The Australian Rally Championship has announced the appointment of a new CEO for the category along, with a proposed raft of changes aimed at revitalising and reinvigorating the series in 2011 and beyond. ARC chairman Ben Rainsford announced that prominent rally driver and businessman Scott Pedder would be the new CEO of the Championship effective immediately.

According to Ben Rainsford the appointment of Scott Pedder will give Australian rallying a major boost and better equip it for the challenges that lay ahead.

"Scott brings a unique perspective to the Championship as both a leading competitor but also as a skilled and accomplished businessman and marketer," said Ben Rainsford.

"He understands rallying, but more importantly he understands the commercial realities and imperatives of business in the 21st century and the way they drive motorsport," he said.

"As the national marketing Director for major Australian company Pedders Suspension, Scott oversees multi-million dollar marketing budgets and has helped drive the operation to international prominence and success, and it is that sort of expertise that will be invaluable for rallying as we look to the future.

"There are a number of key initiatives around improving the commercial viability of the Australian Rally Championship which Scott will be seeking to implement including attracting manufacturers back to the sport while also providing an easier path for privateers and young drivers to compete in the top level of rallying in this country," he added.

In accepting the appointment Scott Pedder said his goal is to revitalize the ARC and to make it more attractive for competitors, manufacturers, events and sponsors.

"I am very pleased to have been given the responsibility of steering the ARC. I am committed to making a number of key changes for the 2011 season that will ultimately deliver an improved Australian Rally Championship product," said Scott.

"The reality is we need to get the sizzle back in the ARC and that must be our key focus in 2011," he said.

"Group N has served us well over many years, however with the changing motorsport landscape and today's commercial realities it is clear we need to have a rethink and serious discussion on ways to create a point of difference for the ARC and get excitement and aspiration back into the ARC for competitors, stakeholders and the public," he added.

"Specifically, I will be pushing for sporting and technical changes to make the category more exciting for both competitors and the public, including looking to decrease the long term investment competitors have in machinery while making it easier, more exciting and cost effective to reach the pinnacle of rallying in Australia."

"We want to create a desire amongst drivers and teams to make the step up to the ARC however we will not just be concentrating on the outright category to the exclusion of all else, we want the championship to be multi-tiered and relevant to a much wider audience," he added.
Part of the plan being proposed by Scott Pedder will see the ARC reengage with manufacturers to ensure the long-term viability and relevance of the ARC.

"We can't continue to compete in cars that are five and six years away from the showroom, every other major motorsport category title in the world is linked to manufacturers," said Scott.

"It is our intention to sit down with representatives from a number of car companies as quickly as possible to understand their needs and gauge their interest in the ARC," he added.

"I would also like to acknowledge the support and involvement of both Honda and Hyundai in the ARC and our desire for them to continue and potentially expand their involvement," he said.

"To ensure the ARC is relevant to car manufacturers we are proposing that the 2011 manufacturers championship will be contested by two wheel drive cars only," Scott added.

In addition to these proposed initiatives Pedder says he believes the ARC needs to look at ways to better assist and support event organisers financially, with the consequent flow on to competitors being reduced costs and simplified procedures.

"We want to remove some of the financial burden from event organisers by underwriting elements such as the FIV safety costs and reducing other costs as well as assisting in local event promotion to help deliver a reduction in the entry fees for ARC competitors," said Scott.

In 2011 the ARC will seek to establish a new Junior Australian Rally Championship aimed at creating a stepping-stone for young drivers and a platform for them to showcase their talents.

"The Junior Australian Rally Championship will be something young drivers will be able to strive for and will boast significant incentives and rewards to help make the climb up the rallying ladder easier and more fulfilling while delivering greater acknowledgment for rising talent," said Scott.

"We are very close to announcing a naming rights sponsor for the Junior Australian Championship which will ensure we can offer appropriate incentives and rewards to make this a prestigious and sought after title," he added.
In addition to the proposed initiatives Pedder says the ARC will be implementing a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan that includes the appointment of a professional PR company to publicise the series and to produce a series media launch as well as signing new TV agreements with Ten/ONE HD.

"These will be essential elements in revitalizing the ARC and ensuring we attract the commercial support necessary to take the championship to the next level," said Scott.

"I want to acknowledge our TV production company, Black Magic, for its efforts in 2010 and our intention to continue that relationship as well as our close alliance with Ten/ONE HD, one of my first tasks will be to ensure these agreements are signed and locked in place for 2011. At this point also I would like to acknowledge the support of current competitor Justin Dowel for his invaluable assistance with negotiations with Network Ten," he added.

"Another key priority will be our series launch which we are sure will excite the media interest in the upcoming season."

"Our focus will be on working hard to ensure all these items are ticked early in the New Year and I will be meeting with event organisers, teams and manufacturers as early as possible to brief them and gather their input. I am working on being able to make the relevant announcements regarding the exciting changes and additions to the 2011 Australian Rally Championship before the end of January," said Scott.

"It is a very big job but I am up for the challenge of placing the Australian Rally Championship within its rightful position as one of Australia's icon sporting series." 

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