The IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is an underrated gem, full of gutsy drivers looking to move up in the world. However, the video for their Rolex 24 support race is wonderful for another reason: the mics were still recording during breaks in the broadcast, and IMSA left that in when they uploaded the race to YouTube.
IMSA uploaded Fox Sports’ American commentary feed with the video instead of the continuous international version. Problem is, Fox shortens these races considerably to air about a week later in the U.S., editing in space for commercial breaks.
However, IMSA posts the full races on YouTube after they’re broadcast to let fans enjoy all the action as it unfolds. So, when the race was off-air in the U.S., the commentators on IMSA’s uploaded version talked to each other as the viewers at home couldn’t hear them—even though the mics were still on, and apparently recording. An outtake from the introduction was even left in the YouTube cut as well. Oops!
It’s a different, more human side to the usually-polished commentary team of Calvin Fish, Tommy Kendall, Brian Till, Justin Bell and Jamie Howe. While they’re often not averse to snark on-air, their un-self-censored chats offer a unique window into the close-knit sports car racing community and the job of commentating a race.
They admit to saying words and names wrong during the broadcast. They roast some teams for name changes or on-track flubs. Sometimes they offer more personal anecdotes, like Kendall’s remarks on going to racing school with Houston-based team owner Ken Murillo (around 29:40 into the YouTube broadcast), who was also affected by the flooding after Hurricane Harvey.
Notably, some of it is a little awkward. After young racer Aurora Straus had an oops on track, Till mentions, “She’s a little bitty girl to be driving that great big car.” That’s not a line I usually hear for the young men who race, and racers should be the last people on earth to be commenting on size when “adding lightness” is a proven strategy for going faster.
Yet while you know this isn’t the edit IMSA likely hoped to feature, it’s so bizarre and delightful that I hope they leave it up in this form, even if they fix the broadcast in a later upload. The full, nearly four-and-a-half-hour broadcast is below, and unless you’re poor Mazda racer Andrew Carbonell whose name they never quite get right (ouch!), it’s pretty amazing.