A recent RCIS Facebook poll, posted by the organisers of the smash hit racing series the 2KCup, highlighted why motorsport in NZ maybe stagnating in competitor numbers or remaining out of reach for so many people.
Apart from a few ‘unicorn’ series, many series are plagued with reducing grids and increasing costs. Young enthusiasts finding it hard to enter the sport or well-resourced and serious competitors are heading to the airport to chase the dream overseas as the competition here isn’t regarded as ‘world class’. We all know motorsport isn’t cheap… but the fragmented list of specialist series goes to show what may be the very reason behind ‘What’s up with MotorSport in NZ’.
Are the organisers of these series really trying to cause reducing grids and spiralling costs?
We don’t think so!
However, when you consider that often organisers are typically working for the good of their series without pay, without help and being critiqued by the very people they are trying to provide a series for… as well as holding down the day job, preparing their own race cars and being part of a family, the picture starts to build.
It’s then easy to understand why things have stayed the same, or become more insular as the effort and environment to think strategically (3, 5 and 10 year views) is simply not an option. Or, perhaps organizers don’t feel it’s within their remit to ‘think big’.
As the saying goes: “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result”.
So what is the answer? How does NZ MotorSport keep growing and attracting more competitors?
Well, let’s have a look at the facts.
The racing car fleet in NZ is old. Sure, some of the lucky few have worked hard, been lucky and have the means to run some high spec machines. But, the majority of builds have either come from motor industry racing enthusiast’s or from DIY builds à la RCIS.
The average age of the competitor is not decreasing. MSNZ license holder numbers actually decreased last year to approx. 5500 – it’s unknown if these are active competitors or just wallet bling for the pub.
- Race entry fees keep going up!
- Race car ‘consumables’ don’t get cheaper.
- Improved safety standards raise the barrier to entry and while this is a good thing the perception may be otherwise.
To attempt to summarize and add a provocative thought or two, is it possible that a rethink is needed that enables series organisers to simplify the task?
Will competitors have an open mind regarding changes to the status quo?
Is it time digital technologies were used to help with organising thus removing massive amounts of effort pre-season or on the day?
And who should pay?
A smaller number of series for me is a no-brainer. This will require a flexible attitude from competitors, mixed grids, more social effort applied by all parties to make sure everybody gel’s.
The use of technology by MSNZ to simplify paperwork, get rid of that queue outside the paddock office and free up the time of the organisers so they can focus on creating great events.
And what of the future of the smash hit 2KCup?... Well, these guys are disrupting motorsport.
Some don’t like it, some love it! But with a focus on continual improvement, close racing and smaller budgets, I predict we’re heading for a budget Touring Car Class that will rival good old days of the BTCC. The leading drivers will become the focus as car specifications become controlled to a ‘showroom’ spec. and where the enjoyment of racing can be achieved in affordable safe vehicles.
Perhaps not a class for the purist or technical enthusiast who loves his “1995 whizz-bang, modified pocket rocket”, but certainly a class that is building to be the future of circuit racing in New Zealand… and with scale come efficiency and efficiency means lower costs, and the cycle continues (as long as nobody gets greedy). Just brilliant!
You heard it here first guys! - I predict New Zealand will deliver a world-class affordable Touring Car Championship. Probably within the next 3 seasons and with up and coming superstar drivers from around the world - Live stream broadcast's - industry partnerships and maybe even a trip to Bathurst in the future :)
MSNZ – Step up and seize the future! Use global standards in car prep to lower the cost of competing on a global stage. And for god sake get some digital savvy ‘motorsport enthusiasts’ in to help you shape an easier future for everybody. (Feel free to reach out to me, You have less than 10,000 customers, scale is not an issue with modern tech - don't get ripped off. - unashamed self-promotion: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesmccombnz/ )
Car clubs – Unite! You have a job to do to ensure you survive.
Competitors – think about the children! Enable others to enjoy this amazing sport, and use your cars to go race against something new with similar lap times.
Circuit Owners – We want to use your tracks more… please make it easier!
Series Organisers/Committees – Collaborate with others & take the time to think about the future. Work out how to make motorsport in this wonderful country more accessible and drive down costs.
Have your say below…