Suby chief lashes V8s clique
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.