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Just sent out a few minutes ago from Subaru Canada:


Mississauga, ON (November 23, 2003) ? After 12 years of competition in the Canadian Rally Championship Series, where Subaru has won the Canadian Manufacturers? Championship for the past five consecutive years and six times in total, Subaru Canada Inc. has decided that it will not compete in the 2005 season.

According to Brian Hyland, director, sponsorships and distribution for Subaru Canada, Inc., ?There were a lot of factors that led to this decision. Subaru invested a great deal of money and much effort in the series over the past six years while we were the title sponsor. We also tried to assist the sanctioning body, the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS) in every way we could to make this a more viable proposition for sponsors, event organizers and competitors alike.?

Subaru has sponsored or presented the championship series along with Yokohama from 1998 until 2003. This year Subaru was the primary financial contributor to the series because Yokohama decided not to continue its association with CARS after the 2003 season. ?Because there was no other major sponsor this year, Subaru?s costs increased dramatically,? Hyland said. ?Along with the costs associated with running the team, it became nearly prohibitive, but Subaru would have continued if there had been a solid marketing plan in place for 2005 from CARS that included additional sponsors.?

One of Subaru?s concerns had been the series? lack of a professional marketing approach. In 2003, CARS made an effort to put together a marketing company to promote the National series, but it did not last the full year. For 2004, Subaru insisted that a solid marketing plan had to be developed in order for it to continue. Subaru worked in conjunction with Jud Buchanan and Keith Townsend, who formed Rally Development Group (RDG), a marketing and promotions company. Its goal was to work with all of the individual rally event organizers to increase the professionalism and overall image of the series and to bring more sponsors into the series.

In January of this year, RDG and CARS entered into a five-year marketing and broadcast rights agreement. RDG took over marketing of the series and CARS continued to look after all the regulatory aspects of the sport. ?We knew Buchanan and Townsend from both rallying and other business associations,? Hyland explained. Buchanan was the former motorsport manager for Yokohama Tires and Operations manager for CASCAR, while Townsend has been the organizer of the Rally of the Tall Pines for a number of years. ?We were really shocked when CARS terminated its agreement with RDG, especially after all the positive comments from competitors and organizers about the great things that they had seen happen in 2004 and the fact that RDG was in final negotiations to bringing another major sponsor on board for the 2005 season.

?I spoke with both CARS and ASN-Canada FIA about the situation. They reviewed the situation with RDG, but the difficulties could not be resolved. Without a strong marketing approach to the series, it doesn?t make sense for Subaru to continue to put money into it. We need to see a return on our investment.?

The withdrawal from the sponsorship and the decision to not field a team for the 2005 season does not mean that Subaru?s 13-year association with rallying in Canada will end. Hyland said, ?We will continue to be involved with the sport but to what extent, we can?t currently say. We will definitely be there with a contingency programme for all the Subarus currently competing.?

Subaru has won the most Manufacturers? titles in the series history. It has won multiple championships in many of the series classes, eight overall Canadian Drivers Championships, as well as many North American Rally Cup Championships.
 

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I don't know...I think they have made it quite clear as to why they have pulled out.

I think it's far better for them to have said "We are unhappy with what/who"

Rather than say "Due to a variaty of factors we will no longer be continuing our envolvement" and fuel the dreaded internet speculation and rumour mill.

I'm pleased with their candor

I would also like to Publicly give heartfelt Thanks to Subaru for all it's support of Canadian Rallysport.

You will be missed.
 

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This is very sad news.
Subaru team and implication will be missed that for shure....:-(

now ...on a more down to heart note....what will it change for us the competitor that are not in the subaru canada team ?

How much -$$ are we talking ?
if this $ cant be replace for 2005.... what doz it mean ?
No TV? i guess ?
No TV means less exposer for the big guys(that use 90% of the tv time any way ;) ) and less exposer for the organiser of the rally....so ? it probably will make our registration fee go skyhi ?

what % of this $ was going to the rally organiser ?
what% of the $ was going to the travel found ?





Alain Lavoie
24Rallyteam
http://www.abikeonline.com/24rallyteam/
 

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Sad announcement, as Subaru Canada has been much more than a factory team. Subaru has helped the series, but Stewart and the CanJam crew has helped others in the sport tremendously and had a very personal impact on my growth in the sport.

