US ‘F1’ event bids to raise its profile for UK debut

Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), the US equivalent of Formula One, is targeting the outgoing, adventurous, 20-something “Friends generation” in a bid to raise the sport’s profile on the eve of its UK debut.

The race, known as the Rockingham 500, will take place on September 22 at the recently constructed Rockingham Oval, Northamptonshire. It will establish the venue as a permanent fixture in the 21-race series, adding to the number of “fly away” (foreign) races, which include races in Germany, Japan and Australia.

Executives at Rockingham plan to raise publicity for the sport on the back of the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix this weekend (Sunday, July 15).

Publicity for the event will include separate assaults on the style-conscious women’s and men’s magazine market, as well as a direct marketing and a localised outdoor campaign.

Men’s magazines, such as Loaded and FHM, will carry a pocket book focusing on how competitors cope with the “brinkman” aspects of the sport, often driving just inches from a concrete wall at speeds of up to 250mph.

Women’s magazines such as Elle and Red will carry pin-up posters of star drivers.

The campaign will be explained in a four-page bound insert to appear in weekend newspaper colour supplements. Motoring publications and the US community living in the UK will also be targeted.

Rockingham commercial director Kate Hampton says: “We don’t see Formula One as a direct rival. However, we can use the hype created by the media for Silverstone, before and after the event, to our advantage.”

“We are targeting the “Friends generation”, who are seen as adventurous in attitude, impetuous, successful and fun loving.”

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