racing and it is for our enjoyment, not for all our participation. RCGP will not change how we do RC in america. But I do see it changing the bar of where pros and up and coming talent strive to reach.
Have a nice day and remember, we can all choose to be positive and optimistic. You just have to want to.✌