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SpeedCafe: V8 Supercars Confirms COTA Contract Termination

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SpeedCafe: V8 Supercars Confirms COTA Contract Termination:

V8 Supercars has officially confirmed that it will not be returning to the Circuit of the Americas in 2015.
The event’s fate has been widely known for some months, leaving New Zealand to remain as V8 Supercars’ only international race.
Having visited the Austin, Texas, venue for the first time in 2013, the COTA requested a pausing of its five-year contract for this season.
V8 Supercars spent the intervening time attempting to find a second event in the United States in which the COTA could share the championship’s transport costs.
The inaugural Austin event’s air freight is understood to have been V8 Supercars’ most expensive offshore trip to date, with the promoter needing to foot the near $2.5 million freight bill in addition to the category’s sanctioning fee.
“We had an existing contract with Circuit of the Americas, we’ve terminated that contract, so that’s off the table,” CEO James Warburton confirmed on the V8 Supercars website.
“We would’ve got a twin up, (but) we both looked at the economics and agreed it was better just to terminate.”
The 2013 Austin 400 was dominated by Jamie Whincup, who took three of the four race wins across the weekend.
The success extended Whincup’s extraordinary record at international events, with the Triple Eight star having won 14 of the last 16 races held outside Australasia, stretching back to Bahrain, 2008.
As previously reported, V8 Supercars is now focussed on a push into the Asian market for its 2016 calendar.



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This from the Supercars web page:

V8 Supercars has formally concluded its agreement with the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, but Chief Executive Officer James Warburton is confident there will be international races for V8 Supercars in 2016 and beyond.


The contract with COTA has been terminated after one foray in the United States in May 2013, the Austin 400, and while the event was hailed a success at the time, Warburton said when the economics were considered from both sides, the best decision was to terminate.


“We spent a lot of time chasing down ‘the American Dream’ so to speak,” Warburton told v8supercars.com.au.


“We had an existing contract with Circuit of the Americas, we’ve terminated that contract, so that’s off the table.


“We would’ve got a twin up, (but) we both looked at the economics and agreed it was better just to terminate.”


It was reported earlier this year V8 Supercars was looking to ‘twin’ the event with another race meeting in the US, to justify the huge transit costs. But without COTA, the foundation of the idea is no longer there.


“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort with America, which is unfortunately a bit wasted. But away we go now in terms of our approach to Asia,” Warburton said.


V8 Supercars approached Formula One Management in relation to appearing as a support category overseas, as it does for the Australian Grand Prix, which was ultimately unsuccessful.


“We had promoters wanting us there… but we got knocked back. That’s where the focus has been, and now we go back into Asia and some other areas and develop the plan.”

While Warburton said there was plenty of discussion around future international showings, he confirmed the 2015 calendar – to be released prior to the Wilson Security Sandown 500, running from September 12-14 – would more than likely just include domestic events, aside from New Zealand.

However, looking into the future, new international events are well on the cards.


“I’m very confident we’ll have a very strong strategy in place and we will have at least one international race on the calendar for 2016, and now we can focus on it,” Warburton said.


“With the Tassie announcement a couple of weeks ago [Tasmania extending until 2019], that leaves only WA to renew, and we’re already in discussions. We’ve got everything pretty much set for three, to five, to 10 years, depending on the circuits.”


Though V8 Supercars has for years acknowledged international expansion as a key goal for the category, Warburton continues to emphasise that everything must be right for an overseas race to be successful, particularly in relation to timezones, cost, and broadcast partners.


“They’ve got to make sense from a long-term point of view.


“They’ve got to be in the right timezone for Australian viewers … and to move the presentation we’ve got, with the quality we’ve got, no matter how we look at it, we just can’t get away – unless we do an inferior job to what we do – without two 747s.


“If we wanted to compromise the show, we could do something different, but this is not really what we should be about and everyone agrees that’s the case.


