IndyCar is on a roll as they enter new media negotiations on the back of their best viewing numbers since 2016. It’s all part of this week’s Business of Motorsport.
I also look at the two new racing teams that made Forbes’ list of the World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams, the possible return of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie LMH race car to WEC and IMSA and how NASCAR is building their fanbase of the future.
All this plus the latest sponsorship deals and partnerships as well as race teams news in this week’s Business of Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
Forbes have released their 2023 list of the World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams and two Formula 1 teams have made their debuts on the list.
- Ferrari have been ranked #45 with a current value of $3.9 billion and a four-year change in value of 189%. They were not on the 2022 list.
- Mercedes are ranked #47 with a current value of $3.8 billion and a four-year change in value of 274%. They also were not on the 2022 list.
You can read the full list here.
Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei expects smooth negotiations over Formula 1’s next Concorde Agreement, in stark contrast to the “snot-gobbling fight” of previous eras.
“Historically, the Concorde Agreement was a snot-gobbling fight, and never got signed until after the season had already ended,” said Maffei at an event hosted by Goldman Sachs as reported by Autosport. “And they were operating backwards on what they were getting paid. We got it done this time. We’re trying to change the dynamic, and I credit first Chase Carey and now Stefano with changing the dynamic with the teams, where we are far more aligned.”
Renault CEO Luca de Meo has dubbed rumors of Alpine being sold “bull****” after its recent off-track upheaval in F1. “I’m disappointed because we did poorly in Monza, after a podium in Zandvoort but we are not at all where we should be,” De Meo told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com. “We have to do a relaunch job piece by piece. And all those stories that I would like to sell the team are bulls***. F1 is part of the Alpine project like endurance and other races, so we move forward and we have to grow.”
Williams Racing CRO Paul Asencio hopes to have a new title sponsor by the start of the 2024 F1 season, reports Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern but they may not be done with former title sponsor ROKit as they are refiling their lawsuit against the team in California after their Florida suit got tossed on a technicality.
Felipe Massa’s lawsuit appears to be picking up pace. Massa has stepped up his legal efforts when his team this week sent preservation notices to a number of teams and staff members informing them that they must not alter or destroy any relative document to his case. In addition to Ferrari, he is also hoping that Lewis Hamilton will aid his cause.
If you are wondering whether the current F1 teams reticence to admit any new teams to the F1 grid is a current phenomena, it is not. I am currently reading the excellent book The Toleman Story: Last Romantics in Formula 1 by Christopher Hilton (Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA). Here is a quote from Toleman Team Manager Alex Hawkridge as they were preparing to enter Formula 1 in 1981:
“The Teams in Formula 1 just want the status quo, just want things to stay the way they are. Anyone coming along and rocking the boat…“
General Motorsport Industry News
“We have momentum, we have people who understand objectively that our metrics are positive and improving, and there are multiple platforms interested in our rights,” Miles told RACER. “So that’s a great combination and a good place to be as we go explore the market for 2025.”
The series is also looking to experiment a bit as they made clear with the announcement of their made-for-TV $1 Million Challenge in 2024 at the Thermal Club.
“While championship points will not be on the line, the event will feature a multimillion-dollar purse. A draw party to begin the event will embed members of The Thermal Club with each race team and driver. The weekend format will include a qualifying session and two heat races, with the top six from each heat advancing to an All-Star showcase. The top five finishing teams will split their earnings with The Thermal Club members, including a $1 million prize awarded to the winner. There will be a charitable component to the event that will be announced at a later date.”
Aston Martin is reportedly close to reviving its Valkyrie LMH project for the 2025 WEC and IMSA seasons according to Autosport. “Autosport has learned that Aston and Heart of Racing, which is backed by computer games tycoon Gabe Newell, are closing in on a deal to bring a car conceived to start racing in 2021 to the track finally. The deal is not done as yet, but it is understood that it could be just weeks away.”
If Aston Martin does join the WEC grid, they would be joining a series that could expand to 40 cars for the 2024 season. “There looks certain to be in excess of 20 cars in Hypercar with the arrival of BMW, Alpine, Lamborghini and Isotta Fraschini in the series, as well as potentially an extra car from Cadillac and two from Porsche via its customers.”
Sportscar 365 reports that Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe would be ready to support a customer Lexus RC F GT3 effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year according to TGR-E managing director Rob Leupen, who said it could be a “very interesting option” for the Japanese manufacturer.
“If we are requested, we will definitely support because we want to have Lexus and Toyota in the championships which they would like,” Leupen told Sportscar365. “Therefore, if there is a request on support, we will do [it]. We definitely have engineers who can support them. We know the [Toyota Supra] GT4 car pretty well. We have operated this Lexus RC F [GT3] in the past with several teams in the SRO championship for two years.”
