I’ll be writing a couple of stories this week over at TTAC about the Rolex 24, which is a terrible thing to watch on television, but a glorious event to experience personally. As an invited guest of one of the participating manufacturers, the level of access I had was bonkers, yes, but even for the man on the street who buys his ticket from the window, it’s one of the rare opportunities to walk through the garages, go stand next to million dollar cars on pit lane, even shake the hands of the drivers.
I got a voicemail from Acura PR a few weeks before the event, asking me if I wanted to attend the race as their guest. As I was listening to the first few seconds of the voicemail, my brain was thinking “No.” I’m not prone to accepting junkets from OEMs, and I often mock those who do. These sorts of things are normally pretty awful—you’re led around in a group by a PR person, they feed you constantly, give you presents, and send you home. Most of the “press” in attendance never even write about the experience. It’s borderline bribery, and it all makes me feel a little uncomfortable.
And then, I heard these words. “There will be a lead/follow session on track in the NSX, with Juan Pablo Montoya leading.”
I damn near dropped my phone. Yes, of course I’ll go. I’d parachute in just for that. But there’s a truth about lead/follows at press events that nobody ever tells you.