WEC opens up 2016 race archive

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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