ARG upbeat about fate of portfolio of categories

Cars from Australian Racing Group series, namely S5000, TCR, Touring Car Masters, and Trans Am

The Australian Racing Group believes that its broad range of categories will be able to withstand the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its highest profile acts in TCR and the VHT Australian S5000 Championship both lost out on racing at Albert Park in March when the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix event was called off, with only the National Trans Am Series completing a round when it supported February’s Superloop Adelaide 500.

Despite bleak economic indicators, ARG CEO Matt Braid believes that the tightly controlled nature of its categories as well as the spectrum which they cover holds them in good stead when motorsport returns.

“It’s going to be very tough environment, so when I say we’re going to be able to bounce back, it’s going to be bouncing back to a certain degree of a very difficult situation for everybody,” he told select media.

“It’s not going to be easy, by any means, but if you look at the categories we have, they’re heavily cost controlled or largely cost contained in most instances.

“If people do have a motor racing budget – and that’s a big if, because we know that the landscape’s definitely changed and will change in the new year – from a bang for buck perspective, the categories we have on offer, from a point of view of the quality of racing, the coverage you’re going to get, and the cost involved, we think are all very effective and all offer their point of difference to the various competitors.”

Aside from the three aforementioned categories, ARG also controls the unofficial third tier of Supercars in the form of Kumho Tyre Australian V8 Touring Cars, as well as Gulf Western Oil Touring Car Masters.

Expanding on the range which ARG’s portfolio covers, Braid stated, “(If) we look at TCR, it’s a national series, it’s a relevant series, it’s represented globally as well.

“That’s the most expensive (ARG) series to run in, but they do vary between $220,000 to $320,000 to run per year in a full season, plus obviously car.

“S5000’s around another $220,000 to $240,000 for a full year, and we’re talking about the original 2020 budgets, (but) obviously for reduced (number of) rounds, those costs will go back in the future.

“Trans Am is very cost effective, it’s $150k pretty much to run those cars for a season, and while TCM investment in cars does vary, the cost to actually run them through the year is largely contained as well.

“And also V8 Touring Cars, in which you get the Supercar thrills, albeit they’re older cars, but it’s a stepping stone into the higher categories. It’s a very cost-effective one as well.

“Having that portfolio of categories, that range from $80,000 to $320,000 per year racing budgets, gives us a lot of scope, a lot of opportunity that the competitors out there that do have a racing budget can afford to do that.”

No resumption date has yet been set for ARG’s series, although Braid suggested earlier this month that July or August would be realistic.

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