With both the F1 & NASCAR championships now decided, the 2014 racing season is all but finished, so over the next couple of months CJ and I are going to take a look back at some of the highlights of our season as well as discussing some issues from the past season that we didn't get a chance to. As well, over the next couple of months, we're going to start introducing some of the exciting things we are planning for next year, with 2015 shaping as as our biggest year yet.
Our biggest challenge in 2014 was the launching of the new web site, just in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The new web site accomplished a lot of upgrades we needed to move forward. Notably it allowed us to add articles much more efficiently, to add new components as we needed them, and most importantly for us, especially in 2015, it gives us a large number of options for posting video, but we'll talk more about video in the coming weeks.
On the Social Media side, 2014 saw us continue along with FaceBook and Twitter. At our final major race of the year, the NASCAR Truck race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, we launched a new Twitter feed, @RaceCanadaLive. This feed is going to offer lap-by-lap, track side race reports. Our main twitter feed, @RaceCanada, will still give all the winners, the major stories and the links to the articles we post on the web site, but it won't overwhelm anyone with too much information if all they want are the headlines.
We also launched an Instagram page for Daytona, Instagram/RaceCanada, but we pretty much abandoned it after that, so watch for this to change in 2015 as we do more and more with both photography and video. We're also looking at other social media platforms to see what might make sense for us, so stay tuned for more social media announcements going forward.
Looking back, we are going to create a series of “Throw Back Thursday” posts in Twitter and Instagram showcasing a series of photographs from different events this past season, as well as highlighting our Top 5 favourite pictures.
One of the things you may notice today is that we have added and changed a few categories. We moved the Formula SAE articles into the “Other” category and added the categories “International”, “Grass Roots” and “Bench Racing”.
The new “International” category is primarily to follow all of the alumni that have passed through Canada to build their careers, drivers such as Conor Daly, Trent Hindman and John Edwards. Over the years a lot of young kids and their families have decided coming to Canada to race with teams like BGR Team Grote, AIM Autosport and Britain West is the best step in their racing careers and we're now going to follow them as their career's continue on the international stage. Looking at this year's crop of F1600 drivers such as Tristan DeGrand and Max Hannraty, this looks to be a busy category for years to come.
One thing we will not cover here are the big series, such as F1, IndyCar (except for James and the Canadian aspects, of course) and NASCAR. The “Big Guys” have far more resources to throw at these series than we ever will, and there is no point in us trying to compete with them. We will, however, cover other international stories that we think don't feel gets the coverage they deserve, but will still be of interest to our Canadian readers.
In “Grass Roots” we are aiming at the readers that have never been to the track and would like to get out. A lot of us who have been involved in racing, or anything in the automotive industry for that matter, tend to forget that not everybody knows how or where or what to do to try racing. I remember spending a couple of years when I first got my drivers licence going to every car show in every semi-abandoned or should-be condemned warehouse in Toronto trying to find our how to start racing before I was lucky enough to run into Richard Spenard at the Toronto Auto Show. Spenard had just announced his new racing school in Shannonville, and I managed to talk my way into a job, and have been pretty much “on the inside” since then. Not everybody gets that lucky. If you have been racing or done some track days, then these articles probably aren't for you, but we certainly encourage your input, comments and suggestions on each article so we can all learn from everybody's experiences.
Finally “Bench Racing” is going to take a look at the off-track side of racing, with book and DVD reviews, video games and video racing options, diecast and collectible info, as well as being the home for a new fantasy racing competition we are currently developing and will launch in the new year.
Watch for the launch of more categories in the new year, suggestions, of course, are always welcomed.
In wrapping up, we'd like to take this opportunity thank all of our readers for their support over the last year and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as we look forward to bringing you more of the best Canadian racing coverage in 2015.