There is no question that MSNZ’s recent appointment of a new motor racing National Championship Promoter has created confusion amongst competitors and circuit owners alike, as its previous promotor Speedworks still holds crucial event dates, and has the backing of a number of non-national championship categories including the NIERDC endurance series.
Velocity News made comment some eight months ago that in our opinion, the MSNZ tender for a promoter was akin to handing someone a “Poison Chalice,” and the emergence of PRA as a major future player supports that view.
We knew of the club-owning circuit’s dissatisfaction not only with the categories of motor racing but also being merely landlords with no voice in the direction of the sport. What we were not fully aware of was their resolve to form a collaborative organisation called PRA, an acronym for Premier Racing Authority, a ‘grand handle’ in itself, under the stewardship of Greg Lancaster as its Chairman. Lancaster founded TraNZam Lights that morphed into NZV8’s, the longest running and most successful motor racing category in the entire history of NZ motor racing.
In response to our questions, Lancaster obligingly provided us with an outline of how PRA will fulfil its charter, saying, “The PRA is like a cooperative with equalised surplus sharing arrangements between its members, which obviously would not be attractive to a commercial entity such as the privately owned circuits of Tony Quinn, read profit share.”
The current circuit members are Teretonga (Ian Richardson/Norma Burns), Timaru (Kevin Pateman/Karen Paddon) and Ruapuna (Grant Williams/Mark Wederell). Aside from Lancaster, Chris Abbott, barrister at law and one of the founding fathers of the the Taupo Motosport Park, is an adviser to PRA.
PRA incorporates a formal Charter and hangs its hat on the mantra “Stars In Cars”. Hard to argue with that ideology we would have thought, but without a ‘large bucket full of money’ not an easy thing to achieve in practice.
PRA propose to assist a yet to be appointed Series Co-ordinator to quote, “develop categories which reward talent rather than superior cars, recognise being in the entertainment business and evolve race meetings into events for spectator enjoyment. Develop a truly national annual calendar; and reduce costs and improve revenues for the benefit of competitors and circuits.”
Although seemingly South Island-focussed, Lancaster said, “No, this is not the case; the PRA objective is to deliver a true national series, beyond the Toyota Racing series. We are purely a governance body with no involvement in the many operational matters which make up a series of motor racing events, which are the province of Series Organisers and the circuits themselves. Our stated objective is to create four principal categories built on the four pillars of Parity, Gradualism, Sustainability and Careers.”
The PRA had initially set dates for 2023, however, with the recent appointment by MSNZ of a new promoter for its summer series championship categories and the unseemly wrangle between two parties over rights to the Super GT category, the PRA has decided to sit back and let the 2023 season play out before announcing its plans for 2024 and beyond.
Just how the PRA is going to accomplish all of these lofty goals remains to be seen. However, given its circuit-owning members resolve, and Lancaster’s proven track record, we say, watch this space.
Read more about Greg Lancaster here.