Some things are often taken for granted when any fan of motorsport decides to follow a new series. In North America, Europe, and Australia, one such aspect of racing is the in-car television camera – pioneered with Dick Johnson in Australia, carried over to North America in the Daytona 500, and now a standard for pretty much every racing series.
So it’s kind of a surprise to report that a modern, top-level racing series has seen live, in-car camera shots make their television debut – and yet, that’s exactly what happened during today’s broadcast of qualifying for this weekend’s Autobacs Super GT Series Fuji GT 300km Race.
Fans watching on J Sports 1, NicoNico Live, or on the trackside monitors at Fuji Speedway itself were treated to live in-car shots of Hideki Yamauchi putting the #61 Subaru R&D Sport BRZ through its paces in Q1 for the GT300 class, and later in Q2, co-driver Takuto Iguchi qualifying the car fourth-fastest.
It’s a very big deal in a country where the onboard camera – something that’s taken for granted by any regular viewer of NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, WEC, Australian Supercars, and DTM just to name a few – hasn’t quite caught on just yet.
Host broadcaster J Sports does broadcast onboard footage from Super GT races, but those are compiled into a post-produced “digest show” that is usually shown one to two weeks after the race is actually held.
It is just for one car, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll see these onboard pictures from the Subaru BRZ come Sunday when the 66-lap feature race is broadcast on J Sports and NISMO TV.
But it is a much-needed start to something that Super GT has been in desperate need of for many years now, as it burgeons into the international motorsports mainstream – it simply cannot afford not to adopt live onboard camera feeds as part of its standard broadcast any longer than it has been.