A civil war is brewing at the iconic Nurburgring as two rival organizers battle to put on endurance races at the famed circuit. This is just part of this week’s Business of Motorsport.
You will also find out about the continuing soap opera that is the current FIA, why not all businesses are happy about the Las Vegas Grand Prix and MotoGP organizer Dorna is up for sale.
I also have the latest sponsorship deals, partnership news and race team developments around the globe. All this and more in this week’s edition of the Business of Motorsport on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
I have not seen so much drama around the FIA in a long time but things seem to be continuing on from 2023. As more extremely competent and respected people flee the FIA ship, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has insisted that he is “head of the house” and that he knows who is “attacking him” by leaking internal information to the press. It is all starting to sound a little too soap opera-like to me.
On a more positive note, the FIA President is still sounding bullish on having a Grand Prix on the African continent. “We have very good contacts in Africa,” asserted Ben Sulayem. “There should be more attention on Africa. In Africa we have a good vice president. We are strengthening the clubs there,” the FIA President said of the importance of growing the sport from the ground up.”
Despite a rocky start, the Las Vegas Grand Prix turned out to be a highlight of the season on the track. Off the track not so much as a number of local businesses are requesting compensation for lost business.
“We believe the county is responsible,” Bohn cotinued. “They’re using taxpayer dollars to bring F1 into town. When F1 went before the county, they promised they would not be a hinderance, that they would be a part of the community. What they did was they came in, tore everything up, ran the race and got the hell out of dodge … If [a similar business loss] happens again next year, I will be out of business one hundred per cent.”
As Front Office Sports dramatically puts it, the Las Vegas GP Unrest Shows Dark Underbelly of Sports Boom Town.
General Motorsport Industry News
A recent decision in Germany has split the responsibility of staging races on the famed Nurburgring between the existing NLS and new Nürburgring Endurance Series (NES) who have received access to the German venue to host races sowing chaos within the NLS.
“Introducing two governing NLS bodies, VLN VV and VLN Sport: The NLS has been organised jointly by NR Holding and VLN Sport via VLN VV. NR Holding held 60 percent of VLN VV, while VLN Sport owned the remaining 40 percent. VLN Sport meanwhile is made up of nine local clubs, six of which are local clubs within the ADAC and three within the DMV, a distinct motorsports association in Germany.”
Despite the victory for the NES in court, teams and the all important circuit marshals are siding with the current organizers. “We, a group of team bosses who have been particularly active and successful for many years, all love the competition on the unique Nordschleife and are happy to welcome new competitors, suppliers and organizers who challenge the market leaders to a fair competition with good personnel, clever strategies and the best equipment. However, this does not apply to new market players who try to outsmart others before the start, prevent them from starting, poach their staff and use semi-legal means to ruthlessly buy their success.”
Greg Engle of Forbes looks at NASCAR expanding its gaming footprint to include the industry’s traditional home market of North Carolina.
“After years of being a taboo subject in the sport, in recent years NASCAR has sought to expand opportunities to engage with fans. One of those engagement opportunities has been gaming though such things as NASCAR fantasy leagues and last season a Powerball promotion that ran nearly the entire season culminating in a $1 million prize given away at the season’s final championship race at Phoenix.”
Dorna chief executive Carmelo Ezpeleta has confirmed rumors that the organization that runs MotoGP is up for sale.
I confirm the rumours of sale, but I would like to know who is spreading them,” he told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “Every day I receive two or three phone calls from credit institutions asking me if it is true that we are for sale. But, the banks do not want to buy, they only offer themselves as intermediaries of the operation. I can only say that we are ready. We stayed with our first investors from 1998 to 2006: eight years.
Then came Bridgepoint, which made some changes and 17 more went through. Currently about 20 per cent of Dorna is owned by its workers, and I have the majority; 39 per cent are from Bridgepoint; 38 per cent of a Canadian public fund. Anything can happen, at any time, but it hasn’t happened yet. They certainly like the product and the formula works with the sprints.”
Rights to the International Race of Champions (IROC) brand have been acquired by Ray Evernham and Rob Kauffman amid plans to revive the US-based invitational series last held in 2006. Interestingly, Kauffman helped start and is still an investor in the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) which just announced the cancellation of its 2024 season.
Extreme E has announced that the 2024 season will be the last with its current cars as it transitions to the hydrogen-powered Extreme H car in 2025. “It’s a different car, different championship, same format. And Extreme E as it is, will stop.”
Formula E organizers have confirmed that the Hyderabad E-Prix scheduled for later this year has been cancelled following a breakdown in talks with the local government.
“It was officially confirmed on Friday by the championship that the race would not be taking place, citing “a decision by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department (MAUD), under the control of the Government of Telangana, not to fulfil the Host City Agreement”. It added that it was also “left with no choice other than to formally give notice to MAUD that it is in breach of contract“.
The Ulster Grand Prix has been cancelled for 2024, with the organizing club behind Ireland’s most historic motorcycle road race citing ongoing insurance problems as the reason why the event will not run for a fifth-straight year.
“Despite recent positive negotiations with stakeholders of the event, the club has been left with no choice but to take this course of action given motorcycle sport’s ongoing insurance issues and a lack of sufficient time to find a solution to these challenges,” it said.”