M-Sport intends to continue competing at the World Rally Championship’s highest level and will do “whatever it can to find a way”, according to boss Malcolm Wilson in Autosport. “We will be doing whatever we can to try and find a way to stay in at the highest level,” Wilson told Autosport. “We have a great team of people and we have still got a great car. We have had a dreadful year this year and I don’t know why. I think everyone has these glitches.”
Michelin will submit a bid to become the World Rally Championship’s control tyre supplier from 2025 to 2027, Autosport understands.
“Autosport understands the French firm will submit a proposal before this week’s 15 September deadline. A representative from the manufacturer was in attendance at last weekend’s Acropolis Rally. According to information gathered by Autosport, India’s MRF Tyres is also expected to have made a bid alongside current tyre supplier Pirelli.”
As I mentioned last week, Liberty Media has agreed to purchase Quint Events, an American ticketing and hospitality company which has been involved in running F1 and MotoGP activities for several years. The deal also gives Liberty a foothold in other sports and major events on the hospitality and entertainment side, including NASCAR’s Chicago street race, the NBA, Australian Open tennis and the Kentucky Derby. The deal is valued at $313m.
Comcast Sports Tech reports that NASCAR is doubling down on gaming, AR/VR, and immersive experiences as it builds a fan base for the future. “The motorsports company has notched big wins recently in attracting new fans in a younger target audience, one that is more interested in playing virtual games rather than watch live events.”
Two race car manufacturers have announced expansion plans. Radical Motorsport has expanded into Indonesia at the Mandalika Circuit while Revolution Race Cars have announced the appointment of an exclusive Certified Dealer for Australia and New Zealand.
Hagerty Media talks to Darren Cox, the Nissan executive who invented GT Academy for the real story behind the Gran Turismo movie. “The movie’s biggest-name star is Orlando Bloom, who plays a character based on Darren Cox, the Nissan executive who invented GT Academy. Watching Bloom portray him in a film “was a bit surreal,” the first time he watched it, Cox told Hagerty. “The second time, I was picking out factual inaccuracies, and the third viewing, I just sat back and enjoyed the movie for what it is.””
The second round of the 2023 Supercheap Auto Club Development Fund is now accepting applications. The Club Development Fund is available to Motorsport Australia affiliated clubs and aimed at supporting clubs in their growth and development.
Once again the World Motorsport Symposium Chairmen, Pat Symonds, F1 Chief Technical Officer, and Ulrich Baretzky, Former Director, Audi Motorsport Engine Development, Audi AG, will be at the helm of this year’s World Motorsport Symposium focusing on important issues facing the global motorsport industry.
With sustainability leading the way, this year’s event will be covering hot topical issues such as hydrogen, ultra-low carbon fuels, latest electronic technology, aerodynamics, AI and the future of motorsport in the US, as well as trending future materials across motorsport and much much more…
Delegates at the World Motorsport Symposium – held at The Swiss Embassy in London on 29th November and 30th November 2023 – will be the very first to hear the details in person. Make sure you don’t miss out. Limited availability. More details here.
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Special Indianapolis Livery Honors Hyundai Hope On Wheels Program (IMSA)
- Longtime sponsor DHL confirms Andretti exit (Racer)
- BWT Alpine F1 Team Secures Qatar Airways Deal (SIG)
- WRC Promoter agree merchandising and fan-centric deal with 11teamsports (BlackBook Motorsport)
- AlphaTauri agree to use Seamless Digital dynamic branding from 2024 (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Sunderland AFC co-owners purchase SX Global (BlackBook Motorsport)
- Asencio hopes to drive new partnerships with F1’s Williams Racing team, repeating UFC success (Sports Business Journal)
- NXT Gen Cup starts cooperation with Screenbolaget (NXT Gen Cup)
- Relay Payments and Tyke Durst Announce Partnership (US F4 Championship)
Here is a roundup of the latest team news from around the world of motorsport.
- CarBahn Adds BMW M4 GT4 for Remainder of Year (Sportscar 365)
- PHM Racing rules out competing in Macau’s FIA F3 World Cup (Formula Scout)
- TKM Rebrands as Korthoff Preston Motorsports (Sportscar 365)
- Jota closing on deal to run second Porsche Hypercar in WEC 2024 (Autosport)
- AF Corse to Run Ferrari LMGT3 Entries for Flohr, Mann (Sportscar 365)
- Wojteczko (AWA): Moving To GTD “Made The Most Sense For Us” (Daily Sportscar)
- AiM GT To Enter DTM With Honda (Daily Sportscar)
- Jr III to Exit Top-Level IMSA Racing Amid Glavin’s United Role (Sportscar 365)