Broadcast Map of the Past: Brands Hatch

This track map pulled from the Castrol Book of the European Grand Prix has a fascinating feature that I’ve not seen on any other track map: The location of the BBC Cameras recording the event. Five cameras (and a helicopter) seems almost hilariously insufficient when we consider today’s abundant camera angles of most tracks, but in 1964 it was a struggle to get even this level of coverage.

Since this is from a Castrol book, the oil company was playing up its own efforts in filming the race, with a substantial section of the booklet describing the effort to capture the race; apparently with more cameras than the BBC was using for the broadcast.

Castrol wasn’t just locking their efforts away either, this line concludes the description of the filming: “if you belong to a motor club and would like to see the results of their work, ask the Secretary to reserve a print of the film for showing to you and your fellow members.” The notion of reserving a print of the race film to be enjoyed later by motor club members sitting around the film projector—weeks or months after the race—is utterly fantastic.

Gathering friends to watch a months-old motor race seems ridiculous today, but there’s something reverent and respectable about the scenario that I love. Rather than just tuning in to the live broadcast to see who wins, it’s an honoring of the event; like a football coach re-watching reels of previous games again and again. It’s not watching the race, it’s studying the race.

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