Game Week 1: 30-31 January 2010

Welcome to the Too Much Racing Game..thing! I haven’t thought of a good name yet (help please?).

This is the entry post for the first round of the year, which only covers one race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Wait don’t run away! There are plenty of familiar names so just pick your favourites!

If you already know your picks just hit reply and list your entries for this week. You have until FRIDAY at 7pm UK time (2pm US ET). If not, read on.

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RULES

See here for a further discussion of the Game’s rules, but the following is all you really need to know:

– Pick 10 drivers per week, maximum of 7 drivers per race (e.g. you can pick up to 7 this week, there is only one race).

– The game includes F1, IndyCar, NASCAR, DTM, WRC, ALMS and LMS events, as well as Daytona and Le Mans. This sounds confusing at first – don’t worry, you should only ever have at most a choice of 4 events per week… And you should be able to get by perfectly fine just by picking just two, like F1 and NASCAR.

– I will post updates every Wednesday from now until November. Updates will show points scored that week and provide details of the upcoming races.

– Don’t worry if the only race that week is unknown to you. I’d imagine for most reading now this is one of those weeks. You only need to ask a question and either myself or somebody else will do our best to answer. Or, just guess! It doesn’t matter, the game is only for fun so have fun with it, take risks, do what you want!

– In any case, I’ll try to walk through what’s on each week so that nobody gets lost – this week I have gone into extra detail because it is week one, and because this race isn’t really followed outside of the US. Its included in the game because the driver mix is interesting. The NASCAR champ racing the IRL champ, who’s sharing a car with Montoya, with Bourdais thrown into the mix? Can’t resist that.

– Tip: Picks carry over from week to week, so later on you may like to have a NASCAR driver or two in there just in case you forget to enter, since they race most weeks.

Ready? Let’s go.

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WEEK 1

Events:

Rolex 24 at Daytona  (Entry List)

Several notable names are joining the series regulars for this race, here is a selection of cars with ‘name’ drivers you may recognise:

Juan Pablo Montoya (NASCAR, ex-F1, ex-CART), Scott Dixon (IRL) and Dario Franchitti (IRL) share a car for Chip Ganassi;

Justin Wilson (IRL) and Max Papis (ex-F1, ex-CART, NASCAR) share the other Ganassi car;

Pedro Lamy (Peugeot Le Mans, ex-F1) and Max Angelelli (sportscars) drive the SunTrust car;

Sebastien Bourdais (ex-F1, ex-ChampCar), Sascha Maassen (LM) and Emmanual Collard (LM) drive a Crown Royal car;

Ryan Hunter-Reay (IRL) and Lucas Luhr (LM) share another Crown Royal car;

Raphael Matos (IRL) and Butch Leizinger (lots of sportscars) share the Brumos entry;

Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) and Jimmy Vasser (ex-CART) drive the GAINSCO / Bob Stallings entry;

Ricardo Zonta (ex-F1) drives for Krohn Racing;  Buddy Rice (ex-IRL?) is in the Spirit of Daytona;

And of course, lots of series regulars including Scott Pruett. Consult the entry list for more. These are all in the main Daytona Prototype class, scroll down to look through the GT entries – you never know which of the DP cars will hit trouble, might be worth a punt on a GT if you’re feeling lucky.

Important Note – the Game scoring will be based on the overall finishing position, not class position.

*If you have no idea what I’m saying, just pick 7 of the above!*

It is up to you how you pick your entry. You can pick Montoya, Dixon and Franchitti if you like, but remember that they are driving the same car so if it breaks down you’ve lost 3 of your 7. That said, they are one of the hot tips for the win. It is up to you whether you want to spread the risk among cars that might not be good, or place your eggs in one basket. Nobody has the right answer until Sunday night.

Final note – qualifying is on Thursday. I’ve held entries open until Friday because this is the first event of the year and I think maybe less than half of my readership know anything about it – and it is a 24 hour race so qualifying is almost meaningless. For the rest of the year I would like to close entries before qualifying – there may be an exception again for Le Mans, we’ll see!

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HOW TO ENTER

Two easy steps.

1 – Pick your 7 drivers (that’s individual DRIVERS not cars).

2 – Type it as a reply to this post.

That’s it!

Deadline –  Friday 29th January 2010 at 7pm GMT, that’s 2pm EST in the US/Canada. You have 2 days, and entries MUST be made in reply to this post. Emails and tweets won’t count.

