The racing portfolio of McLaren is large and this week in the Business of Motorsport, you will find out why they race.
In addition to that, you will understand why Porsche is not in F1, the ever-increasing Saudi Arabian investment in motorsport, the creative vision behind the director of Drive to Survive, why IndyCar is looking to race in Argentina and more.
Add to this the latest motorsport sponsorship deals and partnerships, the commercial success of Aston Martin racing, Ferrari gets hacked and much more.
All this week in the Business of Motorsport on Motorsport Prospects. Its business news racers can use.
Motorsport Industry News
Porsche have ruled out an F1 entry in 2026 after coming tantalizingly close to entering the series with Red Bull. “Now, with options few and far between, Porsche will have to shelve its plans to join Formula One, at least in the medium term. The reason 2026 is such a major point of focus for potential new entrants is the engine regulation change set for that season.”
IF you are wondering why the deal with Red Bull collapsed, The Race explains why Porsche couldn’t command an F1 entry on its own terms. “But Porsche made it clear that it wanted control. A glorified sponsorship deal would not cut it. So, any team would almost certainly need to hand over influence. For Red Bull this meant giving up 50% of its main F1 operation. For McLaren as an example, it probably meant (among other things) losing the name. Giving up strategic independence, sacrificing heritage – none of this appealed. Or rather, none of this was what Porsche was able to offer in return.”
Interestingly, one of the potential new teams that could join F1 in 2026 would feature a partnership between BAR founder and Jacques Villeneuve manager Craig Pollock and Saudi Arabia investment and the team would feature a 50/50 gender split. Racing News365 has all the details.
Staying with Saudi Arabia, while the Kingdom has dismissed their reported bid of $20m for F1’s commercial rights as purely speculation, they have stated that they would be open to eventually hosting two Grands Prix in Jeddah and Qiddiya. “Saudi Arabia is a very big market, we have a strong economy,” he said. “The idea of having two races in Saudi is doable. F1 is growing, there is a lot of demand here and because Saudi is big, the regions are so far away, it’s like the States.”
In other potential Grand Prix hosting news, while the focus for an F1 race in Africa has been on South Africa, in Joe Saward’s latest Green Notebook, he hears whispers that Rwanda could be in the mix.
Autosport Plus looks at the the enormous job facing F1 for its Vegas gamble to pay off. “If you thought hosting a grand prix on the streets of the world’s gambling capital would be impossible, prepare to think again. The grandees of Las Vegas can make anything happen – and, as the race promoter reveals to Oleg Karpov, the magic starts now.”
A new tender for tires has been issued by the FIA for Formula 1 and Pirelli have stated they are interested. “The framework described by the FIA is closely aligned to Pirelli’s motorsport strategy and so is of great interest, with the Italian company having been Global Tyre Partner to the sport for more than a decade, since 2011,” Pirelli said. “A definitive decision about Pirelli’s participation in the selection process will naturally be taken after a detailed examination of the FIA’s document.”
The Profile interviews Drive to Survive Director Martin Webb on his creative process, interview techniques, and the importance of compelling storytelling. “Formula 1 was interesting. When Season 1 first came out, no one would talk to us. When we walked back into the paddock for Season 2, everybody in the show was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ [Drivers and team principals] weren’t aware of how they looked, while the rest of the world loved it. Gradually they were like, ‘Okay, we get this now.’ More and more people soon came on board.”
General Motorsport Industry News
Ricardo Juncos is flying the Argentinian flag proudly as he recently organized a contingent of IndyCar officials to visit the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo circuit to tour the property and evaluate the possibility of holding a future IndyCar race at the facility. “This has been a big, big dream to make happen for me in Argentina,” Juncos told RACER. “The fans, there are so many people who want to have IndyCar here and if this is something that we could make happen with the sponsors and everything we need for support, I believe it will be an amazing opportunity.”
Ferrari has ruled out any decision on an expansion of its 499P Le Mans Hypercar program into the IMSA SportsCar Championship in 2024 before the summer. “The future in IMSA is not an subject for this moment,” Antonello Coletta, Ferrari’s sportscar racing boss said. “IMSA is an important championship that will probably be taken into consideration. But the WEC is the most important championship and we prefer to go step by step, in 2023 just WEC and in 2024 we will see.”
In other Ferrari news, the company has been targeted by hackers with a ransom demand for their customer data. Ferrari says they will not pay. “In line with its corporate policy, Ferrari will not accept any ransom demands as agreeing to such demands would finance criminal activities and allow the perpetrators of the threats to perpetuate their attacks,” a Ferrari statement read, as per Sky Sport Italy.
