MAY 10, 2001
Change of Emphasis in Britain
THE promotion of motor racing in Britain continues its upheaval under the auspices of British Motorsport Promoters with the announcement that the Power Tour package is to be dropped at the end of this season.
Power Tour boasts the two most important feeder series to Formula 1, the British Formula 3 championship and the British Formula Ford championship, which between them have produced almost every top flight Grand Prix driver over the last 40 years.
The Power Tour was instigated by the British Racing Drivers' Club in the late 1990s as a means of promoting British motor racing to a broader band of trackside spectators than the diehard race fans. At that time the two headline series', Formula 3 and the British GT championship were struggling to draw people through the gate while the British Touring Car Championship, with a full support package, was regularly pulling in 30,000 attendees.
The Power Tour was removed from its originators at the BRDC at the start of 2000 after the circuit owners Octagon and SFX International who form BMP refused to allow Power Tour events at their facilities unless the package was put under BMP control. It is dealings such as this by BMP which have prompted a governmental enquiry into the modus operandi of the syndicate by Britain's Office of Fair Trading.
In the meantime criticism has been leveled at BMP's running of Power Tour events by the competitors themselves, including the running of races to a strict time format instead of to a set number of laps. BMP believes that casual racegoers will understand the concept of a 20-minute race better than a 15-lap race for example, but in the event of red flag situations this has severely affected the amount of running competitors get in return for their entry fees.
In response BMP imposed the unfortunately-named 'injury time' - an extra five minutes to be added in the event of a race interruption. It has since been pointed out that a driver may well be injured if a race requires interruption and a new tag is currently being sought.
BMP has now announced that it will drop its promotional support for the supporting package to the British GT and Formula 3 championships. Instead it will focus on the two headline series and leave the supporting championships for Formula Ford, Ford Fiesta, TVR Tuscan and Porsche racers to fend for themselves as it seeks to: "maximize the television, sponsorship and all other commercial opportunities" of Formula 3 and GT racing in Britain.
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