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2021 Racing Season On Television, Version 2 (Update)

Oakville, ON, Mar 19/21 (GRW): With the 2021 racing season well underway by now, it is time for me to review the advice I gave you earlier about what you can expect to see on television and where to look for it.

Of course, all you need to do is to visit the ‘Listings’ page on this prnmag.com website to get the most up to date listings compiled for race fans like you.

Remember to check out the Race Fan TV listings on this website (prnmag.com/tv-listings) each week to get the latest updates. Also, this year, I will be producing a series of ‘RACE FILES’ for each major race which will provide directly (or via links) a lot of useful information, including live timing and scoring.

1. IMSA.
All of the IMSA WeatherTech Series races will be broadcast live and in their entirety on the Discovery-Velocity channel this year. TSN is also again broadcasting a one-hour highlights show a week of so after each event is run.

The IMSA Michelin Challenge races, which usually run on the Saturday prior to the WeatherTech races, is not available here via regular TV. However, you can watch these races live in Canada via streaming on imsa.tv

2. NASCAR
TSN has sent out long-lead listings showing their plans to broadcast the Cup Series and the Xfinity series races again this year. The Camping World Truck Series races will be on Fox Sports Racing (FSR). I addition, FSR will broadcast quite a bit of the NASCAR-related broadcasting (Race Hub, practice, qualifying and previews) that is produced by its FOX affiliates in the US. I expect that TSN will pick up some of these pre-race broadcasts once the US-based TV switches over from FOX to NBC mid-season.

3. Formula One.
I can now confirm that TSN is, once again, carrying the F1 broadcasts – including qualifying and practice as well as the F2 action – each race weekend. I expect that F1 will introduce a new twist this year – qualifying spring races on the Saturday. I assume that TSN will include these sprint races in their F1 broadcast package.

4. IndyCar.
Despite the fact that SportsNet made most, if not all, of the 2021 IndyCar races available on the ‘regular’ SportsNet channels (like SN-O/SportsNet Ontario) that most of us can get as part of our basic TV channel package, SN will be reverting to the arrangement they had in 2019. That is the IndyCar races will be on SN360 and SN-World as well as via streaming on SN-NOW+.
SN-NOW+ is priced at $34.99/month. “Races will be available throughout the season on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet World channels”. I know for sure that SN-World is a premium-priced channel ($20/month on Bell Fibe) while SN-360 may be included in some higher priced channel bundles (Check with your television service provider).

In 2019, the Toronto Honda Indy was made available on a non-premium SportsNet channel and I supposes that this would happen again this year if the race happens. At this time of writing we still face the possibility that the Toronto race will be cancelled (fingers crossed!).

A friend of mine, who is an ardent IndyCar fan, studies the US IndyCar TV schedule to see which of the races he can get via network NBC and then he selectively subscribes to SN-World for only those weeks that include an IndyCar race he can’t get on NBC. It costs him $100 or so a season – but what’s that compared to the cost of actually traveling to just one of these US-based races and buying the race-day tickets as well? But there’s no escaping that fact that by relegating the IndyCar broadcasts to the premium-priced SN channels, IndyCar is guaranteed to record a minuscule TV audience in Anglophone Canada.

Keep watching the Race Fan TV listings here and I will try to keep you up to date with the latest information week by week.

5. World Endurance Championship.
Last year, Discovery-Velocity carried race broadcasts from this series. The first race of the 2021 season will not happen until April 4 in the Algarve in Portugal (replacing the cancelled Sebring WEC race). At this time, I have no information about the WEC’s broadcast plans. I assume this will become more clear as the time for the first race come close. My guess is that it will be back on Discovery-Velocity again.

6. REV TV Canada.
This is a new racing-oriented channel servicing the Canadian market via your TSP.
Their blurb says, “REV TV Canada is a 24/7 motorsports network featuring over 40 live races from around the world and right here at home. From two wheels to four, REV TV features fast-paced dirt and track racing, up-to-date news coverage, prominent interviews with talent and industry insiders, how-to and behind the-scene programs and so much more! REV TV is Canada’s Own Motorsports Network.”
I’ve never seen any live race coverage on this channel and while they do show many races (via tape-delay) over the season, they do a very poor job of identifying the broadcasts by race series, race event and date – so yo are left struggling to figure out what race you actually seeing and when it was run. That said, they do show a lot of current year short track racing of various types. In addition, they seemed to run a series of broadcasts last year about the 2021 World Rally season and some other related programs.
Given the non-live nature of their programming and the limited info that I can glean about specific upcoming broadcasts, I don’t include their broadcasts in my listings – but, nevertheless, I recommend that you check out this channel.

7. CBS Sports
This channel, which I get as part of my TV package (it seems to be bundled with Fox Sports Racing), has a wide variety of sports broadcasts including quite a few related to motorsports. I pick out a few specific ones for my listings such as DTM, and the SRO GT races but there are many other motorsports broadcasts on this channel – mostly tape-delayed – such as short dirt track racing (e.g World of Outlaws) and off-road stuff.
And some motorcycle sport as well. I recommend the motorcycle road racing from Ireland. It is genuine actual road racing on narrow twisty roads with a minimum of safety provisions (Think the Isle of Man TT races). Why this very hazardous style of road racing has not been banned outright long since, I don’t know. But, in the meantime, you might what to check it out.

8. SRO GT World Challenge America
In addition to the SRO races shown on a time-delayed basis on CBS Sports, SRO does broadcast many of its races live (and via tape-delay afterwards) via its dedicated website (https://www.gt-world-challenge-america.com/). Click on ‘videos’.

I get a bit frustrated by SRO’s preponderance of different race series and race formats around the world – but this is a big organization which sanctions an awful of GT-based racing – including some big events like their 24-hour races at Spa and the Nürburgring. The SRO does visit Canadian Tire Motorsport Part as part of their Victoria Day race weekend (again cancelled for 2021).

9. Other Streaming services:
• Motor Trend streaming service (MotorTrendOnDemand.com). Discovery Velocity is related to Motor Trend in the US, but there does not seem to be a lot of overlap in their programming. It carries a lot of different ‘car’ content, including many race series. I think that they show some of these series as live broadcasts as well as after-the-fact replay broadcasts. Series here that I like to watch include the British Touring Car Championship, the DTM (German-based super-sedan series), WEC, Australian Supercars (mostly V-8 sedans) – but their list is long.
• MAV TV. This US channel is separate from REV TV Canada, with which it was once affiliated, so it carries its own programming which may or may not overlap with REV’s programming. It does carry the WoO Chili Bowl live, the All-Star sprint cars (an alternate series to the WoO sprints) and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series live.
• F1 TV. This is a subscription-only streaming service (F1 TV Pro) which provides all the Grands Prix live, including all F1 sessions PLUS F2, F3 and Porsche SuperCup. This is a valuable service if you can’t watch the races on your television at home, because you can watch it on your mobile devices as well as on your computer at home. There is also a package of related data such as live scoring without the live video, in lower-priced (F1 TV Access) or free versions.

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