I know we'll see the crew around at events, but will miss the outrageous cars and the professionalism they brought to the sport.

Regards, John
 

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Congratulation on Subaru decision.

Finally the bunch of amateurs who try run everything in this sport (that includes their own rally cars) will realized that it is a time to take a hike?and find a real job.

Sadly the ?new stars? that wants to run this ?business? are not different. The only difference is - they have a little faster cars and appetite for better peace of pie.

Solution?

I am not sure if there is any at this time.

Jerry
 

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It is a sad day in Canadian Rally to see Subaru pull the plug on their 'factory' team. There is no question that they brought with them an aura of professionalism and certainly handed out more than their fair share of good will at the events.
There is no question that the landscape of Canadian Rally will change ...
Thanks to Subaru and particlularly the SRTC crew who brought so much energy and spirit to the events!

2005 will be interesting ...
 

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My question would be, what were Subarus plans before the cancellation of the agreement? We will never really know but I'm sure there will be lots of speculation about this. Or is this a political move to force the hand of CARS to accept a new agreement with RDG?

So anyone want to guess what happens to the cars now?
 

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This is the 3rd time that this has happened to rally in Canada. I got involved in the mid 80's and was involved till '97. I saw General Tire be involved and sponsor some teams (not sure at what level) and the series, the sport was growing (under CASC-Rally)and then General Tire pulls out, not enough return on investment. Sport goes in a bit of a slump and then Michelin tires comes on board. Sponsors drivers (again not sure at what level) and the series, TV coverage arrives and the sport is growing (under CARS). Then Michelin pulls out, not enough return on investment, only sponsor too much of burden to carry by one sponsor (reasons given). TV coverage goes away, series slows down. Third try Subaru comes on board, backs factory team(s), CRC series, TV coverage again, series growing (new cars, etc.). Subaru pulls out, not enough return on investment, only sponsor too much of a burden to carry for one sponsor.

I hope that after this one CARS will learn that more than one sponsor is needed to fund series / TV coverage / etc. If you have more companies sharing the pie when one leaves it does not hurt so much and you can manage until a replacement is found.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. Besides the insuring of a competition vehicle problem in Ontario this gives me another reason to stay out of the sport for a while longer. I'll stick to left turns at local short tracks where with the few sponsors I have it does not cost me anything to run the 5 - 7 races a year.
 

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> this gives me another reason to stay out of the sport for a while
>longer. I'll stick to left turns at local short tracks
>where with the few sponsors I have it does not cost me
>anything to run the 5 - 7 races a year.


I rather go for quality than quantity, If I had to stick "to left turns" I would rather stay home and watch paint dry.:+

Jorge
 

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This happens to all motorsports and their sponsors at some time or another. Once the sponsoring company has achieved its goals, sees a better ROI somewhere else, or has taken a new marketing direction, it pulls out of the sport. I don't think anyone can dispute that Subaru has very little left to prove in Canadian rallying (as a team), or very little publicity left to gain (as a title sponsor).

You will notice that they mentioned that the contingency programs will continue, so the people running Subarus will still be supported.

Their presence will be missed, but it isn't the end of the world for Canadian rallying.

Adrian
 

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Adrian, you are dead on in saying tha Subaru has gotten most everything from rallying, but I feel that is to a degree, not the point. Subaru has repeatedly expressed interest in continuing a sponsorship in rallying, and has repeatedly told CARS what they are prepared to do, and how they will stick around if a new title sponsor for the series. This condition has been the case for the last four years (3 years with CARS, 1 year with RDG). The fact that Nothing has really hapened (Before anyone losses it on me and says you don't know about this or that or this other thing, I don't because it hasn't happened). There is a big difference between havign a sponsor move on because they have done all they wanted, and scaring off a sponsor who was prepared to stay, even if in a reduced capacity.

Now CARS has said the series will continue, saying the necessary financial resources exist. I think at this point, to calm competitors who might be thinking of running elsewhere if at all, CARS needs to step up and disclose what these resources are!

This is a scary reminder of the trouble that CASCAR experienced, with the upstart ISA, a new championship that promised the moon, whose only title sponsor was in recievership in the US!! That debacle cost ALL Canadian motorsports by scaring potential sponsors. Let's show sponsors we have our heads on right, and see this for what it is and sort it out.
 

