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Dane: Simpler cars needed to attract new Supercars teams

Simon Chapman

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Tuesday 9th June, 2020 - 6:00am

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Roland Dane has led calls for Supercars to cut costs

Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane believes existing teams from other categories would look to join Supercars if running costs were lower.

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Supercars paddock has been hit hard. Teams have laid off staff and already one outfit in 23Red Racing is gone from the championship.

Lately, there have been calls from those inside and on the fringe of Supercars to cut costs.

Supercars recently announced a raft of rule changes for the season resumption in Sydney that will not only adhere to coronavirus restrictions but also to cut costs in the interim.

However, long term, Dane believes Supercars needs to find a way to lower the benchmark for teams to join the championship.

Personnel is one of the most significant costs to teams, but cars and the associated intellectual property is high prohibitive for existing teams.

“If the initial entry cost for new teams who are not necessarily new race teams to Supercars was lower and they could go and get a car for less money, if they didn’t feel that they then needed as much infrastructure around them – some of the fancy equipment – then that would greatly assist,” Dane told Speedcafe.com.

“But it’s not just the dollars, it’s the IP to run the car. At the moment the bar is set pretty high. That puts people off. If the cars were simpler, that would almost certainly increase the potential for people to come in.

“I’m talking about racing a team from a management point of view, an engineering point of view, from all aspects that IP is scarce. It’s scarce because the way we go racing, the formats, technicalities of that, have taken a step too far.

“They need to be wound back to be more accessible for new teams to come in. It’s become too much of a closed shop.”

Speaking on the latest Enforcer & The Dude episode, Dane identified the likes of Eggleston Motorsport and McElrea Racing as established teams that might look at the championship if it were financially viable.

Ultimately, he believes lowering the initial entry cost as well as the ongoing costs will allow teams such as those from the feeder Dunlop Super2 Series to investigate Supercars entries.

“The running costs are a function of how much money you’ve got and how many people you have,” he explained.

“You can see the cars in Super2 are not that different, but people manage to go and do six race meetings for – even at the top end of the paddock – for a $100,000 a race meeting.

“The cars are not that different from what the Supercars are. It’s a function of the environment and the income.

“The market says that people would pay $600,000 (per annum) to do top-level Super2 and the market has geared itself to that.

“If the market is suddenly $400,000 for that then that’s what the outcome will be. People will gear themselves up for that.

“Ultimately, in all sport, the cost is decided by the income. If the income drops and we’ve got sensible rules that try and make sure that you don’t get too much of an advantage if you have a higher income than other people, then it can hopefully help us survive.

“If there isn’t a consistently good income across the category, then the costs have to be cut.”

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship returns with the Sydney SuperSprint on June 27-28.

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