This week’s Business of Motorsport is packed with news and views from around the world of motorsport. This week’s edition features everything from how Ducati is using their experience in developing their MotoE bike to contribute to the design of their production bikes, whether F1’s popularity will make it more attractive to sports bettors, and the importance of community relations to track owners. All this plus the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, how racing teams are dealing with cross-border logistics, the value of racing to a brand, the cost of drag racing fuels and much more. Business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
- Blackbook Motorsport has also announced the agenda for their upcoming Blackbook Motorsport Forum set to take place on August 11th. “The BlackBook Motorsport Forum is the flagship business event for stakeholders in global motorsport. Join us at the only B2B industry event bringing racing promoters, teams, circuits, brands, OEMs and key services together to discuss the new era of motorsport. The 8th edition of the Forum combines insightful sessions and masterclasses from our industry-leading experts with dedicated networking opportunities, connecting you to the best people and knowledge to drive change.” You can get more information and book your place at the Forum here.
- It is rumored that Saudi Arabia is set to buy a $243-Million stake in Aston Martin. “Autocar late on Wednesday also reported the Gaydon-based carmaker was seeking to raise funds, saying there were two leading contenders, including one linked to the Saudi fund and another to an investment fund based in the United States.”
- The November 2023 return of Formula 1 will be what Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, described as “the most difficult kind of event we could think about putting on.” He explains to Front Office Sports why.
- Is F1 the next driving force for betting engagement? Ross Fruin of GridRival thinks so. “The incredible rise of Formula 1 under the stewardship of Liberty Media is a case study in the successful revival of a brand. The targeted manner in which they have sought a younger audience also speaks to a robust and long-term market for bookmakers.”
- MotoMatters looks at Ducati’s MotoE launch and the role of racing as a tool of R&D. “Perhaps the most prominent characteristic of the V21L, Ducati’s MotoE bike, is that it is a prototype built from the ground up, with a view to using the lessons learned by designing and racing it in the production of an electric sports bike at some point in the future. It is rather ironic that a bike built for a spec racing series so perfectly embodies one of the reasons manufacturers go racing: to learn lessons and transfer technologies to the production machines.”
- Ducati R&D Boss Vincenzo De Silvio also explains to MotoMatters that there is some technology transfer from Ducati’s MotoE project into their production bikes.
- With the Mazda MX-5 Cup running at a NASCAR event for the first time, it is drawing NASCAR crossover interest. “In a lot of ways, the MX-5 Cup car philosophy aligns exactly with what the Next Gen car is all about,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “This cost-effective platform that level-sets for whatever the team size is. There’s a one-car team that have won the championship twice. That’s the philosophy that MX-5 has.”
- Continuing professional development (CPD) is key in any industry and motorsport is no exception. The UK’s National Motorsport Academy explains why in CPD in Motorsport. “CPD is critical to the motorsport industry’s future – in technological terms as well as for the advancement of governance, ethics and sustainability, all of which will futureproof the sport. Can any of us truly say that we know as much as we need to know to complete our job function to the absolute best of our capability? Chances are it’s a long time since you got your last qualification and despite what you learn on the job, changes in any business are inevitable. But are you keeping up? Are your skills going to stop the next generation from snapping at your heels and overtaking you on the career ladder? CPD helps you to keep your industry knowledge up-to-date and advance your skills without having to return to college or university full time. Continuing Professional Development courses are often small bite-sized chunks which allow you to hone the skills that you want to develop, rather than study a course which may end up going over things you’re already proficient at.”
- PRI Magazine takes a look at the importance of community relations for track owners. “That last part, community relations, may be the biggest ongoing challenge. Race tracks are noisy and draw traffic, and thus are easy targets for activists of all stripes. Even if the complainers are a distinct minority, they often have outsize influence among the local political class and on social media.”
- Motorsport Australia affiliated clubs have another opportunity to claim a financial boost with the second round of the Supercheap Auto Club Development Fund now open. Targeted at supporting the growth and development of clubs and the motorsport industry, the Supercheap Auto supported program has delivered grants of more than $100,000 through Motorsport Australia in recent years. Click here to apply.
- Formula One has announced the Formula 1 Exhibition, an immersive storytelling experience that tells the “extraordinary story of motorsport’s greatest spectacle.”
