MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) has confirmed a long-term contract with Speed Works Events as the promoter of the premier race championships which take place each New Zealand summer at race circuits around the country.
MSNZ owns the commercial rights to the top-tier motor racing championships, and in conjunction with the Series Organisers Group* (SOG), MSNZ delegates these commercial rights to a promoter to run the championship categories and events through a formal expression of interest process.
In May last year, Speed Works Events, owned by experienced motorsport sponsorship consultant Geoff Short, secured a one-year contract as the premier race championships promoter. With a consortium of event management, marketing and media, hospitality and design specialists, Short has delivered six of an eight-round series taking the race championships to Taupo twice, Christchurch, Invercargill, Hampton Downs and Feilding over recent months. The seventh round takes place this weekend, 11-12 March, at Hampton Downs and the final event is at Pukekohe Park on 1-2 April.
A panel comprising representatives from MSNZ, SOG and an independent marketer assessed the expressions of interest and agreed to continue with Speed Works Events, which must continue to deliver on key performance measures such as their marketing strategy, business plan, securing of sponsors, event logistics and operational management.
MSNZ president Wayne Christie says: “We are very pleased with how Speed Works performed as the promoter of our premier race championships during their first year. Competitor numbers were strong, the array of championship and support classes provided excellent racing and spectator numbers increased at every circuit. There was a professional feel to the events and how they were marketed. On the operational side, there was a necessary improvement to health and safety regulations to look after our competitors, volunteers and officials. Speed Works also revitalised the corporate hospitality aspects and worked hard to involve more sponsors in the sport.
“We look forward to working more closely with Geoff Short and his team to achieve positive results and growth for motor racing in New Zealand, with race classes that appeal to competitors and the creation of robust event marketing and publicity that engages with and attracts motorsport fans to attend the events.”
Christie says there’s been good feedback from competitors about the positive vibe at the six Speed Works-run events to date. “Also, our race management team has commented positively about the events’ organisation.”
Short says: “I think we’ve made very good progress with our goals as the race championship promoter. A highlight of the season was the round at Mike Pero Motorsport Park in Christchurch, which attracted a record crowd for a number of years there, but we’ve have been pretty good success at all of the rounds.
“The feeling around the motorsport community has been generally very positive; everyone’s been prepared to work together for the betterment of the sport. I think we’ve shown, with our team, that we’ve delivered good events with great racing and timetables that keep plenty of action on the track for spectators.”
Short aims to continue building on the gains made over the 2016-17 race season. “We aim to confirm the 2017-18 calendar to competitors by the end of April, so that gives them plenty of time to plan and prepare for next season. We’re working with local bodies and communities to get more involved in these events. A premier race meeting brings a lot of people into a region – 180-200 competitors and each competitor has a team of four to five people, so that’s a lot of bed-nights. The young international stars contesting the Toyota Racing Series bring their own social media chatter, and with the TRS currently broadcast in 48 countries, it’s another way that New Zealand is highlighted on the world scene.”
Short adds that a formal debrief is planned at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. “We look forward to working through all aspects of the summer race series with MotorSport New Zealand so we can all develop and improve for future seasons which will, in turn, benefit the sport as a whole.”
Short will also soon bring together a group of respected motorsport colleagues to help come up with ideas to continue rebuilding circuit racing in New Zealand, particularly at the premier level.
The present race championship categories are: NZ Touring Cars, Toyota Racing Series, Toyota 86, NZ V8 Utes,
NZ F1600 (formerly NZ Formula Ford), Formula First, Porsche and Super Trucks.
Short has already fielded several communications from individual race category organisers seeking to be part of next season’s calendar.
“With a five-year plan, we’ve got the confidence to go and talk with sponsors about long-term partnerships – we’re straight into working really hard on this.”
The 2017-18 calendar will include seven or eight dates built around the country’s premier categories – the Toyota Racing Series and the BNT NZ Touring Car Championship – and will include two South Island dates.