Roland’s View: Adderton is wrong
By Roland Dane
Wednesday 9th November, 2022 - 2:00pm
Peter Adderton is wrong. He has no more right to a Teams Racing Charter than anyone else.
Now, before Peter fires off another 500-word Insta response, let me explain please.
As long as Peter has a solid business plan (as any new entrant is expected to provide to Supercars, and this has always been the case) and buys a TRC, or indeed a complete team, from an existing owner then he has every right to be on the grid.
And that’s the key. If you want a Supercars team, then buy one.
Yes, there’s an unallocated 26th TRC potentially available from Supercars, but, if that is released (and bear in mind there is zero obligation on Supercars for the 26th TRC to be paid any appearance money, unlike the other 25), then surely it is only right and proper that it’s offered to an existing Team such as the Blanchard Racing Team who have backed the sport quietly and effectively for many years? A team, by the way, that doesn’t rely on a pay driver for what it’s worth. I’ll touch on that later.
Over the last decade at least nine different people have, without telling the world that they were owed a franchise, stepped up and either bought into teams or bought TRCs (or RECs as they were) and gone on to form teams around them. Such people as Betty Klimenko, Rod Nash, Charlie Schwerkolt, John Blanchard, Stephen Grove, Tony Quinn, Peter Smith, Matt Stone and, very recently, the Ralph family.
Like most top line sporting codes around the world, Supercars relies on a franchise system that works both ways. Teams have to step up to the plate and perform or they lose their franchise, and promoters have to guarantee those teams a start. Doesn’t matter whether it’s top line soccer, the AFL, Formula 1 or Supercars. There’s a mutual reliance on each other to ensure that a consistent product is offered to the fans.
Over the last twenty years, Supercars team owners have collectively invested millions of dollars into the infrastructure they all require to present themselves to the standard they do today, as well as to put race cars on the track. The standard of presentation today, in comparison to twenty years ago, is superb. The on-track reliability is superb again in comparison with two decades ago. These attributes have cost money. Why shouldn’t those team owners be entitled to at least get something back when they wish to retire – as, for instance, the Stone Brothers were able to do at the end of 2012?
Peter raises the point about drivers who don’t deserve to be on the grid being there because they have a bigger cheque book than others who may well warrant being there on driving ability but don’t have the dollars to get into a seat.
Well, I have news for him; t’was ever thus. And not just in motorsport. The tennis world, the golf world, the equestrian world for instance, are all full of competitors whose families had the money to send them off to the right training centres with the right equipment to give them the best possible chance. Some of these people go on to be superstars of their sport. But they don’t get there without the bank of mum and dad or some other linked financial support program. And many others who also spend big don’t make it.
Motorsport is the same. The history of the sport is full of talented drivers who didn’t quite make it because they didn’t have the funds. And the sport also has drivers who turned out to be superstars but who were ‘pay’ drivers right the way up the ladder – look no further than Niki Lauda, for instance, who famously bought his way into F1. Almost every driver in Supercars today has relied on the bank of mum and dad to an extent to get up the ladder.
The Supercars grid in 2002 had 10 or 11 drivers on it who were there only because they owned the team, their family owned the team, or they took money to the team. Today, twenty years later, it’s probably six drivers. So nothing has really changed. Is it ideal? No. Is it fair? Well, life often isn’t fair. It’s the reality of the commercial world.
Peter – you are a great sponsor to have involved in the sport. Your activations, as the naming rights sponsor, around the Gold Coast 500 event were nothing short of superb. Your passion is very evident, and you bring a massive dose of much needed personality to the often-faceless paddock.
But if you want to be a team owner, then step up to the plate and buy your way in. There shouldn’t be a free ride for anyone. Oh, and believe me, you’ll save yourself a fortune if you buy an existing team … try setting one up from scratch; stand back and watch the bleeding.
Most things, teams, TRCs included, are for sale in the paddock if you offer enough money for them! In the meantime, hopefully we’ll see you backing some wildcard entries next year.
And, for the benefit of all readers, I haven’t written anything here that I haven’t said directly to Peter face-to-face.
Looking forward to the Insta response!
Last weeks Roland’s View: Gold Coast event desperately needs an international flavour