Major structural changes are taking place behind the scenes of the V8 Ute Racing Series in a bid to ensure the category will continue in 2016.
Australian V8 Ute Racing Pty Ltd, which represents the category’s 16 Ford and 16 Holden shareholders, is set to be voluntarily wound up, with the Category Management Agreement handed back to CAMS.
The dramatic move has been made following requests from shareholders to be released from the obligation to field their entry at every round of the series.
CAMS and the V8 Ute Racing Board are now looking to find another company willing to take over the CMA, which the parties hope can continue without the franchise model.
In a statement, Australian V8 Ute chairman Peter Henry blamed a tightened commercial market for the situation.
The future of the category has been a hot topic in recent years, with a purpose-built Sports Utility Vehicle platform floated to take over from the current Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore based vehicles.
A technical alliance with V8 Supercars was announced in March, but has not resulted in a clear future direction for the series.
“The success of the category over the past 12 years has been the fact that all shareholders have been prepared to compete at every round, and therefore underwrite the company’s financial viability over an eight round series,” said Henry.
“The commercial market has tightened significantly over the past 18 months, it’s clear that not all 32 shareholders are in a financial position to compete in 2016 and a number have asked to be released from their current obligation.
“The only way we can release shareholders from the company structure and the obligation to compete at every round is to effectively voluntarily wind up the current structure.”
The statement stressed hope that the series will kick-off as planned next month with a new organisational structure.
“The Board has been engaged in positive discussions for the series to continue with an organisation that would see the current competitors on the grid at the Clipsal 500 in the first week of March, and to continue to race on the V8 Supercar programme with television for the remainder of the 2016 season,” it read.
CAMS CEO Eugene Arocca has pledged to work with the parties involved in order to find a future for the category.
“We would like to acknowledge the hard work of Peter Henry and his Board at Australian V8 Ute Racing Pty Ltd for supporting such a wonderful category for many years,” Arocca said.
“We also wish to thank SPHERIX (category promoters) for the professional manner in which they managed the category.
“V8 Ute Racing is a popular and important category and CAMS will continue to work with Australian V8 Ute Racing and other relevant parties to ensure it remains so into the future.”
Henry also paid tribute to SPHERIX, which had managed the business since the category started in 2001.
“The Board would like to acknowledge the long term efforts of Craig Denyer and Bill West from SPHERIX in delivering one of the most professional support categories in Australian Motor Racing, and who have managed the series very successfully on behalf of the Board for the past 12 years.” Henry said.
“I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Kim Jane, Andrew Miedecke, Andrew Eglinton and Andrew Fisher, all who have contributed significant personal time as Board members of Australian V8 Ute Racing and guided its direction and strategy, plus the many competitors, commercial partners and fans that have supported the series along the way.
“We are sure the series will remain a fan favourite for many years to come.”