Quick Takes on the Business of Motorsport This Week
- Ariel Ream Named Interim CEO of Shift Up Now Foundation (Shift Up Now)
- Chris Ward Named Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) President as David Hinton Remains on HSR Board of Directors and in Senior Advisor Role (HSR)
- Drag Strips In KY, MS, And S.D. Announce Closures (Dragzine)
- WIMNA’s Women With Drive III Summit highlights to air on MAVTV (Racer)
- MAVTV focuses on women in motorsports with ‘In the Machine’ docuseries (Racer)
- Saudi Arabian motorsport advances with Jameel Motorsport launch (PMW Magazine)
- RIP Racing’s First AI Influencer, Who Lived for 34 Dumb Days (The Drive)
- Brabham Group, Fusion Capital Terminate Collaboration (Sportscar365)
The Bigger Sports Picture
From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it. TEDxChicago’s How Sports Can Tackle the Loneliness Crisis encapsulates the inexplicable nature of sports fandom, highlighting the potential it offers to help us face the growing loneliness epidemic.
Over the last 30 years, the percentage of Americans who report having no close friends has quadrupled. It’s clear that we’re struggling to find community.
Don’t miss AJ Maestas, founder of Navigate, a data-driven consulting firm specializing in sports and entertainment, as he shares how the sports industry plays a critical role in alleviating this crisis.
Watch his talk from TEDxChicago here or in the video above.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Sauber to switch between Stake and Kick F1 branding in 2024 and ’25 (Motorsport Week)
- Long-time Max Verstappen sponsors explain why they are walking away (Planet F1)
- F1 and fashion: A partnership on the world stage (Motorsport Week)
- The sponsorship industry verdict on Fanatics going public, brands in women’s sport, the ABBA Voyage effect, and what else to expect in 2024 (Sports Pro Media)
- NASCAR Has a New Gambling Partner in DraftKings (Road & Track)
- Warner Bros. Discovery recharges partnership with Formula E to drive coverage across Europe (Formula E)
- McLaren Racing bags supplier deal with Alpinestars (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Multi-Year Agreement: Admin By Request and Kevin Magnussen Strengthen Collaboration (Carlos Communication)
- 5-Hour ENERGY Returns to Racing with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s No. 30 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Entry with Driver Pietro Fittipaldi (RLL Racing)
- Mercedes and Luminar pen F1 safety car deal (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Hyundai Motorsport finalises Alpinestars contract (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Envision Racing add Superdry supply deal (BlackBook Motorsport)
- dSpace extends IAC partnership (PMW Magazine)
- Nissan Formula E partners seek transparent and accountable carbon offsets (PMW Magazine)
- REIS Motorsport Insurance Announced as Official Partner to ROKIT British F4 (British F4)
- Extreme E extends agreement with Founding Partner Continental (Extreme E)
- Wallace reunites with U.S. Air Force as primary sponsor (Racer)
- Laser Tools Racing with MB Motorsport reunite with Jake Hill for 2024 BTCC title charge (Laser Tools Racing)
- Skarper partners Red Bull Advanced Technologies to develop electric bike system (Motorsport.com)
- A Formula For Multiplying The Financial Value Of Sponsorships (Forbes)
- Legacy Motor Club lands Dollar Tree/Family Dollar backing (Racer)
Team & Manufacturer News
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- Pit+Paddock’s IMSA Entry Debuts with Striking Livery Designed by Jon Sibal (Pit & Paddock)
- Behind The Scenes With The Baja 1000-Winning Polaris Factory Racing Team (Maxim)
- Pinnacle Motorsport ready for Formula Regional Middle East return in 2024 (Pinacle Motorsport)
- Sainteloc enters four cars into F4 UAE opener, R-ace to run French karter (Formula Scout)
- Spencer Boyd launches Freedom Racing Enterprises (The Checkered Flag)
- How Carlin became Rodin – and how Trevor Carlin lost his own race team (Feeder Series)
- Everything must go: How Legacy Motor Club transitioned to Toyota (Racer)
- KohR Confirms New Mustang GT4 for Mars, Michaelian (Sportscar365)
- Rockwell Autosport seeks comeback at IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (PMW Magazine)
- Eversley Set for Toyota GR Supra GT4 Drive in New Role (Sportscar365)
- Pratt Miller Engineering working its plan toward IndyCar program (Racer)
- Ginetta To Relaunch LMP3 Programme For 2025 (Daily Sportscar)
- HubAuto Returns to Bathurst 12H After Four-Year Absence (Sportscar365)
- 24-7 Motorsport Joins Forces with Revolution Race Cars (Revolution Race Cars)
- Kessel Confirms Return to Endurance Cup (Sportscar365)
- What the hell is going on at Haas? (Racer)
- 3 reasons why Haas being sold to Andretti would be great for F1 (Sport Skeeda)
- ‘Time to sell Haas: Andretti F1 deal is obvious option now Steiner is gone’ (Motorsport Magazine)
- Mercedes-Benz and Williams Racing extend power-unit deal until 2030 (F1 Technical)
- Prema considering IndyCar program (Racer)
- Spec MX-5 Welcomes Berg Racing to the 2024 Field (Spec MX-5)
- ‘Not a customer’ – Trackhouse’s special MotoGP relationship (The Race)
- Lone Star Commits to Endurance Cup With Mercedes-AMG (Sportscar365)
- Random Vandals Expands to Three-Car BMW GT4 Program (Sportscar365)
- Grove Switches to Mercedes-AMG Ahead of 2024 Campaign (Sportscar365)
- Mahiki Racing set to make its debut with twin Lotus Emira GT4s (GT4 Europe)
- Elite Motorsport plans GT4 European Series entry with twin McLaren Arturas (GT4 Europe)