Seven races down, seven to go and we are entering our "summer break" so to speak as we have almost 6 weeks between points paying races, but let's be honest, there are no breaks. Le Mans is less than three weeks away and it is shaping up to be a truly epic 24 hour war. Today you will see the 12 teams who are officially racing the LMP1 category and you will be able to register yourself or your team to compete as well.
As we transition from the first half of the season we are going to take some time to present the "State of the Series" by covering some important topics. The first of which is simply a "Down and Dirty", numbers based overview of how we are doing. If you enjoy statistics and data then you will enjoy this topic.
In the coming days we will cover topics like; ways YOU can help the series continue to grow and prosper, some of our plans for the future, and finally we will bring you the annual mid-season survey.
Now, onto the numbers...
In our first year being open to the world we have seen five hundred drivers take part in at least one race and there have been more than 1,600 total starts through seven races. These are numbers to be proud of for sure, and we are, but let's look at them more closely.
(below is a graph of drivers per race, per region)
The Daytona 500 was the most popular event of the first half, with over 300 drivers taking the grid. After the first two rounds the participation rate has leveled off at just over 200 drivers per race. Not surprisingly the European region has stronger turnout on road over oval and the other three regions are slightly stronger on oval.
The Pacific region is where the vast majority of our returning drivers are racing and it is no surprise that it has the most participation. I consider that to be a strong predictor of how the other regions will look in the future and while that is really exciting, we can't relax and we can't slow down.
How has the Pacific Region fared vs itself last year? Through seven races, 2018 is averaging 90 drivers per race vs 82 in 2017. In total there have been 50 more starts in 2018 over 2017. The below graph shows the (first 7 races) participation in the Pacific region over the last four years.
So the numbers are up and going up, that's good, but we are constantly looking at optimizing the schedules and regions to promote the highest level of participation and the best racing possible. My belief is that we will achieve "participation nirvana" if we can average at least three splits per region, per race and not more than five. With numbers like that we can be sure to have the ideal size pro split for every race while not compromising the split size for the sportsmen. With no more than five splits per region we keep the numbers reasonable enough that drivers can continue to become friends, that broadcasters can get to know us, and that we can develop some really great stories to tell the world via our series.
Those participation levels will also, (I hope) make the series financially viable for me on a long term basis. Much as I love helping to run the series (and I do), much as I am proud of what we have created (and I am) I also realize that it's a little crazy to put in the amount of hours I do and end up in the hole year after year.
This year we have about 1,200 registered members, about 500 active drivers and about 250 paid season pass holders. I think when we get those closer to; 2,000 registered, 1,250 active and 700 paid that we will be completely stable financially and be able to offer even more awesome prizes.
In my mind, the best way for us to grow the series is to offer the best service, the best structure and the best atmosphere possible. There is work to be done, but I truly believe that we are well on our way to that. So that is our task, and our job, that said, we cannot do this without you. We do in fact need your help. The number one factor driving success is YOU.
Next article will focus on some of the things, big and small that we can all do to make this thing go even faster.