- Formula One has also extended its licensing agreement with The Memento Group (TMG), the UK-based sports licensing, retail and memorabilia business, until the end of the 2025 season. “The extension sees TMG retain its licence to sell authentic, certified and licensed Formula One memorabilia from current teams, with the contract now including the right to sell ex-Formula One race cars, as well as show cars.”
- Macon, Illinois-based Track Enterprises has reached an agreement to acquire the regional ARCA Midwest Tour Super Late Model series at the end of the 2022 season, as announced by Track Enterprises President Bob Sargent and ARCA’s Gregg McKarns. “As the asphalt Super Late Model landscape continues to change, we look forward to where the Track Enterprises team can take the Tour. This will allow [my wife] Angie and I to still promote numerous Super Late Model events throughout the region, while streamlining other operational aspects involved in Super Late Model racing across the nation,” said McKarns.
- Silverstone has agreed to a five-year partnership with Secutix, the cloud-based events platform, to manage ticket sales for all of the UK-based motorsport venue’s events, including Formula One’s British Grand Prix. “As Silverstone’s ticketing technology partner, Secutix’s S-360 solution will help bring together the venue’s different revenue streams, sales channels and products under one platform as part of a wider digital transformation happening across the business.”
- Finally, Michael Andretti is not giving up on his F1 team plans but he has admitted that he is swimming with sharks. “I pretty much knew what we were getting into here. You’re swimming with the sharks. So, you better make sure you have your harpoon on you. I’m not naive about that.”
Motorsport Sponsorship News
- The Aston Martin F1 team has announced a new partnership with BOSS. “Starting next year, the German manufacturer will design and develop looks for the AMF1 team – including formal apparel for its race drivers and a range of high-performance race and travel wear for the entire team.”
- Extreme E has announced that it will renew its partnership with Italian wine producer Fantinel for the remainder of the 2022 season. A winning collaboration also according to Marco Fantinel, Fantinel Winery CEO: “We admire Extreme E’s values echoing a better and more eco-sustainable world. The same values that our company pursues with strength and determination”.
- In other wine news, Italian brand Ferrari Trento will continue to supply Formula 1 its sparkling wine for podium celebrations until 2025.
- If you were curious about the makeup of a sports marketing agency with a focus on motorsport, Sport Dimensions explains how they are set up. “We believe in a diverse approach to success and that comes from richly talented people collaborating toward common objectives. SD has grown strategically over the last 25 years to bring together expertise from all the major stakeholders of motorsports business. No matter what your objectives are with your sponsorship program, our team has the insight to execute by speaking your language.”
The Business of Running a Race Team
- Longtime Road to Indy team Cape Motorsports has announced that it has purchased two new Dallara IL-15 chassis with plans to contest the 2023 Indy Lights season. “We moved to Indianapolis a few years ago in order to move into Indy Lights,” said Dominic and Nicholas Cape in the statement announcing the move. “It was part of our plan from the outset, it just got pushed back a couple of years. Indianapolis has such a racing culture but more than that, so many of the other teams and suppliers are based here.”
- Blackbook Motorsport reports that the CortDAO W Series team has launched 10,000 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to secure additional investment. “CortDAO said the launch forms part of new ways to involve the Web 3.0 community in its crowdfunding ventures, as well as engage with corporate sponsors. A third of the proceeds from the NFT initiative will go towards sponsorship of the team, with the remaining amount being invested in the all-female single seater W Series. CortDAO is looking to raise UK£1 million (US$1.2 million) in the initial NFT release.”
- Across the pond, Van Amersfoort Racing has quit the Euroformula Championship with immediate effect. “It was not an easy decision to make, but we no longer see room for our team, nor our drivers to further develop towards the goals set for participating in this championship,” said VAR CEO Rob Niessink.
- Shell has extended its title partnership with Hyundai Motorsport, continuing as the technical partner for its World Rally Championship (WRC) outfit for another three years.
- Sportscar 365 reports that a move into the GTP class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Porsche’s 963 is on Pfaff Motorsports’ radar according to team manager Steve Bortolotti, although the Canadian squad is currently taking a wait-and-see approach to ultimately determine the car’s running costs. “It’s a desire of ours to compete in an LMDh someday; it’s just a matter of understanding the finances and making sure whatever budget we set is accurate,” Bortolotti told Sportscar365.
