Suby chief lashes V8s clique

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport - MARK HINCH­LIFFE

AUS­TRALIA’S V8 Su­per­cars com­pe­ti­tion is un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and ig­nores the in­ter­ests of young mo­tor­ing fans, says Subaru Aus­tralia man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Nick Se­nior.

‘‘Aus­tralian motorsport is at its low­est ebb,’’ the pas­sion­ate rally fan and for­mer co-driver said at the launch in Can­berra this week of the new Forester line-up that in­cludes a ‘‘per­for­mance’’ S-Edi­tion.

‘‘We are rid­ing on (Mark) Web­ber’s wave of suc­cess alone. V8 Su­per­cars largely dis­en­fran­chises the ma­jor­ity of au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies and ARC (Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pi­onship) is a pale im­i­ta­tion of pre­vi­ous years.’’

Subaru pulled out of world and Aus­tralian rally com­pe­ti­tion in the past few sea­sons, cit­ing a lack of TV cov­er­age, pro­mo­tion and au­di­ence in­ter­est.

‘‘There are a lot of other car com­pa­nies with a rich motorsport her­itage but with no out­let to go mo­tor rac­ing,’’ Se­nior says.

He is call­ing on the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralian Mo­tor Sport to chair a fo­rum to dis­cuss de­vel­op­ing a rac­ing cat­e­gory with more rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try and au­di­ence in­ter­ests.

Se­nior points out that the com­pact SUV cat­e­gory has grown big­ger than the large-car seg­ment, which was the sole cat­e­gory rep­re­sented by V8 Su­per­car rac­ing.

‘‘We need a wider par­tic­i­pa­tion rate that en­cour­ages the younger au­di­ence and gets them away from play­ing their PlayS­ta­tion games,’’ he says.

‘‘Motorsport is a cot­tage in­dus­try that has a big role to play in the econ­omy be­cause it’s labour-in­ten­sive and takes at-risk kids off the streets.’’

Se­nior says he would like to see a wide range of ve­hi­cles com­pet­ing at sig­na­ture events such as the Bathurst 1000 and had planned to launch the Forester S-Edi­tion at this week­end’s Bathurst 12-Hour race.

‘‘But it would have been swamped in the only cat­e­gory it would have been el­i­gi­ble to run in,’’ he says.

‘‘We have no motorsport chan­nel to dis­play prod­ucts like these.

‘‘I’d like to see 60 cars run­ning down Con­rod Straight at Bathurst like we used to in the old days. Now that would be a sight to see.

‘‘I’d like to see a new cat­e­gory that is in­ex­pen­sive with a broad range of ve­hi­cles, even com­pact SUVs.

‘‘There is a lot of di­ver­sity in cars in the mar­ket but we are not rep­re­sent­ing them in motorsport.’’

Se­nior also took aim at the state of global motorsport.

‘‘It needs a re­think,’’ he says. ‘‘There is not one Ja­panese, Korean or Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer in For­mula One or WRC, yet Asia is the fasteste-merg­ing mar­ket in the world.’’

Launched: Forester S-Edi­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.