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Monday, May 27, 2024


THE prospect of the RACE consortium imminently acquiring the Australian Racing Group could increase unity in the national motorsport landscape, according to the latter’s CEO.

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks since tensions between Supercars and ARG boiled over publicly.

After Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen was blocked from competing in ARG’s Turtle Wax Trans Am Series, criticism at the handling of an approach by FanTech to buy RACE then erupted.

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Then, last week, V8 Sleuth revealed the ARG power within RACE had decreased due to Brian Boyd selling his circa 15 percent slice of the pie. It’s believed inaugural stakeholder Henslow was the buyer, consolidating its position.

The RACE shareholding owned by fellow ARG powerbrokers Garry and Barry Rogers remains, although perhaps not for too much longer.

Garry Rogers (right) with Marcos Ambrose. Pic: Australian Racing Group

Throwing yet another element into the picture is a looming decision on whether RACE will purchase ARG.

“Regarding the potential sale of ARG to RACE as part of the initial RACE whole of sport strategy which is well documented, Management and Directors of Supercars and RACE continue to work through due diligence items in relation to a potential transaction and expect to finalise any recommendation this month,” RACE chairman Barclay Nettlefold said in a statement last week.

That timeline for a final recommendation is despite V8 Sleuth’s understanding that RACE in fact has a two-year option on acquiring ARG.

Matt Braid, CEO of ARG, suggested there’s more to the story than what is in the public eye but assured they will remain focused on its suite of events, categories and competitors.

“Despite what people have said, when we formed ARG, there was always relatively good cooperation with Supercars,” said Braid.

“The change of ownership under RACE has created some new tensions in some areas. Like anything, you have discussions, but… to be clear, ARG’s position and relationship with the management of Supercars has always been very good and very positive.

TCR Australia is ARG’s flagship category. Pic: Australian Racing Group

“We always try to work together. We have our own stakeholders we have to appease and look after and handle, but we do talk about stuff, whether it’s cooperation on events (or other matters).

“The (Bathurst) 12 Hour is a good example, how we came together there, so on an operational level between the two there has always been general cooperation and if that unity can be taken forward another step, great.

“But realistically what you are seeing in the media at the moment is shareholder related, and to be honest that’s up to them.”

Irrespective, Braid said the preference should be to have TCR Australia running separately to Supercars.

“It’s never to simply go, ‘mash them all together into one’ for a whole of sport approach,” he noted.

“I mean the whole of sport approach makes sense – it is actually approaching the sport as one, rather than necessarily putting it all together as one.

“That sort of discussion would be very helpful and proactive.

“Effectively it’s probably bringing the industry more aligned together as one to make it better rather than actually bringing the entities to be intertwined.”

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