Porsche Penske Motorsport’s third entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been characterized as “a stretch” in resources and logistics by Porsche’s factory LMDh director Urs Kuratle, who in turn expressed confidence in executing the expanded effort. “If you compete and if you are going to Le Mans, the more cars you have, the better you are off,” Kuratle told Sportscar365. “We were careful by deciding this because we were not quite sure how we could manage it in terms of the parts, the delivery situation, all these things. Once we were confident we could do it… It’s still a stretch for us to do it but now we are confident we can achieve it.”
Sportico looks at how warming winters have driven ice racing towards extinction. “Within about 15 years, it’s just going to be something we tell our kids about,” former Sports Car Club of Vermont president Paul Dudley said.
In the video above, RACER’s Marshall Pruett walks and talks with IMSA President John Doonan as they discuss the opening round of the series at Daytona, the Meyer Shank Racing penalty, and more at Round 2 of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Sebring.
V8 Sleuth tells the story of how an S5000 car ended up in the US and the chances that the Australian race car could be bound for international markets.
Chevrolet has announced that they are discontinuing the Camaro in 2024, possibly to be replaced with an EV version. “Chevrolet’s products and our relationship with our customers benefit from motorsports,” Chevrolet U.S. vice president of motorsport Jim Campbell stated. “Our plan is to continue to compete and win at the highest levels of auto racing.”
Radical Motorsport has announced the appointment of Graham Rahal Performance as its new official dealer in Indianapolis, USA. Owned by NTT INDYCAR Series driver Graham Rahal, Radical USA Indianapolis will operate out of Graham Rahal Performance, in their state-of-the-art facility in Brownsburg, on the outskirts of Indianapolis. First opened in 2017 on the foundations of Graham Rahal’s passion and love for vehicles of all kinds, their state-of-the-art facility now offers a variety of services for any vehicle across Indiana and Ohio. The appointment of GRP as Radical USA Indianapolis builds on the last few years of success and is a well-deserved addition to the strong North American Radical market.
At the recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Invest Saudi took part in 14 deals with various sports entities with two increasing their commitment to motorsport. They are:
- Sportscar manufacturer BAC Cars and VeloceLife to launch a leading manufacturing facility of BAC sports cars in Saudi Arabia.
- Meritus Formula4 to explore the activation of the Formula 4 academies and hosting championships in Saudi Arabia.
Audi Sport explains both their performance brand as well as their competitive motorsport portfolio. “High performance is the core idea not only behind all of the products of Audi Sport GmbH, but behind everything Audi Sport does. “That is what drives us,” says Rolf Michl, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and Head of Audi Motorsport. And the drive is an important keyword when it comes to Audi Sport vehicles: no matter whether there is an internal combustion engine or an electric motor under the hood, all R and RS models from Audi Sport are breathtaking, dynamic and full of character. They deliver top performance wherever and whenever desired, but also ensure relaxed confidence on long journeys. And that is important because many Audi RS drivers use their cars for business travel or shopping trips on a daily basis.”
The Auto Club Speedway track naming rights deal with the American Automobile Association (AAA) ended after over fifteen years. “A new name has not been revealed, though the working identity of “Next Gen California” is now used on the track’s social media accounts while a page on NASCAR’s website, to which Auto Club Speedway’s website now redirects, refers to it as a “Next Gen NASCAR short track”.
A teaser promotional video for the upcoming original anime HIGHSPEED Étoile was released last week. It is a collaboration between the Super Formula Championship and HSE creators King Amusement, Good Smile Company, and Yostar. Various entities including series partners will appear in the show as sponsors on cars and driver firesuits. You can watch the teaser above.
A Polaris Factory Racing off-road super team has been announced. “By all measures, this is much more than a factory-supported race program. Polaris is aiming for big wins in off-road desert racing’s premier events. To do that, it appears they have made a massive investment to build an entity capable of delivering. A fully curated factory program that features an elite management team, crew chiefs, mechanics, and proven driving talent.”
Motorsport Sponsorship & Partnership News
Here are the latest motorsport sponsorship deals, partnerships and related analysis that were announced this week.
