Motorsport NZ appoints new summer series promoter

| Photographer Credit: Geoff Ridder

The next New Zealand summer motor racing series, including the 2017 Toyota Racing Series and the 2016-17 BNT Touring Car Championship, will be promoted by a new organisation following a structured tender process conducted by MotorSport New Zealand (MSNZ) in conjunction with the Series Organisers Group (SOG) which comprises representatives of the main race categories.

The successful organisation is Speedworks Events, owned by experienced motorsport sponsorship consultant Geoff Short who has put together a consortium of event management, marketing and media, hospitality and design specialists to deliver the whole motorsport event promotion package specified by MSNZ.

A provisional calendar for the ‘Premier Motorsport’ season will include seven dates built around New Zealand’s two premier motor racing categories, the Toyota Racing Series and the BNT Touring Car Championship.

MSNZ and SOG created an expression of interest document which was widely distributed through the motorsport and business community. On 6 May, a panel from MSNZ, SOG and independent marketing professionals met with three parties who tendered submissions to promote the premier summer motorsport series. The decision to appoint Speedworks Events was made on 13 May.

MSNZ CEO Brian Budd says: “There are a lot of positive initiatives in New Zealand motorsport at present. The progress made in promoting the premier motorsport series over the summer of 2015-16 is one of them – and we’re keen to see next summer’s race series lift another level with the new promoter.

“Our panel was pleased with the comprehensive event management and promotion plan presented by the Speedworks consortium. Geoff Short has put together a capable, experienced team and we look forward to working with them over the months ahead so we can all enjoy a spectacular summer of racing events around the country.”

Under the MSNZ constitution implemented in 2015, the responsibility for promoting New Zealand’s premier motorsport championships is assigned to a suitably-qualified promoter while MSNZ delivers the sporting, technical and regulatory aspects of the championships and race meetings.

Speedworks Events’ managing director Geoff Short says: “There was a lot of good work done last season to bring New Zealand motorsport back together, particularly with the New Zealand V8 Touring Cars. A stable calendar will have a really positive effect on categories and on spectator numbers through the gate. Speedworks Events will aim to take this to the next level.”

Short has enlisted the services of event managers Gary Lathrope and Rachel Murray, who are also contracted to Australian Supercars to manage the Pukekohe round of their championship. Known for his work with the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing and a number of race categories, Richard Gee will liaise with the classes racing in the summer series and also takes responsibility for media, marketing and communications. The team will be supported by Mareet Carley for hospitality and business development and Rob Scrimgeour from Design Cloud.

“It’s no coincidence that our team is an active motorsport group and, by adding Mareet and Rob, we have a new dimension to the corporate side, an area we want to focus on,” Short says. “Collectively our team offers vast expertise of the sport and a great mix of relevant skills and knowledge.”

Short adds: “There’s lots of work to do but we believe our proposed strategy is a positive way forward for the sport. Everyone is aware that costs within the sport have risen but our major priority is to make racing accessible to a wider range of Kiwi competitors. We believe we have the financial formula to make this work.

“We also believe motorsport can once again become attractive and fashionable for New Zealand corporates as a marketing tool – it still has many unique qualities which no other sport can offer and we intend to make the most of those.

“Engaging the fans and bringing them back in significant numbers will be the biggest challenge, but our plans for the show should ensure they will see non-stop action and variety and that they’ll come to know the sport, once again, as a great value for money day out for the family.”

A provisional calendar – which will be confirmed along with classes as soon as possible – will include seven dates that will be built around the country’s premier categories – the Toyota Racing Series and the BNT Touring Car Championship. There will be two South Island dates included in the calendar. Speedworks Events will liaise with other categories to secure the best available for the calendar dates. Short says an eighth event is also possible if there is enough interest from racing classes.

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