Supercars in Perth – Sensational, but What’s Gone Wrong?

Supercars Perth Sunday 7th May 2017

A couple of photos of each car, in Driver alphabetical order. The photos were taken on the Sunday, during qualifying and the race. I do have approximately a dozen photos of each car on file - too many to post here

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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_blanchard-1.jpg]20Tim Blanchard 21
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_blanchard-2.jpg]20
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-1.jpg]30Mathew Brabham 3
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-2.jpg]20
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_brabham-3.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_bright-1.jpg]10Jason Bright 56
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_bright-2.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_caruso-1.jpg]10Michael Caruso 23
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_caruso-2.jpg]10
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_coultard-1.jpg]10Fabian Coultard 12
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_courtney-1.jpg]00James Courtney 22
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_davison-1.jpg]00Will Davison 19
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_de-silvestro-1.jpg]00Simone De Silvestro 78
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_holdsworth-1.jpg]00Lee Holdsworth 18
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_holdsworth-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_lowndsie-1.jpg]00Craig Lowndes 888
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_moffat-1.jpg]00James Moffat 34
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_mostert-1.jpg]00Chas Mostert 55
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_percat-1.jpg]00Nick Percat 8
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_percat-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_pye-1.jpg]00Scott Pye 2
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_r-kelly-1.jpg]00Rick Kelly 15
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_reynolds-1.jpg]00David Reynolds 9
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_rulo-1.jpg]00Alex Rullo 62
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_scotty-1.jpg]00Scott McLaughlin 17
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_slade-1.jpg]00Tim Slade 14
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_t-kelly-1.jpg]00Todd Kelly 7
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_t-kelly-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_tander-1.jpg]00Garth Tander 33
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[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_van-gisbergen-1.jpg]00Shane Van Gisbergen 97
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_van-gisbergen-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_waters-1.jpg]00Cameron Waters 6
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_waters-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_whincup-1.jpg]00Jamie Whincup 88
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_whincup-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_winterbottom-1.jpg]00Mark Winterbottom 5
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_winterbottom-2.jpg]00
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/supercars-perth-7th-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_wood-1.jpg]00Dale Wood 99
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This gallery features a couple of shots of each car, in alphabetical order (Driver’s surname)

With DJR Team Penske taking it to Red Bull and passing them, plus Chas Mostert finding his mojo again, not to mention Garth Tander and GRM turning into a remarriage made in Heaven, Supercars has become exciting again, (not before time!), but sadly, here in Western Australia, the fans don’t seem to buying it, nor for that matter are the sponsors –  the event and the WA Sporting Car Club appear unable to attract sponsorship dollars.

I haven’t seen official attendance figures, however the crowd on Sunday was barely a crowd, there were metres and metres of blank white advertising fencing around the circuit and very little in the way of merchandising. It was particularly telling at the Red Bull trailer, where the girls were actively trying to give away material and pull people into the stand. Last year, the same girls were dismissively offhand – “Sorry, if you’re not a team member, there’s no sense in queuing, or trying to buy anything.”

Of course, the boom times are over in the West – yes, they’ll be back, but not for a couple of years, people simply don’t have the discretionary dollars, times are tough and it’s very expensive to live in Perth. Yet that reality doesn’t seem to have registered with Supercars management. A family of five (mum, dad and three kids would pay around $300.00 to get in, plus another $100.00 – $150.00 for pit passes, then there’s food, drink and the inevitable merchandising souvenirs. I very much doubt a family of five would get away with paying less than around $600.00+ for the day.

Last year, Supercars introduced the ‘Meet the Drivers’ walk, it was free, extremely popular and worked, a really great idea, letting the fans get up close to their heroes. So successful, they dropped it this year! A friend of ours asked various officials (around the Control Tower area), whether it was happening again, but nobody could give her an answer. Now I don’t know the reasons why, but the ongoing lack of interest in grass roots fans will eventually bite – perhaps it already is and as I mentioned earlier, there is already a lack of interest by potential sponsors.

Scotty Celebrates!

The bogan in every Aussie motor racing fan loves a victory burn - out and Scotty McLaughlin didn't let us down - he had a lot to celebrate with a hugely successful weekend in the West!

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Yet, there was a great programme on the Sunday, although nothing really happened until around 10.30am – once upon a time, you needed to be at the track by 8.00am, or you’d miss the start of the excitement. Not this time. We used to plan on leaving the house by 6.30am at the latest, to try and get there by 8.00am. On Sunday, we didn’t leave home until 8.15am and after having parked the car and caught the free bus to the circuit, plus queueing to pick up our tickets, we were walking by the corporate boxes by 9.05am.

