A recent Ernst & Young report, commissioned by CAMS to determine the contribution of motor sport to the Australian economy, determined it was distinctly clear that the lack of tracks in Australia is inhibiting growth of the sport. The majority of respondents to the E&Y survey, conducted for the report, confirmed that more competitors would race if there were more tracks on which to do so. Comment was also made about the quality of the tracks. CAMS and V8 Supercars have made track development and maintenance a priority. As part of the CAMS 2014 - 2016 Strategic Plan, providing advice and support to help clubs, tracks and venue operators to build capacity was identified as a strategic priority. This includes lobbying for new tracks and improvements to current operating venues. With this in mind, CAMS and V8 Supercars have further strengthened and aligned their collaborative relationship to ensure the retention of existing Australian motor sport venues and the development of further tracks for the benefit of Australian motor sport.
CAMS Chief Executive Officer Eugene Arocca stated: “Track development and upgrades remain an absolute priority for CAMS and Australian motor sport. Without new tracks and continual improvements in the quality, safety and amenities of existing tracks, the growth in our sport will be restricted. In the last 2 years the number of licenced competitors and permitted events has grown significantly, however, that growth will be impacted in future years by a lack of quality venues.
“We know that Australian motor sport contributes $2.7 billion annually to the Australian economy… there is little doubt this already significant figure would be higher if more venues existed. It can only result in one thing, and that is greater participation which will further drive economic activity, particularly in the regional areas. It is a compelling case for continued and expanded government funding,” he said.
V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said that the category had been a leader in track development and redevelopment across two decades and was delighted that CAMS has prioritised the provision of quality venues for all levels of motor sport. “V8 Supercars is proud to have been a key lobbyist and direct conduit for permanent circuits in this country to become first class venues for all users,” Warburton said. “Together with the venue operators we have piloted major upgrades such as the new pit complex, paddock and track upgrades at Mount Panorama, the new pit building, track upgrades and resurfacing of Barbagallo Raceway in Perth, safety upgrades at Symmons Plains and the new facilities, track redesign and safety upgrades at Pukekohe Park in New Zealand; as well as safety upgrades at most major venues in the country. We has also assisted with circuits such as Hidden Valley in Darwin where the Northern Territory Government has invested substantially in continual facility upgrades.
“This assists all levels of motor sport and ensures these venues comply with current safety standards. With CAMS and V8 Supercars fully invested in this process our hope is that current facilities can attain the much needed funding and resources to improve their venues and that new facilities are provided for the whole motor sport community.”
Whilst CAMS will work closely with V8 Supercars to develop an Australia wide strategy for track development and maintenance over the coming months, it is not focussed only on the major tracks around the country – it will include grass roots and local venues, particularly in regional areas. CAMS will conduct a state by state assessment of the existing and proposed tracks in order to identify and prioritise lobbying efforts at federal, state and local level.
In its role as the National Sporting Organisation (recognised by the Australian Sports Commission) for four wheeled motor sport, CAMS will ensure that all governments are aware that the development or improvement of tracks within their domain should be reviewed against the CAMS Track Strategy for that state or region. “CAMS does not shy away from this role. It is the custodian of motor sport in Australia and has been so for more than 60 years. We aim to continually develop motor sport and with our supporters will continue to do so. The Australian motor sport family deserves and expects to participate in and enjoy a sport with a safe and bright future,” Arocca said.