- Team HARD. Racing Extend Partnership with Solley’s Kentish Ice Cream
- ROWE Brings Performance Dedication and Sustainable Efforts to SRO America
- Motocross renews supplier deal with Athena
- World RX pens deal with Multitude
- McLaren F1 inks sponsorship with Salesforce
- Shell Extends MotoGP Participation
- Extreme E Unveils Sustainability Partner
- High Rock Expands Partnership with JR Motorsports, Returns to the No. 8 Chevrolet for 2023
- Shell, partner of the Ferrari Hypercar programme
- Motorsport Network is delighted to have partnered with LIQUI MOLY for the 3rd consecutive year, as it expands MotoGP coverage
- British Superbikes expands Ebay partnership
- MotoGP 2023 commercial guide: Every team, every sponsor, all the major TV deals
- F1 announces Hard Rock as presenting partner of Las Vegas GP
- Formula 1 to support research charity Race Against Dementia
- MotoGP signs Estrella Galicia 0,0 as global beer partner
- Nascar names McDonald’s as first founding partner of Chicago Street Race
- Designed for success: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake kicks off the new season in style with WEB Eyewear
- Enel X Way Remains MotoE’s Official Charging Infrastructure Provider
- Alfa Romeo F1 team extend metaverse partnership with Everdome
The Business of Running a Race Team
After 18 months of intense preparation and hard work, the BMW M Hybrid V8 celebrated its race debut at the 2023 Daytona 24 Hours. The premiere of the first BMW M Motorsport race car with a hybrid powertrain became an emotional rollercoaster ride. The video above captures a story of excitement, big moments, setbacks and fighting spirit.
Aston Martin has been a revelation in the first two races of the F1 season through a combination of off-track and on-track success. Here are to articles that cover both.
- How Aston Martin Is Shaking Up the F1 Power Structure
- How commercial success has fuelled Aston Martin’s on-track F1 speed
Men’s Journal have an excellent feature on NASCAR team owner Matt Kaulig who believes that drive can make any dream go the distance. “Kaulig knew he could be at the helm of something great in motorsports. He spent time in the garage, met the other owners, and started to understand how things worked. “Being entrepreneurial, I looked around and was like, ‘Well, I think I can do this myself,’ ” he recalls.”
McLaren has endured a rough few years in F1 lately so that it was no surprise when they announced major organizational changes. While Chris Medland explains why McLaren wanted an overhaul, Dominik Wilde explains why the company is all-in on electric racing. “If you take a look at the portfolio — with Formula 1, with IndyCar, with Formula E, Extreme E, and Esports as well — it presents this unique proposition for McLaren as a brand. The thing I personally find really exciting about it is that McLaren doesn’t exist for any other purpose than to go racing — that’s our focus 100% — and as long as the series in which we’re racing adds value to that whole portfolio then it makes perfect sense.”
McElrea Racing is aiming to replicate its Australian pedigree in the U.S. as the latest high-profile team to join Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America. The three-time Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship-winning squad, which has amassed a total of 14 major titles in the region, has expanded Stateside with an initial two-car entry in Carrera Cup North America.
“The Carrera Cup rules are something we’re very familiar with and we’ve had success with in Australia. So we figured it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to try and duplicate what we’ve been doing in Australia here in the U.S. It’s a big place and there’s a lot of opportunity here so we definitely wanted to see if we could have similar levels of success.”
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG), the Hypercar manufacturer and global investment bank Stout have partnered to support multiple non-profit organizations during the World Endurance Championship (WEC) season. With SCG starting in each race, the selected organization will benefit from both partners’ media presence and network and receive a cash contribution for their cause. In addition, after each race, this unique art piece, made from an authentic part of the SCG Hypercar, will be signed and auctioned, with proceeds going to benefit the organization.
While this is not directly related to motorsport, it is fascinating none the less. An expansion franchise in SailGP, the three-season old Larry Ellison-led boat racing league, is seeking to raise $35 million in a tokenized fan offering that launched this month. “The new, to-be-named team will be the 10th in the catamaran circuit, representing the Caribbean and Bermuda. The raise should be enough to both pay a $15 million expansion fee to the league and fund racing operations for its first two seasons. The man leading the effort also believes its structure can serve as a template for established leagues to increase liquidity for limited partners and perhaps lower the threshold for new minority owners to buy in.”
Motorsport author Hazel Southwell is writing a book about motorsport junior series, from grassroots and karting to top single seaters, why some drivers make it – and what happens to the ones that don’t.
“It will be interview-based and it’s about telling the story of what it takes to even get a foot on the ladder. why junior series are so important and where they came from (and where they could go in the future) – I’m setting up interviews & I’m always interested in doing more. I’d like to speak to anyone connected to junior careers; drivers, tracks, teams, managers, sponsors, parents, etc I definitely want to speak to people who started up the pathway and then found it took them to a different place. the stories that aren’t always told.”
You can contact Hazel directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is looking to speak to people in the next month or so.
Motorsport Movers & Shakers
Former Williams Team Principal Claire Williams explains how she challenged imposter syndrome in her career. “As women, we have this inherent train of thought where we think we’re not good enough or we don’t deserve to be somewhere. It’s typical imposter syndrome and something I absolutely suffered with. Women, particularly in motorsport, are typically surrounded by more men than women, and that environment can, inevitably, make our confidence shaky at times.”