It is not wrong to say that in 2020, the global motorsports industry froze due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Most motorsports, including the world’s top three races managed by the FIA, had to be held without an audience to minimize the spread of the virus, and the overall schedule was changed and the size of the competition was also inevitably reduced. COVID 19 didn’t just affect the schedule. In order to make up for the fans, the motorsports industry has ignited a full-fledged e-Sports that can demonstrate thrilling non-face-to-face races and online hospitality experiences. Here are the changes in the online motorsport hospitality tour of the Hyundai Motors World Rally Team.
Motorsport Hospitality Experience – VIP Only
Motorsport hospitality is organized by the motorsports industry for the VIP customers of their sponsors. It is well known for being able to experience the various processes of preparing for a race by a motorsports team.
The WRC Motorsport Hospitality is led by a guide from the motorsports industry, where you can witness what actually happens in the WRC, one of the best rally in the world – not to mention all the drivers doing races. Sometimes it offers in-depth information about motorsports as well as championships with invited guests. In addition, as the WRC is held in many different countries around the world, each characteristic is reflected in each round.
Post Pandemic: Online Motorsport Hospitality Tour
However, this unique hospitality experience also halted due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Accordingly, the Hyundai World Rally Team planned to make their hospitality experience online. In particular, the motorsport hospitality tour video, which is one of the core contents of this program, is structured so that you can experience the motorsport hospitality indirectly through the video, such as ‘Online Housewarming party’, which is trending as part of the recent social distancing movement.
The guide of the online hospitality experience kindly introduces the places where the actual hospitality experience used to take place. The first place is the Service Park, where VIP guests, Hyundai World Rally Team engineers, and drivers, as well as media reporters, gather and take a break. There are many TVs and tables along with sofas, so you can comfortably watch the on-going races.
Like the actual hospitality experience, you can watch a mechanic checking the vehicle. Inside the service park, there is climate control optimizing the work environment for rally car maintenance. Sometimes a driver and a mechanic talk about items and requirements for maintenance. The service park for WRC is the pit for Formula One.
You can also see members of the rally team, including the driver, having a meal. Buffet style catering is provided in the service park, so not only motorsports team officials but also VIP guests who visited through hospitality experiences can enjoy food together.
Most of the food for the members of the service park is made in catering trucks. Chefs in the kitchen trucks outside the service park prepare food. They even make the pizza dough or dessert. The VIP guests, mechanics, and engineers spend a lot of time in the service park, so the chefs also take great care of preparing the food.
The service park also has a cozy space for drivers who have struggled with harsh roads for a long time. In this place, the drivers have enough time to freshen up to compete again. Mechanics reorganize the vehicle according to drivers’ feedback, and drivers use the extra time to eat, take a break in a separate space, or review pace notes – making every effort to prepare for the upcoming driving.
It indeed is a place that determines the success or failure of a rally, and the service area is the most interesting place, as the guide said. This is because basic repairs and vehicle setup changes of a race car have a significant impact on the record. The time in the service area is as important as the record time, as all repairs must be completed within a limited time by regulations. Mechanics do their best to improve maintenance efficiency within this time. VIP customers invited to hospitality experience can observe all maintenance progress in real-time.
It’s not just that the mechanics and the drivers are doing their best. In the management truck outside the service park, you can find the hidden heroes of the Hyundai World Rally Team, which has won the manufacturer championship for two consecutive years. Here, engineers are in charge of constantly monitoring the race situation and checking climate change to get optimal driving data. Through this, they share opinions with the drivers and exchange feedbacks for vehicle setup.
The guide also visits a storage area with tires and spare parts for different weather conditions. Here, you can instantly change tires or parts. In addition, in the truck next to it, a variety of auxiliary parts necessary for repairs such as screws and cables are arranged, and sometimes the engineers instantly make parts that need modification when needed.
At the end of the video, the guide at the service park wished for the safety of the viewers, hoping that the hospitality experience would be available as soon as possible. The best part of the Hyundai World Rally Team’s online hospitality experience is that you can enjoy a vivid sense of reality as if you visited a special place that is usually not open every day. It is safe to say that the online hospitality experience of the Hyundai World Rally Team is a special gift for VIPs of sponsors who love motorsports. Although the pandemic has ruined joy, everyone is still waiting for safer motorsports in patience. As the guide who led the online hospitality experience says, let’s hope that the halted motorsports industry will become busy again.
Online hospitality experience: HOSPITALITY GOES DIGITAL
The Hyundai World Rally Team has prepared a separate mobile website for the online hospitality experience to provide various online activities. Instead of the usual offline program, the VIP guests who have been given an access account can check the detailed timetable, along with interviews of players and various video clips. In addition, the existing hospitality experience was only for VIP customers of sponsors, but in the case of the online hospitality experience, a few more VIP customers can experience the rally.
The exclusives section, the essence of this page, contains the most diverse and special information. Starting from the hospitality experience tour video that shows the main facilities of the service park, it includes an interview with Nicolas Gilsoul, a co-driver of Thierry Neuville, along with various information related to the service park. Many other clips by Hyundai Motor Sports will attract the viewers as well.
Meanwhile, Zooms lets you have an online meeting with faculties in the motorsports industry such as Andrea Adamo, director of the Hyundai Motorsports team, and marketing director Stefan Henrich. Through real-time stories of people working in the field, the essence of the hospitality experience – motorsports – is realized.
The “Rally ABC” section, which is helpful to the fans who are new to the WRC, well contains basic information about the WRC. By thoroughly compiling the rules of the races and explanations of various technical terms, it proves more than just information to fans who are new to the WRC.
It also provides trivia facts using various figures and facts to attract viewers. The story of Service Park and WRC, for example, would be invaluable for WRC rally fans. Of course, they didn’t forget to add some fun, such as simple games and augmented reality applications using rally cars, to entertain online visitors.