Arocca: MA Championships can’t get left behind in Supercars sale

S5000, TCR Australia, Touring Car Masters, and Porsche Sprint Challenge are among the categories that feature at Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship events

The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships mustn’t be left behind in the sale of Supercars, according to the sport’s governing body.

Last month it was confirmed Supercars had sold to a consortium, part of which includes the events and category promoter Australian Racing Group, otherwise known as ARG. That sale could settle as soon as this week.

The lion’s share of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships card is made up of Australian Racing Group categories along with a handful of independently promoted series.

Supercars in and of itself is an event and category promoter, and will not necessarily fall under the Australian Racing Group umbrella of categories in the ownership change.

While Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca said there’s likely to be some cross-pollination between Supercars and the Australian Racing Group-owned categories, it’s important the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship stands on its own with a headliner at each event.

“I think that our relationship with both Supercars and ARG is such that they appreciate that the sport and the health of the sport generally is really important to their own good fortune,” Arocca told Speedcafe.com.

“If you rewind, ARG first grew off the back of a relationship with Motorsport Australia. We have been intimately involved in the TCR programme, we’ve supported them through the S5000 development, so we’ve been on-the-ground foundation partners of ARG, and we’ve been long-standing, strong partners of Supercars.

“I see some real benefits in the coming together of all three in this relationship. I have a sense of what it will be, but I’m not concerned about the fact that there is a clustering of categories that stretch across the two brands or two organisations.

“The critical thing for us is that the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships is still a very important part of motorsport’s makeup.

“I know, I believe, and I’m confident that both Supercars and ARG are comfortable about ensuring that Shannons is a relevant part of our overall structure.

“That’s yet to be discussed, but I’m really comfortable about the future engagement between the three of us.”

The Australian Racing Group has established itself as a major player with the establishment and acquisition of high-profile categories.

The group was responsible for getting the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series off the ground and is also home to the VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship and Shannons S5000 Tasman Series.

Gulf Western Oils Touring Car Masters, Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, and National Trans Am fall under its portfolio of classes.

All of the aforementioned but the TCR Australia Series have featured at events where Supercars have headlined.

In just a few weeks, Supercars will be supported for the first time by the TCR Australia Series at the Repco Bathurst 1000 in what is a combined effort between Supercars and the Australian Racing Group.

Other categories to feature on the Motorsport Australia Championships card include Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, the Australian Prototype Series, RA Cup Australia, MRF Tyres Australian Production Car Series, Aussie Racing Cars, and Precision National Sports Sedan Series.

There is chatter that the TCR Australia Series could have a closer relationship with Supercars in 2022 and feature on its support card several times over during the season.

However, Arocca said it’s important that the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships is headlined by a high-profile category, such as the TCR Australia Series.

“I think it’s embedded itself in the last two years, despite the challenges with COVID,” Arocca said of the Motorsport Australia Championships calendar.

“It was certainly shaping up pre-COVID as being a really important part of the matrix of motorsport, because it allows categories to sort of get a mix and match with both Supercars and with the Shannons.

“It’s at a different level, admittedly, from a TV audience and spectator point of view, but I can tell you from talking to government, in 2022, we are going to receive more government support for Shannons than we’ve ever received in our history.

“So that’s really encouraging for both Supercars and for Motorsport Australia that particularly regional governments see that while Supercars provides a really great entertainment product one or two times a year in a state, we provide the other two or three times that they can use that motorsport engagement.

“From a regional point of view, what we do know is when motorsport comes to town; in Supercars’ case it’s at a very high level, at the Shannons level we fill the hotels, we fill the pubs, and we fill the accommodation and food restaurants.

“So that’s the beauty about Shannons, is it provides that secondary backup that harmonises really well with Supercars. We’ve got a really good sort of structure going forward that cuts across both ARG and Supercars, and I believe continue to do so and in the future.”

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