It’s no secret that Netflix’s Drive To Survive has been a huge success both for the streaming platform and Formula One. It’s a sport once famous for gatekeeping, but letting cameras into the paddock has attracted a whole new audience to the series and on a global scale. Now, America’s favourite motorsport is looking to mimic it.
Arriving on Netflix on 30 January, NASCAR: Full Speed will follow 16 drivers as they fight for the 2023 Cup Series championship. We’ll get to see everything from the face-level racing, into the pits and paddock plus an intimate look at drivers’ lives away from the circuit.
Among the drivers will be (spoiler alert) 2023 Cup champion Ryan Blaney and established names like Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin. Marty Smith, best known for his work with ESPN, narrates the trailer and presumably will do the same for the whole series.
Only one season has been confirmed so far and will be a five-parter consisting of 45-minute episodes. That does make it some way short of the usual 10-episode series run of Drive To Survive, though if it can come anywhere near close to its success, expect to see more of Full Speed in the future.
Tim Clark, NASCAR senior vice president and chief digital officer, said: “This is the most competitive form of motorsport on the planet. People are going to see it up close and see the beating and the banging and the aggressiveness of the drivers, but also the skill of the drivers — and what they’re able to do with a race car [driving at] 200 miles an hour, around 38 other race cars, hitting the same spot for 400 miles.”
Maybe if Full Speed lives up to the success of Drive To Survive and cracks the rest of the world in the way F1 has broken America, we could see a few more global races. Just like that brief surreal time the series raced at Suzuka. Fingers crossed, anyway.