Talking with Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports via conference call from Indianapolis, it is clear that the network is not taking any chances in their coverage of the Indy 500. The network plans to use 80 cameras making sure nothing is missed. So as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” airs Sunday at 11 a.m. E.T. on ABC, every technical toy they have will be used to make sure those watching at home get the full race experience.
Feinberg on the total coverage plan:
We have been covering this race for 48 straight years, and each year we try to improve our telecast. This year we are going with over 80 cameras. Our producer, James Shiftan and director, Bruce Watson will be able to make sure we can move seamlessly through the field to follow a storyline no matter if it at the front or the back of the field or in the pits. We will be using the “Batcam,” a camera that runs on a cable over pit road and the front stretch and can move at more than 80 mph. It provides some amazing views that only this camera can get from its very special angle.For racing, it is only used at Indy and the camera gives viewers some outstanding views of the pits as well as the front shoot from turn four through the start-finish line and into turn one.
Feinberg on the new in-car camera layout:
We have 12 of the 33 cars set up with four on-board cameras per car. Our goal is to make use of dual-path technology for the first time in an IndyCar Series telecast. It will permit a number of different views coming from each car. We will be able to show drivers faces during the race. We should get some great shots. By the way, that is 48 cameras on cars alone. That is more cameras ever used on-board cars in television history.
On ESPN3, viewers will be able to see all of the cars equipped with cameras and pick the view they wish to see as well as hear the drivers audio. So this will be a great compliment to our regular broadcast on ABC.
The ABC broadcast will be hosted by Brent Musburger who has done a great job in that role since getting the assignment in 2005. As for the broadcast team, Marty Reid will call the race with his booth partners and race analysts, 1998 Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear. The pit reporters will be Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch.
According a press release provided to Bleacher Report by ESPN, here are the main features to look out for come Sunday on ABC during the pre-race show:
Dan Wheldon: A Champion’s Story—interviews with drivers, owners and family members celebrating the life and championships of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner who died in a racing accident in October.
JR Hildebrand: 799 Correct Turns and 1 Wrong Turn—A first-person feature about the heartbreaking finish of the 2011 Indy 500 for Hildebrand, who crashed with the checkered flag in site.
James Hinchcliffe—The driver who has captured IndyCar fans with his sense of humor as well as his ability behind the wheel does a parody of the Danica Patrick/GoDaddy.com commercials.
Dario Franchitti Museum Tour—The multi-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion takes a private tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, exploring the history of the race and his desire to win his third.
Charlie Kimball: Inspiring Others—Kimball, the first diabetic driver to finish the Indy 500, has inspired a 12-year-old girl from Kansas to believe she can do anything, despite living with diabetes.
ESPN Sports Science takes a detailed look at the new DW12 IndyCar chassis that debuted this year and details the changes from previous chassis.
All quotes used in this story were obtained first-hand during a phone conference conducted by ESPN on May 22.