Home' Supercar Xtra : Jun Jul 2016 Issue 93 Contents 25
Is GT3's rising popularity a threat
"Supercars is enjoying a period of
strong growth across our attend-
ances, TV ratings and digital plat-
forms while the racing itself is bril-
liant. There has never been a better
time to be involved in the sport.
"GT3s are wonderful additions
to Supercars events and we have a
great relationship with Tony Quinn
and invite them to Clipsal, Perth,
Townsville, Phillip Island and Sydney
Motorsport Park, where they can be
enjoyed by race fans."
Why is GT3 attracting more
"GT3 attracts manufacturers because
it is a source of revenue for them.
They sell the car and a service
package. Most participants are
Is Australia too small a market to
"We actually work together and race
together. I can't see that changing.
If either category didn't want to do
that then it wouldn't happen. The
media hype about one category
versus the other is a furphy."
Could VASC ever embrace a GT3
"Supercar racing is the most enter-
taining and enthralling touring-car
racing on the planet. All the numbers
and metrics support that and we are
having one of the best seasons on
"Our television race numbers
are up 35 per cent and our digital
platforms between 50 to 100 per
cent. We have the largest annual
event in every state and territory in
this country, we are the third most
attended sport and on Fox Sports
we are now the number three sport
behind only the AFL and NRL. What
we have is extremely special and in
our 57th year as strong as an ox."
Are the two series now compet-
"The media likes to compare them,
they are fundamentally different
series and they cannot be com-
pared. Look at the Bathurst 12
Hour versus the Bathurst 1000. We
had over 37,000 fans attend the
Bathurst 12 Hour this year and an
average TV audience of 400,000
Australians over the duration of the
race. At the Bathurst 1000 last year
over 200,000 fans attended and
2.2 million Australians watched the
race on average over six hours.
"This was the second biggest
attendance we had at the Bathurst
1000. We love the Bathurst 12
Hour event and believe we can
grow it but there will never be a
time when the 12 Hour exceeds the
Bathurst 1000, which has its place
firmly cemented on Australians
annual sporting calendar. It's one of
Australia's biggest sporting events
and the largest regional event in the
Is Gen2 too close to the GT3
"Gen 2 gives manufacturers option-
ality to insert their DNA on the car
of the future (Next Gen) chassis.
Our objective is to keep our touring-
car DNA, front-engined, four-seat
homologated versus GT3, which is
CEO James Warburton has replied on behalf off
the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and GT
Championship manager Ken Collier on behalf of owner
Tony Quinn. They make interesting and pretty clear
So let's move on from that to the coalface -- or in this
case the workshop floor -- and boil this debate down
to its essence by polling the attitude of some of the
people most familiar with the categories and the cars
Our first port of call is Braeside and the headquar-
ters of Kelly Racing, the family team that has raced
as Nissan Motorsport since 2013. Team co-owner,
technical chief and driver Todd Kelly is solidly in the
"Driving a GT3 car or owning a GT3 team there is no
way we could compete at the level we do," insists Kelly.
"In our racing we use the car a lot to lean on people
and there is no way you would attempt that in those
cars. You do it once or twice and your repair budget
would be half your racing budget in one round.
"That full-on racing is what makes our category so
successful. So the people who are calling for GT3 would
be bored with it in two minutes."
There's another issue that would preclude the move
to GT3 as well and that's financial. Among the various
teams there are tens of millions of dollars tied up in
Supercars and parts inventories. Gen2, which is intro-
duced next year, is designed to evolve that, not junk it,
like a move to GT3 would.
But Kelly also sees another issue, arguably even
more important. Most of the jobs generated by the
current Supercars industry would be gone if GT3, with
its turn-key cars and limited tuning options, became
the dominant formula.
Nissan Motorsport employs 60 people and Kelly
estimates two thirds of those jobs would be lost in the
"You need to think of all the jobs our industry
creates and what would be taken away if we didn't have
the type of cars we do," says Kelly.
VASC ON AGT INTERVIEW WITH JAMES WARBURTON
SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP CEO
Costs associated with crash repairs could
increase for Supercars teams in a GT3 formula.
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