Have fun, and good luck! Don’t forget to ask plenty of questions.

EDIT – This race is covered on SPEED TV in the US and Canada, with patchy coverage on Eurosport across Europe. The race starts at 3.30pm ET Saturday, that’s 8.30pm UK.

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Proposal – All-Racing Fantasy Game

I have a proposal for a new competition to be hosted on this blog. The idea is that you submit a selection of drivers every week as a comment on the blog, and score points based on their finishing positions.

I’m sure most of you will be familiar with the idea, it has been around forever in various forms, and I think most of us take part in at least one such competition already (I play at SofaF1 and plan to play at F1Wolf too).

So why set up a new one? Well, instead of being just about F1 or IndyCar, I plan to open it up to cover both. I’m not sure of the level to go to yet but I want to include sportscar races and NASCAR – I’d welcome some thoughts in the comments.

Some background –  I play in Andy The Speedgeek’s All-Racing Fantasy League. This is a game where you ‘own’ 14 drivers and each week you nominate 5 oval racers and 5 road course racers. You can trade drivers between weekends. It is a tricky game and I enjoy it, and it looks like being an even closer contest this year than last.

Recently Andy was looking for team owners and while a cross-motorsport game was well received, some were put off by an email game limited to 13 teams, or baulked at the attention it may demand. I happen to enjoy the format but can see their point, so I suggested a simpler version of the game hosted on a blog, without the trading/ownership rules.

Thankfully Andy didn’t evict me from the game or dock me 50 points for corrupting his idea, and since his family has recently welcomed a baby in to the world (congrats again!) he’s a bit short on time, so has generously allowed me to go ahead with it here.

Proposed Rules – All of these are up for discussion and I hope to hear your thoughts!

1: The game will run every week from the Daytona 24 Hours until the final NASCAR event of the season.

2: There is no requirement to retain the same drivers, just pick the ones you think will do well that weekend.

3: It will include the following series/events:

– Formula 1   – IndyCar
– NASCAR Cup   – Daytona 24 Hours
– Le Mans 24 Hours
– Sebring and Petit Le Mans from the ALMS (maybe the full season but I’m really not sure?)
– I’d like to find a way to include WRC if possible

4: Original rule: Pick 5 oval and 5 road drivers per week
Proposed modified rule: Pick up to 10 drivers, with no more than 7 from one series.
7 could be made 6 or 8, I’m fishing here really. For example I’d imagine most of the SPC visitors will only want to pick F1 guys with the odd exception (I may be wrong?). And why yes, this is a shameless attempt at bumping up participant numbers!

5: The original game has a carry-over rule. If you forget to make changes, your team from last week is entered for this week. Shall we retain that rule or remove it?

6: If a driver is racing in more than one event that weekend you may nominate them for one event only, the entry must specify which event you are choosing.

7: The scoring system will be the one used in the original ARFL game, that is:
50-40-35-32-30-28-26-24-22-20-19-18-17-16-15-14-13-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-2-1-1-1 (and 1 down to 43rd).

I’m aware that this means an F1 win is equal to a NASCAR win, but this is just a bit of fun and not an allegedly definitive ranking system, so it doesn’t matter! It probably means you need to be picking NASCAR in the non-F1 non-IRL weeks.

The ARFL system also awards 3 for pole, 2 for FL and 2 for most laps led – will that be too complicated or is it fine? Shared drives score equally, so if Kristensen and McNish win Le Mans both would get 50.

8: Penalties. If a driver is awarded a points / position penalty after the event, it will be applied to this game retrospectively. Deductions will be made to the same fraction of a win as the actual series. e.g. a 10 point deduction in F1 is 10 pts divided by 25 pts for a win  x 50 points for a win in the game = 20 points deducted in the game.
Penalty = 10 / 25 * 50 = 20.
Penalty = ((actual penalty) / (points for a win in that series)) x (points for a win in this game)

9: The game is free to enter and the prize is to proclaim to the world, that “I Watch Too Much Racing”!

I plan to post an entry blog post every Wednesday or Thursday, with entries to close every Friday at say 6pm UK time (1pm US Eastern). Le Mans week may be a bit earlier because qualifying is on Thursday.

