Verizon IndyCar Series driver Juan Pablo Montoya has stressed the importance of fan access and engagement in motorsport whilst speaking at an FIA conference in Mexico City this week.
Montoya was joined on a panel at the FIA Sport Conference by NASCAR and soon-to-be F1 team co-owner Gene Haas, Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag and IndyCar’s Mark Miles to speak about the future of fan engagement in motorsport.
Across the globe, series tend to vary dramatically in terms of fan access and engagement both at the track and via other forms of consumption such as broadcasts and online interaction.
Speaking as part of the panel, Montoya explained how he believes that IndyCar is successful in its approach to fan engagement by enjoying a different mentality to other series.
“Something that IndyCar does really well is, as a fan when you go to the race, you have access to the drivers,” Montoya said.
“We do autograph sessions, they can go to the garages, you can see the cars, we can’t cover anything. It’s a completely different mentality [to other places] – it’s designed for the fans.”
Montoya also spoke about his use of social media to try and give fans an insight into his life away from the track.
“I use it not so much for the racing side, but to give people access to see who I am outside the races,” he explained.
“At the race what you see is what you get. Outside I’m the guy who loves mountain bikes, wind surfing, my family, flying my radio-controlled planes – that’s who I am.
“I think it separates the ‘big star driver’ from the normal human being.”