A new social media platform for motoring enthusiasts launched by three former BBC Top Gear presenters is employing a team of four editorial staff based in London.
Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, who launched their new TV show Grand Tourthis month, are behind the venture along with tech entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt and former Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman.
Its creators have described Drivetribe as a “next-generation digital media platform dedicated to motoring and adventure” and the “digital publishing home for motoring”.
Users sign in with a Facebook account (and soon Twitter also) to access content curated into “tribes” that can be set up by anyone on the site about any motoring topic.
A content team of about four editorial staff – out of a total of 30 based in Kings Cross, London – create news and motoring reviews for the site. There are plans to expand the editorial team further “as the platform evolves”.
Users will be able to download a phone app to access content on the move.
The site will make money from native advertising and branded content.
The five founders are understood to have co-funded the platform.
Speaking in the launch video, May said: “It’s social media in the end. It’s about cars, there’s some very clever stuff on it but it’s about us all talking together and sharing our ailment.”
Added Clarkson: “There are hundreds of millions of people in the world who are interested in cars.
“The man who polishes his Hispano Suiza in Pebble Beach and the man who lowers his Honda in south London, they are both interested in cars but this is the place where they can come.
“This is what it’s all about. We all come, we all talk, we can fight with one another and we can agree with one another. It will be fantastic.”
Hammond said: “It’s a safe place to come and proclaim your enthusiasm and share it.”
Speaking to Variety magazine about Drivetribe, Schmitt said: “Automotive and adventure-lifestyle are huge growth areas for content, and are presently woefully under served digitally.
“Automotive is also the biggest advertising category in the world — with $45 billion media spend projected for 2016 — and we expect our content will monetise well through native advertising and social commerce.”
Hammond added: “Bearing in mind that we are editorial-led people, we saw an opportunity.
“Because we know and love our subject, we are probably more aware than most of the breadth and the depth of it, the different passions that it ignites in different people in different ways, because we have been exposed to that for many years.
“And we figured now is the time when technology in the media is allowing us to pull the thing together in a whole new way, and then Ernesto came along and made all that possible.”