IMSA Spotlight: John Hindhaugh
IMSA Radio Lead Announcer
Having covered literally every major sports car racing series from around the world, what makes IMSA unique from your perspective?
“The ‘new’ IMSA has quickly developed its own identity and has listened to all their stakeholders to ensure that that identity is one which is appropriate to a championship based in North America.
“The unique mix of street tracks, the Daytona roval, the airfield circuit of Sebring and more traditional natural terrain road circuits, adds a level of variety to the racing that no other sports car series can match. In addition the IMSA development Series provide a genuine ‘staircase of talent’ for drivers, teams, sponsors and manufacturers.
“Most importantly, IMSA has never forgotten that the heart of any successful series is the full-time, full-on, fully committed fan. The growth of any series is predicated on the evangelical nature of the enthusiasts who do their best work when they feel proud to follow ‘their’ sport and have lots of positive things to say about it.
“These opinion formers bring new blood to the circuits and encourage new viewers/listeners to experience the broadcasts.”
Has there been any surprises to you, in terms teams/drivers/cars this season in the WeatherTech Championship?
“The surprise to me, and it’s a pleasant one, is just how open all the classes have been. It has been impossible to pick out clear favorites before events. Pipo Derani has obviously been a standout but you can’t and shouldn’t BoP a driver or team in exceptional form.
“The racing in all the classes and the support series – especially the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – has been brilliant too. In fairness that’s no big surprise, Continental Tire Challenge has been providing entertainment of the highest level for several years now.”
How did you get your start in broadcasting?
“I started in broadcasting working for my local hospital radio in Sunderland (my home town) then for a regional commercial broadcasting group – although as a promotions and commercial manager rather than on the air – did play-by-play on event for all kinds of sport including motor racing and Le Mans before being asked to work for the BBC at Newcastle.
“The BBC training was something I’ve never forgotten and the basic building blocks I learned then are still what we use in every broadcast.”
What kind of advise would you give to those wanting to break into the motorsports industry?
“There’s no single piece of magical advise that anyone can give as everyone is an individual. That said, there’s no substitute for hard work.
“Too many people seem to feel that just because they want something, or say they are going to do it, they are entitled to it. Life doesn’t work like that.
“In any career, you need to work your way up, gain experience, serve your apprenticeship, and motorsport is no different.”
If you were IMSA President for a day, would there be anything you’d change?
“If I was IMSA President for a day, I’d get all the decision makers from other sports car series together in one room, lock the doors and not let them out until they came up with a schedule that delivered far fewer clashes of major events.”
If you were able to add a circuit to the calendar, which one would it be and why?
“If I could add another circuit I’d like to go back to Sonoma. I think a full IMSA program of series there would be a great weekend. Oh and wine country….”