Retro Relapse: The Lack of Respect for Le Mans

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

As I’ve stated previously (here), the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest race in the history of the world. That is not just some careless opinion that I have, the rest of the world recognizes this as well. By rest of the world, I apparently can’t include America in that because this year it is glaringly obvious that the largest and greatest race in the world is a fucking afterthought.

As I was just watching the race with 75 minutes left on the 24 hour clock, Fox Sports 1 cut it off to show a Moto GP. Are they serious? The race is almost at the end and now in the most exciting and competitive leg of the race they cut it off for a pre-race show for one of a couple dozen Moto GP events this year? They cut of this race, the one and only Le Mans that only happens once a year and is the supreme platform for bragging rights between the best car manufacturers and engineers in the world?

Going back to yesterday afternoon, just as it was becoming really dark in France, Fox Sports 1 cut off Le Mans for some NASCAR truck racing. No, not even fucking NASCAR but NASCAR truck racing! Derp! Derp! Go Chevy!

That was the worst possible time to interrupt the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the night racing is exciting and unlike anything you can get in any other race. Sure NASCAR and Formula 1 have some night racing but NASCAR and F1 have gigantic lights that make nighttime a moot point and neither of them drive in complete darkness on a winding country road for 12 or so hours. You wouldn’t know that though, watching America’s shitty coverage of this truly amazing race.

Sure, they redirected everyone watching from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 but I, and I’m sure many people, don’t have Fox Sports 2. It’s not even a situation where I just don’t pay for the channel, it is a situation where Comcast in my area (and I’m sure many areas) doesn’t carry it.

So other than the start of the race, Fox Sports, America’s unfortunate owner of Le Mans’ broadcasting rights, has robbed us of the two most important parts of this race, the night racing and the finish. At least when Fox Sports 1 was still Speed TV, they’d show 75 percent of the race and they’d definitely show the ending. I mean, what’s the point of watching this race, if you can’t see the fucking ending?

So, as the race ends, I am watching it on an illegal stream because the Fox Sports website, the Le Mans website and the live stream on DailyMotion either aren’t working, they’re lagging or they have atrociously bad quality. The illegal feed? Well, it’s got awesome sound, is in HD and I can’t complain. Fox Sports and America needs to get their shit together because this race is deserving of far more respect than it is receiving.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, America, Patrick Dempsey has gone from fairly successful actor to following his dream and becoming an incredibly formidable Le Mans racer. That’s an amazing story and Americans should be embracing that shit because he’s gone from the grass-cutting nerd in Can’t Buy Me Love to a 250MPH American hero in the hardest and best race on Earth.

Maybe if Ford would start making prototypes again, America would care. Unfortunately, Ford is too busy making billboards on wheels that can’t turn right. At one time, Ford was a goddamned world champion after conquering the unconquerable Ferrari. The late 1960’s was the best time in the history of Le Mans, I wish the level of respect and glory it had back then still existed. I wish people would see the magic in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans and feel the spirit of this grand event.

NASCAR’s success ruined all other racing in this country. Americans don’t have the attention span for real racing, which is why Le Mans and Formula 1 don’t have massive followings. It’s kind of like how Americans don’t have attention spans for anything other than American football and basketball, leaving great sports like soccer, baseball and hockey to suffer.

But fuck it, I’m in the minority here. I just wish my countrymen weren’t such philistines.

2 thoughts on “Retro Relapse: The Lack of Respect for Le Mans

  1. Has the situation improved since you wrote this? I know Ford returned with a new model of the GT.

    The only motorsport I watch is F1 but even that isnt great. Sky bought the rights over here so all we have on terrestial TV are the highlights. Ironically, that often works out for the best because, in a lot of races, nothing happens! And the top 3 teams are so far ahead that the rest have no chance. I find that British Touring Cars and a lot of the junior formulas and one-make championships are far more entertaining because the racing is so close and nothing is guaranteed.

    Like

    • I’d say the situation is the same or worse. I hope that Ford v. Ferrari movie gives it a popularity boost but I doubt it. The Lauda/Hunt F1 movie was great but didn’t boost that sport in the States either.

      Like

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