2nd North American Race

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 23/05/2013
  • By V8 Supercars

The search for a second race to run the week before or afterthe Austin 400 in the Americas is underway.

V8 Supercars director of international business Adam Firthhas confirmed discussions have commenced with venues in a News Ltd report that alsospeculated circuits in both New York and California were possibilities.

“We are looking at more races here," Firth told NewsLtd. "The market obviously makes sense because we have manufacturerinterest, there is a motor sport culture and there is a good synergy betweenAustralia and America.

"It also makes sense from an economic perspective tohave two events here because we are already coming over and it reduces thefreight cost, the travel cost that means the financial success of those eventsis improved.”

Separately, Circuit of the Americas president and CEO SteveSexton told v8supercars.com.au that he endorsed the category’s search for acircuit to twin with COTA and confirmed he was participating in the process. Hedeclined to name the potential circuits involved in the negotiations.

“We want to see how far down the road we can get and see ifwe can make it happen,” Sexton said. “It’s really their decision (V8 Supercars)whether to go and pursue other circuits and reach out in North America. But Ican tell you we share the vision of raising that tide and increasing theawareness of getting V8 Supercars more exposure in this country.

“If we twined with another race and had another race inNorth America would that help us? I think it would, it would raise theawareness level, personalise the drivers, gain exposure and raise the overall collectivemedia and social awareness.”

But the key word emerging from V8 Supercars heavyweightswhen it comes to twining the Austin 400 with another event is that it must be“sustainable”.

That’s an obvious reference to V8 Supercars’ forays into theMiddle East where races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were twinned.

The Bahrain event has ended and the contract to race at theYas Island Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi has been put on hold.

“Wherever we go next needs to be totally sustainable,” V8Supercars commission chairman Mark Skaife told a press conference in Austin.“We believe if you take it to the right place people will follow.

“I am a firm believer that if you take it to places likeBahrain and Abu Dhabi and you don’t have people there that actually appreciateit then it doesn’t do the best thing for the business. I think in a place likethis, Americans will love this sport. It’s big, fast and loud.”

Skaife’s confidence was backed up by the CotA attendance,which was officially claimed at 68,000 over three days. That figure easilyoutstripped any Middle East V8 Supercars crowds. However, he acknowledgingtwinning would aid the Texas race’s economic sustainability.

“To have another event close by - whether it is in SouthAmerica, North America or Canada - we need to have sensible approach to howthat is done. If that then is something that would aid the futuresustainability of this event and made it more viable then that is something wewould certainly contemplate.”

However, Roland Dane, V8 Supercars board member and owner ofthe dominant Red Bull Racing team warned any added event should not beconsidered purely to amortise expense.

“It has to be something that is done for all the rightreasons and not just an attempt to defray costs for the sake of it. It has tobe sustainable and as good as this hopefully. This experience here has all thehallmarks so far of being very positive, so that needs to be the benchmark.”

Dane suggested that a second race in the USA or Canada wouldmake more sense than heading south to places such as Mexico.

“I am not sure you would have as many Aussies keen to go toMexico and Aussies wanting to come is a big part of this. So if you could gosomewhere where you still had that core of Aussie interest plus the local interestas well, I think it could be very good.” 

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