Joining Netflix has catapulted Formula 1 into a new level of popularity in the massive American market. Viewing figures set records on ESPN in 2022 and stayed high throughout the 2023 season despite dominance from Red Bull and Max Verstappen that meant limited competition at the front.
Now, America’s homegrown motorsport is hoping to do the same and get some extra attention worldwide. A Netflix docuseries on last season’s Playoffs has been in the works, and now NASCAR: Full Speed has an official release date and a teaser trailer.
On January 30th, Netflix subscribers will be able to follow the Playoff stories of William Byron, Christopher Bell, Ross Chastain, Denny Hamlin, Bubba Wallace, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Tyler Reddick, and eventual champion Ryan Blaney.
The description on the site promises that “the series will feature exclusive, extensive access to a range of drivers and teams,” with five 45-minute episodes “bringing fans behind the scenes — on and off the track — while exploring the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of competing for a championship at the world’s highest level of stock car racing.”
Also involved with the project is NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr, who knows what it’s like to compete in the sport’s postseason. Earnhardt will be serving as one of the executive producers of the show.
“NASCAR has kicked down the door to an entirely new era recently — with new tracks, cars, team owners, and stars combining to deliver some of the best competition the sport has ever seen,” NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer Tim Clark said in a statement.
Though 2023 will be the sixth season of Drive to Survive, it wasn’t just the show that has made F1 so popular but also the 2021 season which featured a title fight to the last race of the season that saw the dominant Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team dethroned.
Fully into the swing of the Next-Gen era, which has produced huge numbers of different winners throughout the season and has lived up to NASCAR’s promise to increase parity, NASCAR executives think their sport is in equally good position to draw new viewers in.
“Now is the perfect time to introduce people to the characters, competition and chaos that make NASCAR so compelling while still giving our most passionate fans plenty of new insights into their favorite teams and drivers,” Clark added.
Something like this has been in the cards for some time, though. NASCAR, and every sport, has seen the popularity of Drive to Survive. Football has Hard Knocks, a show following players from the training camp to the field and The Test follows the Australian Men’s Cricket Team.
Indeed, NASCAR tried a show called Race for the Championship on USA Series last season, focusing on the entirety of the season. The Netflix show has a smaller focus and, potentially, a bigger audience.
“We think the opportunity to create content, interesting content, whether it’s short form or series like what we’re doing with Netflix or whatever that may be, to serve fans where they are is an important component to it,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in the sanctioning body’s annual State of the Sport press conference at the championship race at Phoenix.
No sports show on Netflix has been as successful as Drive to Survive… yet. NASCAR is hoping that it’s finally the right time for a repeat.
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