The yet to be officially confirmed announcement by Volkswagen of their “withdrawal from all motorsport” in official capacity in South Africa this week, sent shock waves through the sport and for a moment or three all seemed lost.
The question however is, “How bad is bad really”
Let us assume that sanity and good marketing practice will prevail and Volkswagen will do what they have done many years ago – “supply” or “lend” cars to teams and at the same time back them with a limited but workable budget. Such a practise will land cars in the hands of capable drivers and probably also the best marketers in the business.
Let us presume then that because of this there will still be four Volkswagens running in S2000 with a limited backing from the factory – consisting of parts mostly, but also a small budget to absorb some costs.
Let us further assume the Toyota will still run two cars, and that Ford will back at least one and offer some spares or other advantage to their supporting teams, thus three cars for this brand.
Furthermore that the present privateers show a little bit of loyalty and sell the cars they want to sell to South Africans to keep the cars running in the local championship.
This will mean that we will still have about 12 S2000 entries.
The current S1600 situation should stay the same or maybe increase by one or two.
Then let’s presume that the NRC will also sit down and think this whole situation through only in the interest of the sport, listen to some criticism instead of spending all their time trying to think out excuses and rather decide to bring down the costs.
My suggestion – for what it is worth here from outside in the cold – would be the following:
Reduce the events to six and let five count towards the championship.
Reduce the stage distances to a maximum of 100kms on four of the six events and run on Saturdays only. Rather add R350 to entry and use the extra funds to market the event in that area.
The Sasol and one more rally should cover about 200kms stages over two days and one of the endurance rallies must count towards the championship – in other words you have to do at least one of the two endurance events or lose out.
Limit tyres to 8 per sprint event and 12/14 for the endurance events – or to 56/58 for the year. Reduced by the events the competitor does not participate in. Allow competitors to use tyre brands they prefer and reduce numbers to fit into a restricted budget amount if needed.
Change the rule to reduce the compression of the S2000 and make pump fuel compulsory – I believe this is possible – but have not enough information as to the efficiency or workability.
No recce runs – except one pass on the endurance rallies. Supply proper notes and maybe use two cameras to video the route better giving the competitor a better chance to evaluate DVD’s.
The suggested rallies:
Sasol – endurance
Secunda – sprint
Gauteng – sprint (possible all tar)
Cape – endurance – teams have traveled far and one day will not make a huge difference here.
Port Elizabeth – sprint
Natal – sprint
Reduce service travel costs by transporting heavier spares in bigger trucks to events. Pump fuel will also resolve fuel problems. No additive allowed – immediate exclusion from that and one more event.
Introduce a rookie and retirement class (this may bring back some personalities) – Group N with strict limitation – cars must not cost more than a fixed amount and be limited to 1600cc or so.
Introduce a specific South African or African class – N4 standard unrestricted Subaru, Mitsubishi etc. Standard gearbox, computer etc. no chipping – nothing! This class could also include modified normally aspirated two wheel drive cars – A7 or old type of spec?
N4 cars without any launch controls, anti-lag and other nonsense will kick in from R150K if you get a good used car and reasonable shocks. It will be spectacular if we can get it to make proper noises and will beat a few S2000’s in the process.
Then most important – get the traditional organising clubs back together and appoint them to organise the events. A partial or full sponsor for the event must be a provision and these appointments should be done by latest 1 November 2015.
The clubs must have their own CoC with one overseeing person to attend all the events.
Scoring can be done from one central spot anywhere in South Africa as all the results can be sent electronically. Internet guys, internet!
Local medics and officials should be used and if passionate people who are from other regions would like to assist on events they must be willing to contribute a little to the costs. A bit arrogant maybe, but I will name a number of people who would actually love to do it.
One person should handle the pace notes and it should be made available at a maximum of R1500 to the competitors – compulsory with entry and a week before the event.
Stages must be repeated – max 50kms (sprint events) first cross. This will mean that competitors should be able to view the video within 35 minutes and even shorter at increased speed. The S2000 tempo should be about 1.5X the video speed.
We should think of combining at least two events per TV broadcast – reducing the editing and other costs and try for a better spot on Super Sport with serious consideration to SABC or Ignition TV.
Radio interviews can be organised in all areas and much more can be done to draw the media back to the sport. A small budget or even specific sponsorship to host the media must be obtained.
Unnecessary costs must be clamped – for instance if a start ramp can be organised we get it, if not – we leave it.
Cities willing to contribute gets a “spectator stage” and the Pace note vehicle should be branded with the detail of the event coming to their town and the person doing them must already have some programs or posters to hand out in the areas.
Maybe we should first try to “sell” events to a specific areas – even allow towns to “tender” for events – and allow them to combine the event with some other festival in town – creating added value for their people.
We can use SponsorshipSeekers that should kick in by November 2015 to start generating funds for the sport and to negotiate a series sponsorship as well.
Note: SponsorshipSeekers is my company and yes I will make some money from it – but the moment you find out more about our workings of this unique system you will realise that this may be the only way we will get sufficient funds to take the sport back to where it should be.
The most important factor in all above will be that we will all have to work together to get the sport back on track. This time we need to open our arms to people really willing to work for the sport and not for their pockets.
We need to take the politics right out of this equation and base any decision where there may be a conflict of interest on the wish or then approval of the competitors and not on that of two or three important role players who benefits from the efforts of the privateers.
MSA should manage the rules and admin and that must be that. They have their steward who can look after their interest.
As I said at the outset – these are simply my thoughts and obviously there will be some better ideas.
The main thing however is to get the entry back to 40/45 and especially bring in affordable but spectacular cars.
Just before someone burst a vein, the regional championship will obviously form part of the series – and we may even consider special prizes for winners or the regional controlling body can give extra points for National participation?
Well let’s see what happens?