Supercars to continue Singapore talks at AGP
Supercars is set to resume talks regarding a push into the Asian market with the possibility of featuring on the Singapore Grand Prix bill.
New Supercars CEO Sean Seamer is due to meet Formula 1 owners Liberty Media at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park (March 22-25) to further discussions.
The championship has signed five memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreements with potential venues in Asia, which was part of a move to expand into the region under former CEO James Warburton.
A chance to join the Singapore Grand Prix emerged last year after Supercars secured a deal with Formula 1 management to transform its appearance at the Australian Grand Prix into a full championship event from this year.
Seamer, who officially started his role at Supercars last weekend, explained to Speedcafe.com that Asia and Singapore remains high on the agenda for the category, with a multi-year deal the desired option.
“Look, I think Asia offers a range of different things for our fans, for our sponsors and for the manufacturers too in terms of, it’s in a similar time zone, there’s huge audiences there,” Seamer told Speedcafe.com.
“Well, James (Warburton) has signed MOUs up in Asia. The intent is there, from us and from the parties in Asia. As you know, the logistics and commercial requirements need to be sorted out to lock it down.
“We are keen to continue to explore that for all of those reasons that were strategically laid out by James.
“What we need to do is focus on a period of time that shows sustainability and commitment to the markets in the next three years or five years, but there won’t be one off racing.
“Obviously it makes sense to partner with Formula 1 so we’ll pick up discussions when they’re over for the AGP in a couple of weeks and it’ll stay on the agenda in terms of a potential growth opportunity for the sport.
“Absolutely, Singapore (is among the targets), having personally lived there and attended the event about four or five times myself It’s a fantastic event, fantastic track and I think it will suit our product well.
“That will absolutely be on the agenda moving forward.”
The possibility of more than one Asian event on a Supercars calendar in the future is still on the table too, according to Seamer.
“It could be back-to-back, it could be one, two, three,” he added, when asked if multiple Asian events would be entertained.
“Obviously back to back makes sense from an infrastructure and travel point of view but we’ll work with FOM and our partners up in Asia to find the best possible solution.”
Meanwhile, increasing the amount of events in New Zealand is thought to be a tough proposition.
Supercars crosses Tasman once a year for the ITM Auckland Super Sprint at Pukekohe Park Raceway in November.
“I think it would be tough. Having the right tracks at the right standard is point one then the other challenge is making sure you have the supporting fanbase in that area,” he said.
“Everything is possible but we would have to work with ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development) and people like Tony Quinn (owner of Hampton Downs and Highlands) and see what is possible with the tracks.”
While the championship is keen to expand into new markets, Seamer maintains the series is unlikely to grow to more than 16 events in a season.
“I think 16 events is absolutely enough and that’s the feedback I’ve been getting from the teams today,” Seamer said.
“What those 16 events look like, how we execute on them or where we execute on them, that’s all up for discussion.
“The leadership team and that team owners and I will work through how we optimise that for the best possible fan and sponsor experience the next couple of years.”