August 12, 2022

Motorsport television coverage has evolved considerably since the turn of the millennium. Live streams in 4K resolution, helmet cameras and even augmented reality have enabled new opportunities to enhance the viewing experience for fans.

Graphics packages have also changed dramatically even in the last 20 years. Irregular tickers at the bottom of the screen giving occasional race position updates, it’s now hard to find a race series that doesn’t use a permanent timing lap on the left of the screen throughout the race so fans always know exactly where their favorite drivers are seated in order.

But among some of the biggest motorsport series on the planet – Formula 1, Formula E, World Endurance Championship, IndyCar, Moto GP and NASCAR – has the most effective graphics package to keep viewers informed of the state of the race? Review each series, then vote for the one you think has the best approach.

Formula 1

Formula 1 has revamped its TV graphics for the 2022 season with team logos and tire compounds
Qualifying graphics have also changed
Live telemetry data is placed around the Halo

Formula 1 has refreshed its graphical package to coincide with the all-new era of ground effect at the start of the 2022 season.

A timing lap is permanently located on the left side of the screen, showing race positions, driver, team logo and tire compound the car is currently running on. The dash cams also use the Halo protection system around the driver’s helmet to show live telemetry.

Formula E

Formula E makes heavy use of blue, including Attack mode times
Synchronized boarding during qualifying duels
The rare on-board rangefinder view

Formula E makes extensive use of the series’ blue branding as a color to highlight important information such as race positions and which drivers are currently using Attack Mode. When a driver has activated their extra power boost period, their remaining time is shown on the entire timing lap.

With the move to the new format of duels in qualifying, Formula E occasionally uses side-by-side in-vehicle footage where the feeds are synced to show a direct comparison between drivers. A live measurement graph shows which of the two drivers in the duel holds the advantage.

IndyCar (NBC)

IndyCar has also adopted a permanent timing tower
Drivers at risk in qualifying are grayed out
IndyCar uses picture-in-picture soundly

IndyCar’s racing graphics by broadcaster NBC are perhaps the most similar to Formula 1 in both look and purpose. Driver numbers are much more prominent, with backgrounds reflecting each car’s liveries to help viewers more easily identify cars if they don’t know them.

IndyCar also uses picture-in-picture to display replays of on-track incidents while keeping a view of the live racing action on screen at the same time.

MotoGP

Moto GP regularly uses informative pop-ups during races
Red sectors indicate the fastest time in a session
Simple keys visually convey information

The Moto GP graphics package has evolved a lot over the last 20 years. The commercial rights holders Dorna emphasized trying to present the information as clearly as possible to make the sport accessible to viewers who might be unfamiliar with the sport. On-screen racers will often be highlighted on the timing tower, clearly indicating which battle is currently displayed.

NASCAR Cup Series (Fox)

Fox has adopted a timing tower instead of a ticker in recent seasons
Augmented reality in qualifications
Extensive use of picture-in-picture

NASCAR’s broadcast arrangement is different from most other series on this list where coverage of NASCAR’s high profile cut series is split between Fox and NBC during the season. NASCAR has its own graphics package for international broadcasters, but the majority of viewers in the United States will watch with Fox’s graphics suite.

When NBC resumes airing the rest of the season’s races later this month on its main network channel and basic “USA” cable channel, it will use a graphics suite similar to that used for its IndyCar coverage.

Endurance World Championship

WEC hour meter shrinks in real time
Each car class has its own color
On-board telemetry takes precedence over the display

The TV graphics package for the WEC is more minimalist in design than other FIA World Championships. With multiple classes competing at once, each car is designated with a color to represent its class – Hypercar, LMP2, GT Pro or GT Amateur – rather than a color to represent its team.

The timing information also uses a noticeable translucent shading effect across the screen to help the graphics stand out from the race images.

You say

Which motorsport series has the right approach to presenting information to viewers during races? Vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which motorsport series has the most effective TV graphics package?

  • Formula 1 (46%)
  • Formula E (4%)
  • IndyCar (4%)
  • MotoGP (34%)
  • NASCAR Cup Series (5%)
  • Endurance World Championship (5%)
  • Other (2%)

Total number of voters: 82

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