It maybe a bit off-topic for this blog, but it would be churlish not to congratulate IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves on winning Dancing With the Stars, the US version of Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The Brazilian double Indianapolis 500 winner, who drives for Team Penske, beat former Spice Girl Mel B and Marie Osmond in the final last night.
His victory is likely to result in increased interest and a higher profile for motorsport in general across the world’s largest media market – one commenter on the IndyCar website writes:
In the last couple of weeks, friends who had no idea what IRL was about have asked me “..isn’t Helio one of the drivers in that racing you like so much? He is so dynamic and fun, maybe I will come to a race next year just to see him.” For that we all owe the guy a huge debt of gratitude.
Here, from YouTube (at least, until the copyright lawyers get it removed), is how the show ended:
And, from the official IndyCar site, here is Castroneves introducing his dance partner Julianne Hough (and, with her, the American TV-watching public) to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With the rise of Lewis Hamilton, British motorsport is firmly in the public eye anyway – but even so, we can’t help thinking that when David Coulthard used his ITV-F1 column to mock footballer John Barnes “wobbling about… on Strictly Come Dancing” he might have served the sport better by entering the show than by taking the mickey out of it.