I think that’s it. I have attempted to balance the rules of the original game with the expected preferences of my regular visitors (and myself, if I’m honest), and the need to make a pick’em game easy to play. I’d appreciate any thoughts you may have, and thanks again to Andy for his help.

The point of the game is to get people interested in more than their own little world, and hopefully one or two will like the idea enough to join the original ARFL game in 2011, where there is prize money on offer.

All being well, the first entry post will be posted on Wednesday for the Daytona 24 Hours. There are a lot of IndyCar, NASCAR and ex-F1 drivers taking part so it should be easier than it sounds, and I’ll go through that on Wednesday.

Thursday Thoughts: The Future of F1 Content

Thursday Thoughts visits different blogs and is hosted here this week, so it is my turn to ask the question. Here is my response.

– What innovations would you like to see in F1 content delivery?

I think most of us by now are aware how far F1 lags behind other motorsports, even other sports entirely when it comes to delivering their product to the end user, the customer, the fan. It is quite frustrating to be told repeatedly how F1 teams use the most advanced technology to create these fantastically fast cars and yet the rights-holders are in some cases years behind the game in introducing the technology needed to provide real insight to the fan.

The rights-holders to Formula 1 are the collection of companies owned by CVC and controlled on their behalf by Bernie Ecclestone, I am not sure which company controls which element but I think FOA runs the races or at least the bits the FIA don’t run, and FOM handles the TV and online offering. For the sake of argument I’ll use FOM.

FOM seems insistent on relying on traditional avenues to get their message across, whether it be TV, magazines or newspapers. They seemingly reluctantly got themselves involved with the web business with www.formula1.com but they only did so in 2002 or thereabouts. Given the web recently celebrated 25 years of existence and most forward-thinking companies have been on it in some for or another since the mid-90s it was a curious oversight.

Why is it that F1 keeps talking about “embracing the internet” as if it’s 1994 and it’s a clever idea? Perhaps get on with it?

Ed Straw, F1 Editor of Autosport, via Twitter yesterday

Two major gaffes have appeared on Formula1.com. There may have been more.

One was the SMS text service. This was a great idea in principle: sign up to the service and you would receive a text message after every session informing you of the fastest drivers, and the points positions after races. The problem was they introduced it with the pricing structure of a decade earlier and the world had moved on, at least in the more developed mobile phone markets.
While I forget the specifics, the prices would have looked reasonable in 1997 when the mobile market was enjoying rapid growth and a plethora of new applications but in 2007 they looked utterly ridiculous and far too high. I would like to see this adjusted so that the more casual fan who isn’t able to watch all the sessions or even all the races can receive updates at reasonable rates. My Dad gets a text message whenever his football team scores a goal. It can’t be that hard.

The other was the web shop, again a good idea in principle – yet the original version was stocked with the wrong goods. Like so much in F1 it was pitched towards the premium customer, the more affluent fan who wants something special. Only in F1 could you buy an official carbon-fibre mouse mat, replete with F1 logo, for £200. Which is fine – I actually like the fact these items are there because I appreciate it helps position the brand of F1 – they just forgot to include things mere mortals could afford, a position they have gone some way to correcting in 2009.

Another aspect website is the live timing. When it works it is very informative, unfortunately it has a lot of glitches. It has been used ever since the site went live and is probably due a rethink. It could be bigger and contain more information. F1 is full of data, let’s make use of it. Again, this year they’ve gone some way to making the info they offer open to more fans by creating the iPhone app which I’ve heard is tremendously useful, if pricey (there seems to be a theme here).

While I’m on the subject of timing, the TV coverage desperately needs to cut back on the “1-stop” graphic and tell us how far apart the cars are! Of course if they borrowed from DTM they could just mark a little ‘1’ on the vertical position graphic that appears to the left of screen from time to time. If I don’t have an iPhone or can’t get near a computer to access live timing, I shouldn’t be deprived of the basic car-to-car gaps, these should be available to all on the main feed and if I want the extra info like sector times then that’s when I should look it up elsewhere. With any luck this data will be rolled out to further mobile platforms in future.

I must admit, other than the iPhone timing app I don’t know what else is offered officially for mobile devices because I don’t own a modern smartphone – but soon I and most others will do, I suspect I am already in the minority among mobile-owners.