- And why is Pfaff considering the move to GTP? Because they see value in racing as they explain to Stephanie Wallcraft in five reasons why Pfaff sees value in going racing. “Laurance Yap, creative director for Pfaff Automotive Partners and all-around racing advocate, says he’s identified no fewer than five ways that Pfaff’s involvement in motorsport has helped it in its day-to-day operations.”
- Zak Brown has indicated that McLaren’s Formula E program will not impact their decision to race in LMDh/GTP. “Conversations on doing LMDh/GTP are very active,” Brown said. “The interest is very high. It’s more a question of when than if. So that’s not a ‘yes,’ and there’s nothing definitive on our doing it, yet, but it’s trending in the right direction.”
- German racing team Project 1 is gearing itself up for a future involvement in the GT3 category by ordering two new Type-992 Porsche 911 GT3 Rs ahead of the car’s debut next year according to Sportscar 365. “The organization plans to learn more about the GT3 product next year before working on customer deals to field both cars in the 2024 WEC season.”
- Beth Paretta explains to Forbes why they skipped the Indy 500 for Mid-Ohio and two other races in 2022. “Paretta believes three races will give her team more experience that will be valuable when the day comes that BPA can add more races to its schedule.”
- If you are curious about how the IMSA teams moved from Watkins Glen in the United States to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Canada with back to back races, Racer looks at how Meyer-Shank Racing worked it all out in Cross-border logistics: Moving the IMSA circus. “It started probably three months ago, at least, just with paperwork just to get the team across the border,” explained Mike Shank, principal of Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian. “Also dealing with the COVID situation, which is pretty fluid, although a little more settled today. But leading up to that … who’s vaccinated, who’s not; what do we need to do? Then what does the new paperwork look like to get two tractor trailers and all the people through. And then we ultimately have to think about, ‘Hey, we’ll come into an endurance race, going into a sprint race…’ We take a normal allotment of spares, but then we need to take another 30 percent, just in case something happens. So it’s a lot of load details, logistic details and parts manager details.”
- As AutoWeek explains, be glad you’re not buying fuel for an NHRA car. “NHRA teams pay $1800 for a 40-gallon drum of nitromethane, so they’re paying $45 a gallon—and that’s a group discount negotiated for the entire racing season. Every single run consumes 14 gallons of fuel to run wide-open throttle for 1000 feet, costing about $600 (10% of the fuel is alcohol, which is less expensive).Factoring in costs for fuel, crew mechanics, parts, and transportation, every single run costs an NHRA team about $5000, champion racer Matt Hagan said.”
- Daily Sportscar chatted with Senior VP of Stellantis Motorsport Jean-Marc Finot who has the overall responsibility for sporting programs across all of the conglomerate’s 14 brands worldwide. “So we are working on all of these to show that the monetary investment is strong, that the competitiveness of the car and the efficiency of our investment is protecting the sustainability of motorsports. Everybody in the team is conscious that as long as we have good effectiveness, motorsport is sustainable.”
Movers & Shakers
- Nic Moncher has joined Hoosier Racing Tire as their new head of marketing. “Nic will be responsible for developing business plans that support the company’s strategic targets, supporting sales concepts and expanding promotional marketing strategies to drive growth. In addition, he will help with overall brand development and strengthening of the brand in the global marketplace.”
- Ben Jones is an idea man, and together with his wife Donna, they have an idea that will help veterans cope with the many issues they are facing by getting them into a race car but they need help to make that happen. Through a supporter, they were donated rights to the old Graber car company who produced the La Bala (Spanish for bullet) racing car (see photo above). Their 501c3 company Racing Dreamz now own the rights to the car and have renamed it the Uforia. Their idea is to produce the car and make it available to veterans to race on a 1700+ acres purpose-built racetrack. To make this dream a reality, Ben and Donna, together with their company, are looking for investors to enable it to purchase the track and build out the infrastructure as well as the cars. They are also open to converting one or both properties into a for-profit entity with the a portion of the profits going to support their cause. The company is a partner with Candid/GuideStar, the non-profit reporting agency with a Platinum rating. Full details can be found at the Racing Dreamz website http://www.racingdreamz.org/.