Before the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship loses Nissan, they need to implement a new future strategy before it turns back to the old red v blue formula again.
The Supercars Championship began the ‘Car of the Future’ era to open it up to other manufacturers to join the series, which they did. Nissan partnered with the four-car team, Kelly Racing and an unofficial Mercedes AMG run Erebus Motorsport in 2013, while Volvo joined the party with Garry Rogers Motorsport.
While the category has lost Mercedes when Erebus gave up fighting for any factory support from the German arm as she took the former SBR team to the Red Lion side.
Then there is the whole Volvo saga in 2016 when they pulled all funding and support at the end of that year, forcing GRM to run Holdens last year.
However, the only other manufacturer that joined in 2013 – Nissan – is on the verge from leaving the sport as the results for the Japanese manufacturer has been not so great, only yield two race victories with one was won using E70 fuel.
Being a Business Management graduate, I see no return on investment (ROI) for a new manufacturer to join the category.
Looking at a potential Supercars manufacturer proposal, it would cost three to four million dollars in backing a Supercars race team per year before even thinking to homologate the actual car and engine that would represent the manufacturer.
Even the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo, said if they entered the Supercars Championship, the price tag would be around the ten million dollar amount.
Joining the series as a manufacturer doesn’t seem sensible if the price tag is at that amount, even looking at Nissan spending all that money and only yielding to two race wins in those five years.
Unless the category deploys a new future strategy that would make sense and make it feel a proposal that would be silly to refuse, more manufacturers will leave, and Nissan could be the next to leave at the end of the year.
I feel a new future strategy is needed. I’ve thought about this new strategy in my spare time which would make sense from a business point of view for the manufacturer but without changing the product of racing too much.
Like with most things, it can be better.
What I would like to see is manufacturers to spend the required money to homologate one of their car lines into the category, like Holden has done to the new ZB Commodore this year. That bit is the same before.
But traditionally car makers ROI in this category is to hope new car sales increase in this marketing scheme, that is hard to take back to your shareholders year after year.
The way for them to get a good amount of ROI for the executives to take to their shareholders would be having a license fee that teams would need to pay to run that manufacturer.
As always Teams could be exempt from the license fee if the manufacturer decides to wave for a particular team – like Holden could wave it for their factory team – but the fee must be at a fair and reasonable priced, unlike the Formula 1 V6 hybrids engines.
This new Supercars CEO Sean Seamer, please look into this before the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship turns into the next Commodore Cup.