Stadium Super Trucks at Barbagallo Raceway May 2017

Stadium Super Trucks is the official name, but I very quickly named it Cut Snake (as in mad) Racing. It's the first time this circus has come to Perth and it is magnificent entertainment, with drivers giving a real show - a sort of racing wrestling. I've posted quite a few photos, in sequence, as they whole thing was almost unbelievable, But I'll let the photos do the talking.

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The Stadium Super Trucks were a magnificent addition, pure entertainment, even the corporate guests became animated! Absolutely wonderful stuff and the Australian GT Championship round was beautiful to watch – incredible racing and stunning cars. But no sign of the Dunlop Super 2 Series? And I don’t know whether it was just me, but the Supercars sounded far louder than the last couple of years – my ears are still ringing, good to see – hear? There ain’t nothing like 25 V8s straining at the leash waiting for the green light. We sure as hell don’t want Supercars to become the pussy sounding event that F1 has become!

Australian GT Racing Championships, Perth Round, Sunday 7th May 2017

This is a fabulous race series and all motor sport fans are very grateful to see the teams make the long journey across the desert to the West. The racing was full on, long and genuine. I haven't sorted the photos out into team order, rather I've left them in sequence, to tell the story of the day's racing.

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I’ve long thought the whole Supercar circus was getting out of hand in terms of costs to both teams and fans, even the TV broadcasts have become ludicrously expensive with the Foxtel deal taking the cake as an absolute rip off. There comes a time when events and goods simply price themselves out of the market. Sure, fans might initially be angry and miss not being able to afford to attend a race meeting, or watch the broadcast from another state, but at some point they will replace their interest with enthusiasm for something else and if the kids don’t grow up with the sport, they probably won’t form an adult interest. Less teenagers are getting driving licences, at some stage, it will no longer be a rite of passage and interest in motorsport will wane. The accountants at Supercars have been very successful, it’s just a shame they obviously regard marketing as unnecessary. Something needs to change and certainly there is a desperate need for change here in Perth.

It is of course, easy to point a finger at organisations and in the case of the WA Sporting Car Club, one feels terrible doing so – the club is made up of wonderful volunteers who love their motorsport and give their heart and souls to ensure race days (and there are a lot of them during the year), are a success, but it is obvious management at the club has dropped the ball, in terms of the Supercars round. I don’t wish to offend, however I love the sport and don’t want to see it fade away, as the approach to marketing and sales has fallen short of what’s required in an admittedly tough environment. The metres of blank signage space is testament to a failure at some level.

Barbagallo Raceway May 2017

[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0244-001.jpg]120Top Hat Man
This guy's at the track every year, an insitution
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_img_20170507_095259.jpg]10The DJRPenske boys
Fabian and Scotty with my wife Ann - she's a big Scotty fan, so much so, she's now a Ford supporter - Volvo annoyed her.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_img_20170507_095407.jpg]10The GRM Boys
Garth looking more relaxed than he's looked for a couple of years and James, again with my wife Ann.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0103.jpg]10Dad and his Boy
I don't know who they are, but this guy should get the World's Best Dad title - he's there with his son every year and it was great to see the little fella was able to stand up for a while to watch the races.
[img src=http://www.gregross.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/barbagallo-raceway-may-2017/thumbs/thumbs_imgp0206.jpg]00Blank advertising space
Something is terribly wrong when there is this much blank advertising space around the track at the major meeting of the year.
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Nobody’s asking me, but if I was organising things for next year’s event, I’d create excitement in the lead-up, by staging a family friendly event at the track prior to the Supercars, make it affordable, encourage mum to come along, have a marquee for mums, where they get a manicure – perhaps a talk by Simone De Silvestro – I’m sure Harvey Norman would contribute, give families a special deal on tickets for the Supercars event. Throw in driver education for young people with recognised motorsport figures. As for advertising space around the circuit – if you’ve got to offer deals, do so! The market dictates. Go in early.

The opportunity is also there to have a good sized truck and machinery display during the Supercars round – Roger Penske didn’t come to Perth as he likes the weather! WA is a big market (in Australian terms) for his products and most blokes who like motorsport also like and quite possibly work with trucks and machinery. As anybody who’s attended the DTM racing rounds in Europe knows, the car manufacturers all have great displays on race weekends, admittedly, it won’t happen here – Barbagallo, the main luxury car dealer in Perth, already has the track naming rights and attendant signage, but does their contract forbid other manufacturers from displaying or advertising at the track? Perhaps for cars, (and boats?), but not for trucks and machinery.

There is much to be talked about, both with potential corporate partners and sponsors and also the State government, this is a wonderful exciting event. The basis is there to rebuild on, the drivers and teams gave us fantastic racing and excitement, Supercars and the WA Sporting Car Club owe it to them and the fans to bring the soul back into the circus.

PS: A couple of records were broken during Sunday’s Supercar round – no safety car and Roland Dane didn’t appear on television moaning.

Greg Ross

 

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