I see no reason why FOM cannot offer an app offering short video clips to mobile devices, for a small fee. I see no reason why they cannot offer those same videos on their website, although I think most of us expect web video to be free unless it is of some length. On the website I would therefore offer short, free videos to anyone who visits. I would also offer a premium subscription (‘premium’ in name only, priced at a level we can afford!) where you can watch entire races, let’s say until Jan 1st. They could expand that to show classic races and send FOM TV to each test session to provide us with reports from winter testing.

FOM claim they don’t offer these because the commentary and ownership is specific to particular broadcasters, yet the broadcasters claim they can’t provide online coverage because the video is owned by FOM. The only notable exception seems to be the BBC’s iPlayer (an excellent service) and the FP sessions trialled last year by ITV. At the end of every session aired on the BBC there is a particularly large copyright notice stating that the production is copyright of FOM. If FOM owns the video,can they not put it online, even a version with no commentary? Even better, work with each broadcaster to offer the same footage with different reactions. It would fascinating in the week after a race incident to go to Formula1.com and compare the reactions of crews from BBC, SPEED, Globo, RAI, RTL, etc, etc. They could make a montage and sell it for money.

They also need to bring in High-Def coverage to those who will take it and offer that as a quality option for the downloads. There are HD channels in more and more countries and even the little devices support it now. They’ve been using HD cameras for a year or so now but they still won’t release a true HD feed for broadcast or sale, which is crazy, why invest in the technology if you aren’t going to use it?
This is the most technologically advanced sport in the world and it is still in fuzzy-vision. NASCAR has 36 races per year and most, if not all of them, are available in HD in the US (and sometimes in the UK). It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an HD TV or monitor, you still notice a difference. I think Abu Dhabi was in HD and it looked fantastic on my SD TV on the SD digital broadcast.

Conclusion: FOM are applying 20th Century solutions to 21st Century fans. They need to change. Fast.

There are signs that they are changing slowly. The iPhone app. The F1 2009 Wii and PSP games, and the 2010 PC, Xbox and PS3 games. These should be released annually in the way that the FIFA, Madden and other licensed games are, there is a demand for it.

Perhaps they are starting to wake up?

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You can read the Thursday Thoughts of my fellow bloggers by following the links in the Question post!

F1 2009 for Wii and PSP

I’m getting excited about the new F1 2009 game coming out for the Wii.

I know, I know, it isn’t a ‘proper’ gaming system and F1 2010 for the PS3 / X-Box will be far better – but I don’t own either of those things and that game isn’t out in two weeks’ time.

This is the first officially-licensed F1 game to launch on a non-Playstation system for years (damn that Sony and their exclusivity deal) and even the last PS game was some 3yrs ago, so you can imagine a lot of us are getting quite excited!

Check out this video which explains how the game will appeal to novices and the experienced alike:

(that’s Anthony Davidson, BAR/Honda/BrawnGP test driver, alongside David Croft of BBC Radio 5 Live, and also quotes from a game developer)

I know, the Wii graphics are not stellar. I.Don’t.Care. I get to play an F1 game online without needing to bother spending hours on car setups, a pricey console or a proper wheel, or in the case of the PC I don’t have to worry about graphics cards and drivers and ‘will it run on my system?’. How cool is that?!

Of course, I almost certainly will spend hours on car setups and if they release a proper wheel I’ll probably get it… but that’s not the point. If I just want to pick up a controller and have a quick race against Button and Hamilton around Interlagos, I can. In 2 weeks time, I will.


Just to say this hasn’t been a paid piece or something done for a PR company, I did this off my own back because I’m genuinely looking forward to it.

All-Racing Fantasy League

All-Racing Fantasy League
This is a reminder to check out Andy The SpeedGeek’s fantasy competition over at his blog. I mentioned it a few weeks back. This is a game where you pick 14 drivers across F1, IRL, NASCAR, ALMS and Grand-Am – but you are only allowed to commit 10 drivers on any given weekend… and that’s five road course and five oval drivers per weekend! A small number of drivers can be traded each week. It’ll be interesting to see how it all works in play.

The 2009 game gets under way in about ten days time with the pre-season draft, which needs to be done before the first event, the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Sign up now to get a shot at the good drivers! If you read several racing blogs you’ll know Andy from the comments sections of many of them, as well as his own of course.

I’ll be back on Thursday with my UOWWB ‘question of the week’ reply, and Friday with the weekend preview. Or it might be the other way. I might even push the boat out and do two posts in one day! I know, crazy!