This year, two mile markers in the auto racing year have already passed – the Daytona 24-hours and the Daytona NASCAR Speed Weeks. It’s past due for me to have reviewed the state of availability of auto racing on television for Canadian race fans.
As has been the pattern for several years now, TSN will continue to be the main source for auto racing broadcasts. TSN has confirmed that it will deliver over 600 hours of racing this year. This includes every race in the Formula One championship, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (formerly the Nationwide Series), the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, and the NHRA drag racing championship. All these broadcasts, with the exception of the Canadian Tire and the NHRA drag racing will be broadcast live. In addition, TSN does carry a few NASCAR qualifying broadcasts.
Of course, TSN is now split into five different channels (TSN1 through TSN5) so you need to check carefully which of the five channels will have the broadcast you want to watch.
SportsNet has a contract with the IndyCar Series to broadcast their races for the next few years. SportsNet often also carries the supporting Indy Lights series races as well. This year the Indy Lights series has new cars and engines and will likely have larger fields of entrants.
In previous years we relied on the US-based SPEED channel to bring us some more popular racing broadcasts. This service continues, now repackaged for Canada as FOX Sports Racing. Unfortunately, at the time of writing only the Rogers cable service is carrying this channel.
FOX Sports Racing will continue to broadcast essentially all the Tudor United Sports Car series races, including the one from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July. They will also carry all the NASCAR Camping World Truck series races including the one from CTMP at the end of August. In addition FSR will carry the MotoGP motorcycle championship races along with the supporting Moto2 and Moto 3 series races as well. I expect that, again this year, they will broadcast most of the 24-hours of Le Mans live.
Of course, the fly in the ointment here is that this channel is available only on Rogers and anyone living outside their cable market is out of luck. Many of us are hopeful that, now that Rogers has struck a new deal with FOX to return the FOX Sports Racing channel to their line-up, the other major television service providers (like Bell and Cogeco) will also decide to return to the fold. For sure, you can help persuade the powers-that-be by letting them know that you want this channel back. Don’t be shy
Some television service providers in Canada include CBS-Sports in their channel lineup – often as an extra-cost add on. The Pirelli World Challenge is another important road racing series and one round in that series will come to CTMP in May. It will be shown on a delayed basis on CBS Sports. Or you could resort to live streaming on the internet to see the races in this worthwhile series (http://www.world-challengetv.com/). Last year, CBS-Sports carried the German touring cars series (DTM) on a same-day or live broadcast basis. I don’t yet know what their plans are for this year.