The Editor: The welcome return of racing

“Our return to the office coincides with the welcome return of racing”

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Editors cartoonJuly looks as if it will be the month that life gradually returns to some semblance of normality. At Motor Sport, we anticipate that after producing the last three issues working remotely, we will return to the office, albeit in a staggered rota system. Last week I spent the day at our HQ measuring distances between desks to help ensure that when the time comes, we will all be safely distanced following government guidelines.

I am looking forward to the return. Despite being tremendously proud of the team for managing to maintain the high quality that the magazine is known for and that our readers expect while working on laptops at kitchen tables, you just can’t conjure the creative environment of a magazine office via Zoom.

Some of the best ideas for stories don’t come from formal pitches, but from casual office chit-chat, from jokes and shared memories. So I am looking forward to the return of that creative buzz and the hands-on thrill of magazine production.

It is not just the editorial team who will be returning; so will those who have been working in other areas remotely behind the scenes throughout the pandemic. That includes those who look after our loyal subscribers, answer the phones and process payments to freelance journalists. It includes the printers, and it includes our commercial team, who have continued building relationships with our advertisers and sponsors. And it is important to note that while the magazine’s lifeblood is its readers, it simply wouldn’t survive were it not for the companies advertising in our pages. I’d like to thank those companies that have continued to support us through the lockdown.

There is no doubt that these are testing times for all publishers and will continue to be so even as the lockdown ends. The gravity of the situation is illustrated by the fact that many companies have chosen to stop publishing printed versions of magazines altogether. This is not a road that Motor Sport plans to go down.

Even so, there will clearly continue to be practical barriers to buying printed copies of Motor Sport from the shops, although we remain on sale at newsagents and supermarkets.

To try and combat that we have come up with several ways that will hopefully make it easier to get the magazine or get more out of it. For those readers who are already subscribers, we are offering a free digital upgrade, which gives you all same content as the magazine but in digital format. To be clear, you will still receive your printed copy of Motor Sport, but you will also be given access to the digital version – to read on your phone, tablet or home computer – plus access to premium material on our website, such as back issues, our driver database and full access to our searchable archive, which contains every word we have printed in our 96-year history. All subscribers are automatically upgraded, so all you need to do is activate your account via the website. It’s quick and simple to do and we have created an easy to follow guide you can read by clicking here.

If you are not a subscriber yet, we have arranged for an introductory and discounted offer of three issues for £3 for a full print and digital subscription package, which also includes full access to the online archive. Click here for details of that offer.

Motor Sport is lucky to have such loyal readers, and many may be interested in other ways they can support their magazine. In which case, I would also encourage you to visit our online shop. We have recently revamped this part of the website to make it easier to use, and have increased the number of available items, so you can now find everything from motor racing memorabilia to signed copies of racing books, race posters, watches and all manner of car-related gifts.

Buying from our online shop is an easy and effective way for readers to support us and it is also a pretty tempting way to while away a few hours browsing through dozens of vintage grand prix posters when you should really be working. Apparently.

Our return to the office coincides with the welcome return of racing. After the lull in action over the past couple of months, the sport is gearing up to return to the track. National racing will start next month, while the first F1 meeting should take place in early July, albeit amid strict COVID-19 regulations. Team bubbles, no champagne, no podium and no grid walks. Most notably, there will be no spectators. From the British Grand Prix at Silverstone via GT racing at Brands Hatch to the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb, competitors will fight it out in front of empty grandstands and deserted grassy banks.

I know many readers will miss the sights, sounds and smells of race meetings. I hope that we will make up in part for that loss by continuing to provide our unique mixture of news, insight and analysis of all the latest happenings while also keeping one eye on the past.
Which brings me to my final thank you – to you our readers. Thank you for sticking with us through a tricky period. We wouldn’t exist without you.

Now, time to get back to work…

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