Former Toyota Australia Public Relations Manager, Mike Breen, says that a one-make rally series for the Australian Rally Championship is a thing of the past.
As reported last week on RallySport Magazine, CAMS is still looking into the possibility of a one-make series for the ARC, but Breen believes it simply won't work.
"I’m afraid times have changed since the one make series of the past," he said.
"The Corolla Cup was established primarily to homologate a Group A car that could compete in both the ARC and WRC. Toyota was keen to support the series as that model Corolla was built in Australia and sales needed a push as the model was ageing.
"At that time you could literally take a car off the showroom floor and, with basic modifications for safety, enter a rally. No ABS, stability control, autonomous braking etc. etc., all standard today on even the cheapest cars.
"If you choose to use a current generation car then it needs to have been on the market for at least three years so there’s a good supply of used cars, crashed cars etc., cheap enough to modify for motorsport.
"It costs around $70,000 to prepare and compete in the 86 Racing Series in a second hand car for a year. That’s for five rounds.
"The days of inexpensive one make race series are over," he added.
"I think it best to support existing competitors in their own cars. To gain support from the grass roots competitors you need a big prize money pool that will sustain their entry into state rounds.
The Corolla Cup was a successful one-make series in the 1990s. Photo: Stuart Bowes
"To achieve that you need to attract sponsors who can establish a business case that will give them a worthwhile return on their investment. Discussion and support from CAMS is where this needs to begin.
"Having been involved in establishing both the Corolla Cup and 86 Race Series, there’s a whole host of things that need to be considered. To begin with, why not ask the grass roots competitors what they want?
"Motorsport is expensive, at any level, that’s never going to change. Get people like Neal Bates and Coral Taylor involved. Their experience, knowledge and wisdom is invaluable.
"First talk to the grass roots competitor, state by state. Understand what they need to compete. They obviously have the passion for the sport, otherwise they wouldn’t persist.
"Money is always the biggest challenge, whether you’re running a Hyundai Excel or an AP4 Yaris. Just depends on which level you choose to compete at.
"Once you’ve collected sufficient intelligence to form a worthwhile review, sit down with long time competitors and young competitors who are trying to make rally their profession.
"Most valuable of all is time. Time to bring all the elements together so a road map for the future can be formulated, and for this you need a leader, a leader with vision.
"It’s difficult to (briefly) put into words the steps needed to move rallying forward in Australia. That’s why the right people need to come together to talk it through."
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