V8 Supercars using Australian Formula One Grand Prix to go global - SUV VEHICLE

V8 Supercars using Australian Formula One Grand Prix to go global

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The Australian Supercars series is using its support billing at the Australian Grand Prix as a template for more international races.

V8 Supercars is pushing for international expansion following the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, looking to capitalise on the larger following of F1, attributed to the Netflix series Drive to Survive.

Record crowds attended Albert Park over the four-day event, where F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Supercars presenter and five-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Garth Tander, that F1 is working with Supercars on the Australian category racing at overseas events.

“We are working to make sure this could be possible in certain grands prix,” Domenicali said during the live broadcast.

“So for all the fans of Supercars, stay tuned – that’s what I can say.”

As part of an ‘international expansion’ announced in 2022, Supercars publicly confirmed it was hoping to race at the 2024 Singapore Grand Prix, scheduled for 20-22 September, where it would somewhat replicate the supporting role it plays at the Australian Grand Prix.

However, rising freight costs and repeatedly delayed introduction of new ‘Gen3’ cars saw that plan paused – yet Domenicali’s comments clearly show such plans are back on the table.

Drive has asked Supercars for comment but is yet to receive an official response.

The category has previously raced in China, Abu Dhabi and the United States – with a ‘demonstration round’ in Malaysia in 2015 – but in 2023 did not hold a race outside Australia.

Supercars didn’t even make it across the Tasman last season despite six of its last eight championships being won by drivers from New Zealand – in Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen.

While it returns to New Zealand for the next round of the championship – its first event at Taupo – there has been criticism of not enough events on the calendar, with 12 in total for 2024.

In contrast, F1 has faced criticism for too many races with a record 24 scheduled for this season.

International races at grands prix could be a way to hold more Supercars races more often. “I think we definitely need to be at the [Australian] Grand Prix,” said Walkinshaw Andretti, United’s Ryan Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw is part-owner of the Walkinshaw Andretti United Supercars team, tied in with the McLaren F1 team for which Melbourne-raised Oscar Piastri drove to fourth in yesterday’s Grand Prix.

“I think there’s opportunity there [to race overseas],” Walkinshaw told Drive.

“I think we’ve got a great product; I think now that we’re Camaro and Mustang – as opposed to a Commodore and Falcon – it has more international relevance.”

“We’ve been talking about Singapore for a decade so no surprise, you mentioned that, but there are lots of other F1 races in an Australian sort-of-friendly time zone that we can work around.”

The 2024 F1 calendar made more provision for time zones – in a bid to reduce crisscrossing around the globe – with the Australian Grand Prix followed by F1 races in Japan and China.

The Japanese Grand Prix has traditionally taken place in October, often on the same weekend as the Bathurst 1000 Supercars event.

While previous races overseas have been stand-alone Supercars events, being part of a grand prix weekend makes more sense and presents better opportunities, said Walkinshaw.

“The biggest issue you have with us trying to do a stand-alone Supercar event internationally is the amount of effort required into marketing – it’s going to be very, very difficult.

“So I think absolutely the right approach is to support F1, again, done in the right way where we can showcase ourselves the best we can, and then from there that’s how you start building a fan base over a period of time.

“Teaming up with F1 to do some of those events is a great way to test the water to see if Supercars does resonate with local motorsport fans in different countries.”

Jamie Whincup, Team Principal of championship leaders Red Bull Ampol Racing, told Drive any international expansion must be made with caution.

“To be honest, my real focus is growing the sport nationally,” Whincup, who is also a seven-times Supercars champion, said.

“Making sure every event we go to nationally and locally – I’m talking Australia and New Zealand – is a sell-out; so making sure we’ve got a really good product and really good events.

“Once we do that really, really well, then absolutely – spread out to the international fans – but certainly don’t put the cart before the horse.”

The post V8 Supercars using Australian Formula One Grand Prix to go global appeared first on Drive.

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