Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles says progress is being made on greenlighting something akin to Netflix’s “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” that would feature the NTT IndyCar Series.
Released in March of 2019, the docu-style Netflix series has been hailed as a game-changing property that’s helped F1 to grow its audience internationally and groom new fans in North America, where its television ratings regularly exceed IndyCar’s Nielsen numbers. Three seasons of “Drive to Survive” have aired so far, with a fourth on the way after the 2021 F1 season is completed.
“We want to see that happen, and it’s a regular effort,” Miles said. “This week, a major production company, a producer, spent their own time and money to create a sizzle reel for a series pitch. I’m not going to get into the details, but as recently as this week, in the last 48 hours, a big distribution group was pitched by a great producer, with a sizzle reel and his ideas and concepts for just such a series.
“So, you will hit sooner or later. It takes investment and work, and we’ve got to get the right potential product in front of the right distributors, right platforms, and then they’ll happen. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s just one ‘Drive to Survive.’ I think it’s maybe scripted, maybe unscripted, maybe documentaries. Maybe there are other examples where it’s not exactly the same.
“But you know, somebody who’s iconic from let’s just say, Europe — I’m making that up — comes over and gets behind the scenes in the way they cover the run-up to the [Indy] 500, and the race. So not live racing, but a story to be told. I think there’s lots of ways to kind of slice and dice the opportunities, and we will be successful.”
Asked if he thought there was a chance filming might start at the onset of the 2022 season, Miles responded with enthusiasm.
“I do; like I said, some have already spent enough time to create what they call a sizzle reel, which is whetting the appetite,” he said. “So if they got a yes, I don’t know why that wouldn’t be possible. It might be that they should and produce [next] year and it doesn’t actually get aired until subsequently. But I’d be hopeful that’s the case.”