Quinn: Gen3 should be like crazy mini golf show
Thursday 18th February, 2021 - 10:00am
New Triple Eight co-owner Tony Quinn believes that the off-the-wall television hit Holey Moley shows, in principle, how and why Supercars’ Gen3 ruleset should work.
The Seven Network programme, new to Australian television, pits contestants against each other in a game of mini golf on a course which features obstacles such portable toilets and fire-breathing dragons.
Quinn, whose motorsport portfolio already included the Hampton Downs and Highlands circuits in New Zealand, is now the largest shareholder in Triple Eight Race Engineering having bought a 40 percent stake.
The introduction of Gen3 in 2022 was a significant reason for his latest purchase, with the self-made millionaire arguing that what should be a far less costly car need not make for a less entertaining product.
The man who also owns the Aussie Racing Cars category, and once dabbled in what he described as a Twenty20 cricket-style concept called ‘Fast & Furious Racing’ at Hampton Downs, believes that Holey Moley backs up that sentiment.
“I think Gen3 can’t come quick enough,” said Quinn.
“I think the current cars have proved to be quite expensive and, really, the business revolves around a television show, and you don’t need million-dollar cars to have a good television show.
“I think I watched Holey Moley [the other night] on Channel 7 and was very impressed. [It was] a few people, a few gimmicks and a few obstacles, but it was great entertainment.
“I think Gen3 is going to make it more affordable for the teams to operate the cars, it shouldn’t affect their income at all, it should affect their cost line – which is a good thing – and I don’t think it’s going to take anything away from the racing.
“The fans [and] the drivers will be pleased because it’s a new era and [potentially] new models and stuff like that, so I think Gen3’s absolutely the right move for the category.”
Quinn is the second businessman to invest big money in a Supercars team ahead of the 2021 season with the Grove Group, headed up by Stephen Grove, now a part-owner of what has become Kelly Grove Racing.
Grove cited similar motives to fellow motorsport enthusiast Quinn, particularly Gen3 and the television deal which takes effect this year.
Under the new agreement, Fox Sports continues as the senior rights holder while Seven replaces Network 10 as the free-to-air broadcaster.
At $200 million over five years, the deal all but matches the $241 million yielded by the previous, six-year contract on a per annum basis (both figures include contra) despite the tough economic climate, while slightly enhancing the free offering and creating scope for greater cross-promotion opportunities.
Roland Dane, who is retiring from team principal duties and has sold a large chunk of Triple Eight as part of a wider shake-up which sees Jamie Whincup take his place in management, believes the arrival of Quinn and Grove speaks volumes for Supercars’ direction.
He also had particularly high praise for his new business partner, who has already been involved in motorsport in a broad range of positions.
“It’s a bit of a unicorn situation, really, because Tony is extremely successful business-wise, as we’re all aware, but he’s also been around motorsport for a long time,” observed Dane.
“[He] has a deep understanding of it from a number of different viewpoints: as a category owner through Porsche [Carrera] Cup years ago, through GTs, through even Aussie Racing Cars, etc.
“He also sees it as a circuit owner and even as a promoter, and he sees it as a competitor as well.
“That’s a pretty unique situation, pretty unique set of experiences there that I think that honestly it would be hard to match.
“I think that, frankly, for Supercars, over the last month as a category to have snared significant investments from two people, Stephen Grove and Tony Quinn, in different teams is a testament to the direction that the category is hopefully going in now on the back of television, on the back of Gen3, etc.
“Both those people are highly credentialed in the motorsport world, but Tony is a step above in terms of also his circuit ownership as well and category ownership in the past.”
While Whincup is currently serving out his first year on the Supercars Commission, Dane also hinted that Quinn would be an appropriate person to have a say in the broader Supercars sphere.
“He’s got a lot to contribute to Triple Eight, but he’s also got a lot to contribute to the Supercars environment should he so choose to have an involvement at some point in the future with Supercars as a team owner,” added the current Triple Eight boss.
“That’s up to him to decide, but I couldn’t be more pleased about the set of skills and the experiences that he brings to the table.
“It’s pretty hard to beat, frankly.”