New Supercars deal for Perth in the works

Negotiations for a new deal for Supercars to race at Barbagallo Raceway have begun, following the final race on the existing three-year agreement last weekend.

The Perth SuperSprint effectively operates on a three-way deal between government department Tourism WA, circuit owners and operators the WA Sporting Car Club, and Supercars Australia.

With the existing three-year deal signed back in 2016 officially running out at the end of last weekend's round in Perth, a fresh agreement will now need to be signed to keep the series making its annual trek to Western Australia.

Tourism WA confirmed to Motorsport.com that negotiations for a fresh deal have begun, with WASCC general manager Andrew Stachewicz adding that positive discussions with Supercars were held last weekend.

"We certainly are," Stachewicz told Motorsport.com when asked if the club was already involved in talks with the series and the state government.

"I had a good meeting with [Supercars Chief Operation Officer] Shane [Howard] over the weekend, and we laid the groundwork for positive discussions to go forward."

According to Stachewicz, the preference from the club is for another three-year agreement, which provides enough stability without compromising the club's finances through the statewide economic peaks and troughs often linked to the mining industry.

"The environment keeps changing," he said. "The conditions, certainly in Western Australia, under which [the outgoing] deal was struck were quite different. And the corporate spend is about a third of what it was five or six years ago.

"I see my job as de-risking it for our members as much as possible. I don't think we can have a situation where a not-for-profit club is underwriting a business of that size. 

"We're not greedy, we're not trying to make millions of dollars. We want to run the event, because it's great for our members to participate, it's great for our officials to be able to service that level of event, and it's great for Perth to have an event with high-level motorsport.

"So we certainly want to do it, but we can't afford to budget money to lose. That would be irresponsible."

New circuit lease key to potential resurfacing

The WASCC is on the brink of signing a breakthrough new lease for the Barbagallo Raceway land, which will open the door for key works to be undertaken at the circuit.

The existing 21-year lease between the club and the City of Wanneroo, which was due to expire in 2022, is set to be dissolved in favour of a new 10-year lease.

That's been green-lit by the council, with the formalities and documentation to follow.

Once in place, the stability of the new lease will allow the club to properly investigate a full resurfacing of the 2.41-kilometre circuit.

The circuit hasn't been resurfaced since 2004, and is famous for its incredibly high-tyre degradation.

"The City of Wanneroo has a 10-year strategic plan with respect for the whole area, so we were aligning with that," explained Stachewicz.

"We feel comfortable making capital investments on the basis of being able to amortize it over a period of time greater than four or five years.

"The club has a great team of people with a great strategy for the future. The first thing we've done is form a group that is going to consider [resurfacing]. We need to get some reporting. Anecdotal evidence that it needs to be done is one thing, but we need to underpin it with professional reporting.

"We need to look at it carefully. When I was speaking to Shane Howard he said a bit of degradation is great for racing, he's got no problem with it.

"You don't want to overdo it on the basis of some anecdotal feedback, we need to have some solid evidence for it."

Should the club take the most likely course of action and resurface the track during the 2018/19 off-season, it won't be looking for a government handout to off-set costs that could be in the region of $1m.

"There's no desire for that at all," said Stachewicz. "We believe organisations of this kind should be self-sustaining, and if they're not, they shouldn't be in business.

"Ins saying that we're not in business, we're a not-for-profit club that needs to sustain its activity. I don't believe we can ask the taxpayer to fund or subsidise our activity.

"If there's a project in consolation with the government or partnership with the government, yeah, that's totally different. Sort of like the Supercars, that's in partnership and expect there to be equal investment and equal risk.

"But Supercars is three days of the year. We actually have our own activities for 362 days of the year."

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Series Supercars
Article type Breaking news