PFANNER: Is this the beginning of a post-pandemic golden age for motorsports?

Image courtesy of SRX

PFANNER: Is this the beginning of a post-pandemic golden age for motorsports?


PFANNER: Is this the beginning of a post-pandemic golden age for motorsports?


I trust that the power and influence of committed racing fans is increasingly obvious to anyone paying attention as global auto racing shifts into high gear in the post-pandemic era. We have seen television ratings rise impressively for the NTT IndyCar Series and Formula 1, while NASCAR experienced sold-out record attendance at iconic Road America, underscoring the potential of its pivot to having more road races on its schedule.

The highly anticipated debut of the Camping World SRX Series has also shown us that there is room in our sport for fresh ideas and the flat-out fun of Saturday night short track racing that leverages the celebrity and skill of established stars, while showcasing the talent and fresh personalities of local heroes and rising young stars. RACER salutes Tony Stewart, Ray Evernham, George Pyne and Donato Bonacquisto for understanding what hardcore racing fans want to see, and for doing what racers do by taking chances while learning by pushing the limits. They listen to their audience as they work hard to improve their series experience by the next event, rather than waiting until next season.

Extreme E has found a way to combine the excitement of traditional racing with an environmentally-conscious message that appeals to a new and younger audience. Lopez/Motorsport Images

At the other end of racing’s broad spectrum, kudos are also deserved for the brave vision of Alejandro Agag and the highly creative team behind the launch of Extreme E, which is as much an adventure with a environmental storyline as it is a motorsports series with the expected rivalries and competition. Despite fierce headwinds from a global pandemic lockdown and the resultant business turbulence, Extreme E attracted an impressive array of teams, personalities, commercial partners and media alliances. Meaning and purpose matters to socially-conscious younger audiences, and Extreme E is breaking new ground in social media and engagement strategies by relentlessly focusing forward in every aspect of its new sport’s brand personality and behavior.

With a fresh emphasis on road courses and a brand-new Next Gen car on the horizon, NASCAR is looking towards the future. Tilton/Getty Images

Focusing forward is exactly what the experienced and talented leadership teams at Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, IMSA and FIA Formula E are doing as these leading series prepare to debut fresh regulations featuring new cars and, in some cases, new powertrains. It seems we are truly on the cusp of a rebirth of our sport and the dawn of a new era of opportunity and, hopefully, prosperity. Based upon your interest in what has already been shared about what is next for these great series via our platforms we believe the future is bright, and we will explore every dimension of the sport’s next era in the months ahead.

This is because we at RACER believe that this magical moment for motorsports is powered by you — and your passion for our wonderful sport. The truth is in the data and during the past highly unusual 12 months we’ve seen unprecedented growth in audience and engagement across our RACER-branded media and social media platforms. But the second quarter of 2021 was unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.

The averages shown below from 2021’s Q2 RACER Google Analytics, RACER’s Apple News and RACER’s Google News metrics highlight our incredible growth and the awesome power of RACER’s highly engaged and energized passion-driven audience. Q2 of 2021 delivered the largest overall audience in RACER’s 29-year history via a stellar 99.13% growth in users over the then-record Q2 in 2020.

RACER’s reach and engagement in social media and in Google searches also set new all-time records as racing fans shared their excitement and searched for news and information about the sport they love.

We are barely past the halfway point of 2021, but astonishingly, last weekend already soared past 6,000,000 annual users (so far) and is now rapidly closing in on 2020’s record setting full-year user tally of 6,592,058.

When one looks back for at the past 12 months and compares it to the previous 12-month periods, our growth and momentum becomes even more obvious.

But our website and social media channels were not the only platforms that saw record growth and audience scale. The current June/July “Heroes Issue” of RACER magazine also a combined print and digital distribution of 64,000 via ongoing programs with The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and its fabulous new “Driven To Win” exhibition and our long-standing relationship with the Skip Barber Racing School.

Since the beginning in 1992 our team at RACER has been dedicated to sharing the heroic, inspiring and ever-changing story of racing with those who love the sport like we do. Thank you for visiting, subscribing to RACER magazine, advertising with our media properties, RACER, SportsCar and Vintage Motorsport or working with our Racer Studio agency. We never forget that you are our reason for being and the superpower behind our brand.

Advertising deadlines:

RACER: The Great Cars Issue (Oct/Nov). Mails on October 6. Reserve space by September 2.
Vintage Motorsport: September / October Mails on August 13. Make a space reservation now. Materials needed by July 26.
SportsCar: Who Will Win the Runoffs? (Sept/Oct). Mails on August 31. Reserve space by July 27.

Commercial team contact information:

Raelyn Stokes, Business Development / 949.417.6705

John Chambers, Global Sales / +44.0.7770.643749

Rick Bisbee, Advertising Sales / 312.285.8720

Debi Brand, Advertising Sales / 225.335.9060

Bruce Kukuk, VP & Associate Publisher / 949.417.6720