Additions to the calendar aren’t limited to international, though, with one local option continuing to grow stronger.


“Toowoomba is the one that’s most likely for 2016,” Warburton said.


Dates and formats for 2015 are set to be announced around the next event, the Wilson Security Sandown 500, with a potential inclusion of testing on race weekends.


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BTW, re: V8SC, I've heard some folks say they aren't coming back because of lack of U.S. interest. I don't think anyone can gauge U.S. interest in V8SC based on that race weekend. COTA barely promoted it at all and what they did do was weak at best. It was also a poor date choice...hot as shit out there. That wouldn't be so bad if there was a shred of shade out there other than at the Main GS, but there isn't.

From everything I've been able to read & hear, V8SC feels the market is here and did all they could in an effort to accommodate COTA and come back to Austin. COTA? Not so much.

Some are saying they aren't coming back because they couldn't find a second venue to pair with COTA. What I've heard is they that had multiple venues they liked as second venues to add to COTA, but they weren't gonna do it without COTA being one of the two.

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Can you imagine the success that would have come to COTA if Tavo were calling the shots? We wouldn't be reading about the slow, inevitable demise of what could have been a huge success, that's for sure.


Tavo understands racing and racing people. I've know Tavo on a personal basis for a number of years and the man has integrity and keeps his head squarely on his shoulders. On the other hand, I am of the opinion that his former "partners" don't really "get" the whole racing scene but seem to know rather well how to step on good people on the way to the bank.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the latest on the V8 Supercars from a sports writer in Australia, Mark Fogarty:


V8 Supercars puts international plans on hold


by Mark Fogarty, Motorsport writer

September 6, 2014 - V8 Supercars has put its international race aspirations on hold to consolidate at home while a new television deal is bedded down next year.


There will be no new events on the 2015 calendar, which is due to be announced on Friday at the Sandown 500, and again the V8s will not venture outside Australasia. The only overseas event will be the annual visit to New Zealand after efforts to return to the US, where the series made a one-off appearance in 2013, were unsuccessful.


Initially, the V8s' appearance at the formula one Australian Grand Prix will again be listed as non-championship races, but with the alignment of free-to-air TV rights for F1 and V8s next year, there's a chance they could count for title points.

Sydney Motorsport Park is set to stay on the schedule in a bid to build a following after several years of coming and going.


As well as the Melbourne GP, Victoria will again host championship events at Winton, near Benalla, Phillip Island and the traditional Bathurst 1000 warm-up Sandown 500.


A 15-event V8 schedule including all the same tracks as this year – and mostly at the same time of the year – has been drafted with the new broadcast arrangement as the main consideration.


By retaining the same line-up of events next year, V8 chief executive James Warburton is concentrating on cementing heartland support in the first year of the new broadcast deal. Warburton has put efforts to secure new international events on hold until 2016 and will restrict future foreign forays to Asia.


Previous agreements to race in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were ended early and a five-year contract with the Circuit of the Americas formula one track outside Austin, Texas, has been terminated after just one appearance by the V8s in 2013.


Although worth millions of dollars in sanction fees, the events in the Middle East and America were uneconomic for the promoters.


Whether V8 Supercars will have any more appeal in the near-Asia region is also debatable, but there is reportedly interest among new tracks and the time zones would be more suitable for Australian TV.


The 2015 V8 calendar will include a return to Sydney Motorsport Park, which has not been an annual stop in recent years, and the retention of Queensland Raceway even though it doesn't comply with safety standards for major championship events.


V8 Supercars is willing to fund upgrades to regain the Ipswich track's Confederation of Australian Motorsport safety licence to keep the Queensland government-supported event on the calendar.


V8's contract with the Newman administration runs until 2016, after which the sport is looking to switch the event to a proposed circuit alongside the new Toowoomba airport.


The only potential major change to the calendar is the V8 support races at the F1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park from March 13-15 gaining championship status.


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