Griiip, LiveU Aim To Provide Dynamic Experience for Motorsports Fans
LiveU tech is deployed for Griiip’s racing series for Griiip’s G1 cars
Griiip is developing a new kind of racing league, and, with a little help from LiveU, fans will be able to tune in for a highly personal look at the G1 Series.
Griiip (pronounced “grip”) is a young Israeli company devoted to creating affordable high-performance Formula 1000 cars. Its product is the G1, and the company recently created a racing series in Italy just for G1 drivers.
Griiip’s story started a few decades ago with the birth of the Formula Student initiative. The goal of this competition is to give engineering students hands-on experience by having them build and race their own cars. Tamir Plachinsky, now Griiip’s CEO, saw the competition as a student and later decided to bring the same type of event to Israel. It was a crazy goal, since his country had no history with motorsports, which were actually illegal until 2016.
Despite the odds, Plachinsky managed to attract the talent and capital to found Griiip. Built to the Formula 1000 standard, its cars use motorcycle engines and are limited to 1,000 lb. Griiip test-drove its prototype in October 2015 and began sales in late 2016.
The goal isn’t just to sell cars but to return something to motorsports that’s missing, according to the company. For one thing, Formula One cars are priced starting around $8 million, putting the category out of reach for most enthusiasts, and even Formula 2 through 4 cars have high costs, making them available only to the wealthy or connected.
As costs go up, Griiip sees fan involvement going down. Formula racing and coverage has become dull, according to the company, and distant from the fans.
“Drivers and fans should be connected,” says CTO Gilad Agam, who has been with the company since 2015, “and we need to have the ability to broadcast our races in the G1 series in a way that is much better than any other method until now.”
To solve the first problem, Griiip created a much less expensive car, one that sells for around $70,000 U.S. and doesn’t require an army of well-paid experts to maintain. To solve the second, it’s partnering with LiveU to bring on-the-course excitement to fans and put them in the driver’s seat.
The G1 Series is based in Italy, the mecca for motorsports, and its first race was April 15. It’s a single-maker series, so all the cars are the same. That means the drivers’ skills are all that determine the outcome. One of the series’ drivers is just 14 years old. He dreams of being a top racecar driver one day and had to start somewhere.
Griiip plans more G1 Series dates in Italy through the end of the year and hopes to extend the events to the U.S., UK, and Israel after that.
With the goal of creating affordable, entry-level cars taken care of, the team at Griiip wanted to solve the problem of creating more-dynamic races to attract fans. Looking around for affordable, high-quality broadcasters, they settled on LiveU, which is also based in Israel. After a search on LinkedIn, Agam touched base with LiveU VP, Marketing, Ronen Artman, who was happy to help.
LiveU is known for its work with reporters and was looking to promote itself in other areas. The two companies quickly worked out an agreement under which LiveU supplies camera technology and support and Griiip showcases LiveU’s tech.
Thanks to the agreement, each car in the inaugural Griiip series has a LU200 LiveU signal-transmission unit attached to a GroPro camera. A LiveU LU6000 unit helped provide an overview of the full event. That first race was streamed through the Griiip site and was used for internal testing.
Future events will be public and will give viewers the option to decide which car’s video they want to watch. These races will also stream to Facebook Live. Agam is surprised at how quickly things are coming together: he expected the company to conduct internal tests for the next several months, but, instead, it will broadcast its next race to the public.
Griiip has other plans for live video, expecting to introduce drone streams in the next few months. Covering a race with both drones and onboard cameras puts Griiip on the same level as the top pro series, Agam believes. By delivering quality video to fans in any location, he thinks Griiip can create a positive impact for motorsports all over the world.
“We are talking about an experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s 4K or 8K and if it’s 4G-based or Wi-Fi–based,” Agam says. “All that’s important is that the experience is something that you can make good for the viewers, that the viewer sees something he never saw before. This is our vision.”