British Touring Cars: Quantel catches the racing bug for engagement opportunities
For its current success in Formula 1 Mercedes stumped up £325m, but putting out a competitive car in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) would set investors back under £600,000. At Brands Hatch on Sunday ITV4 pushed its coverage of all 10 BTCC summer meetings to 230 hours with the support of OB outfit Cloudbass, and a Sunday crowd of 32,000+ pushed cumulative spectator attendance close to 400,000.
Chasing cars bearing famous logos like eBay and Airwaves in three races was a Triple Eight-prepared MG6 bearing huge red Quantel sponsorship logos, slightly smaller Bifold logos, and eight other sponsor logos.
Explaining that Quantel got involved with the new team Quantel Bifold Racing and parent company DFT via its corporate connection to Lloyds Development Capital, marketing director Steve Owen said: “Our BTCC sponsorship returns several things that traditional advertising cannot do.
“It delivers engagement opportunities for UK-based customers, staff, resellers and press. And in today’s busy world engagement opportunities — the chance to spend significant time with industry people and build relationships — are increasingly rare. Through sponsorship we enjoy many hours with these people over each race weekend,” he added.
The main costs of setting up the team included signing up driver Marc Hynes, investing £250,000 in building the car, and spending £50,000 on race day tyres. The first season budget hit £550,000. What else did Quantel get back for its share of this?
“Sponsorship also gives us access to professional rights free-material that we can use in customer demos and at trade shows like IBC and NAB,” Owen said. “Interesting and professionally shot content is increasingly difficult to obtain, but the BTCC connection gives us access to fresh and exciting content from each race weekend.”
On the day – Saturday had been a mix of five junior races and qualifying and practice sessions — Hynes finished 10th in the first and third races, and in the second race he was tenth before a shunt off the track saw him return in 20th place.
All the action from a 10-race day – the Samsung UHD logo was prominent in a Porsche cup race – was recorded from 14 camera positions set up to feed a number of trucks provided by Cloudbass. Other picture feeds came from four RF inputs providing pit lane access, and six on-board pencil camera systems. Four of these were used in the touring car championship races.
For what was a very impressive traditional OB job Cloudbass started cable rigging three days before Saturday and Sunday racing, and the trucks arrived on the Thursday. It had previously provided DVS replay and editing facilities for SIS, but won the full season contract for 2014. This translated into 48 staff working at Brands Hatch, although only two FC Pro editors were working to satisfy the ITV emphasis on highlights for live feeds. Throughout the season Cloudbass usually cut six or seven highlight episodes, which helped ITV4 broadcast so many hours.