When Performance Research Europe conducted a study among F1 fans attending the 2000 British Grand Prix they discovered that despite the possibility of CART racing being staged in the UK, F1 race fans are still ambivalent about the idea of watching US motorsports.

So how many F1 fans actually recalled watching American motorsports on television during the past month? Well it was just over one-third (34%). Among those fans roughly two-thirds (67%) had watched NASCAR, roughly three-fifths (61%) had watched IRL, and just over one-half had watched CART.

Although, it was noticeable that limited television coverage had restricted the number of viewing occasions. In the past month F1 fans reported watching NASCAR and IRL on an average of just 2.5 occasions and CART on just 2.3 occasions.

But would these F1 fans watch US motorsports if there was more prime time television coverage on either terrestrial or satellite television? Well… maybe, roughly one-half (52%) reported they would be ‘Very’ or ‘Somewhat’ interested in watching CART, while 46% reported they would be ‘Very’ or ‘Somewhat’ interested in watching NASCAR.

How likely would F1 fans be to attend possible UK staged CART races? This study found less than one-half (46%) of F1 fans reported they would be either ‘Very’, or ‘Somewhat’ likely to attend a CART race staged in the UK, while just over one-third (37%) reported they would be ‘Very’, or ‘Somewhat’ likely to attend a UK staged NASCAR race.

These figures are low when you consider that respondents in this study represent the most ardent F1 racing fans attending the British Grand Prix at Silverstone despite police road blocks, driving rain and knee high mud! It is also appears that F1 fans best represent the target audience that CART chief Andrew Craig is most hoping to attract.

Currently the caution flags are still flying over the new Northamptonshire based Corby track. So what can be taken from these findings? Well it seems at this stage, CART still has some way to go before UK motorsports fans accept it as a must see event. Limited television coverage means that CART has a small niche following in the UK. According to Mark Knight, Project Manager at Performance Research Europe ‘Event organisers should now be looking at ways to raise awareness levels and the profile of UK CART events to tap into existing F1 fan loyalty, and get CART on the fast track to UK success.’

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