The FIA WEC has released a full archive of race coverage from the 2016 season on the eve of the first race of the 2017 season next weekend at Silverstone. Fans can now catch up on 48 hours of race action from eight of the series’ nine rounds (all six-hour races; excluding Le Mans) for free on the FIA WEC’s official YouTube channel in what appears to be a significant change in strategy in terms of coverage.
Series promoters the ACO introduced a paywall for live, flag-to-flag online coverage of its races at the start of the 2014 season together with the launch of its series app. In a move criticised in some quarters for preventing new fans from discovering the series, the ACO felt that payment of a small fee for coverage of each race, plus a “season pack” priced at roughly €30, would not deter new fans from watching.
YouTube content from the WEC had previously been limited to short highlights and a 45-minute highlight show for each race, usually uploaded around one week afterwards. In addition, subscribers to the app and season package had the opportunity to re-watch race coverage from 2016, but only until the next race took place.
It remains to be seen what kind of broadcasting system will be in place for the 2017, but with a new commentary team appointed for the official livestream and syndicated TV broadcasts – comprising Martin Haven, Toby Moody and Allan McNish –, it appears that changes are certainly afoot for the series.
Relive most of the 2016 season free of charge by visiting the FIA WEC’s official YouTube channel.
Image © WEC-Magazin / Walter Schruff