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Once the CARS/RDG split was made public Subaru pulling support for the CRC was only a matter of time. It's very unfortunate that they also pulled the plug on their team. This tells me that they don't think there is much hope for the CRC without them as title sponsor (ie. without a title sponsor).

It seems as though my timing is impecable as always... been there done that comes to mind :-(

In 1992 (?) I entered the Esso Protec/BFGoodrich F1600 series. Entry fees were $350/race, 6 or 8 races were on TV, there was a prize fund. Promoter wasn't getting enough money, sponsors pulled the plug, by 1994-5 (?) there were no series sponsors, no TV, no prize fund, entry fees eventually rose to ~$900/race, grids were down by at least 50%. By 1998 I could no longer afford to play regularly... by 2000 I quit altogether. 2004 the series was cancelled 3-4 weeks before the series opener.

What now for CRC?
My _guess_ is a very similar fate if no series sponsor that is willing to put in a similar ammount of cash as Subaru (whatever that was) is found...
2005 - rally entrey fees will just about double
- TV coverage will dissapear
- number of competitors will decrease dramatically
2006 and beyond... who knows, but if no series sponsor is found it will not be good.

I've spent the last 3 months amassing parts for my Group 5 rally car project. The last month I've spent stripping, re-enforcing, caging etc. So far I'm into this for about $6k, with anothr $6-7k to go for the car, then $25k or so to update by tow vehicle and trailer. All of a sudden the prospects for attracting sponsorship are looking pretty grim... so now what do I do? Continue to throw my money at this project, or cut my losses and continue the stock car racing I've been doing since 1998?

This really sucks :-(

-Martin.
 

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Isn't this similar to what Mitsu did in WRC, basically they were dominating so they decided to take a step back for a while and now they are back. With the big rule changes in WRC I hope that there is just going to be a transition period where the manufacturers are deciding what to do with their programs and then it will be back stronger than ever.
 

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>What now for CRC?
>My _guess_ is a very similar fate if no series sponsor that
>is willing to put in a similar ammount of cash as Subaru
>(whatever that was) is found...
>2005 - rally entrey fees will just about double
> - TV coverage will dissapear
> - number of competitors will decrease dramatically
>2006 and beyond... who knows, but if no series sponsor is
>found it will not be good.

One thing you have to look at is where the sponsorship money was spent. Those are the things that will change with the loss of the RDG/Subaru money IF replacements are not found.
Assuming the worst ...
From a series perspective
- TV and the tow fund are gone
- events and teams will have to look after their own media relations
- marketing to encourage growth will be downloaded to the clubs.

from an event perspective
- other exposure plans will have to be used to engage sponsors (we were even told by one that the TV thing is a 'bonus')
- some promotion items will need to be cut ... (no rocky Poster in 2005 - no car show displays?)
- The event will have to run a tight budget to make sure it can break even.
- The numbers of competitors will decrease dramatically in 2005 ... but will increase again in 2006

Being involved in the organisation of many events, I can tell you that national events may be different next year, and WILL face many changes, but also they CAN be run without increasing entry fees (double the fee, loose half of the entries ... bad formula)

Will we see a Rocky and PFR with only western entries ... who knows, but we had better be prepared for it!

Hopefully 2005 will be, at worst, a re-grouping year that will allow for the setting of a stage that will bring the best out of rallying in Canada.

"I've spent the last 3 months amassing parts for my Group 5 rally car project. The last month I've spent stripping, re-enforcing, caging etc. So far I'm into this for about $6k, with anothr $6-7k to go for the car, then $25k or so to update by tow vehicle and trailer."

Spending half the money on the car than on the tow rig, and buidling for a class that isn't run in Canada?
 

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>Hopefully 2005 will be, at worst, a re-grouping year that
>will allow for the setting of a stage that will bring the
>best out of rallying in Canada.

Let's hope so, my view is a litle more doom and gloom, but I'd gladly be proven wrong.

>"I've spent the last 3 months amassing parts for my Group 5
>rally car project. The last month I've spent stripping,
>re-enforcing, caging etc. So far I'm into this for about
>$6k, with anothr $6-7k to go for the car, then $25k or so to
>update by tow vehicle and trailer."
>
>Spending half the money on the car than on the tow rig, and
>buidling for a class that isn't run in Canada?

Interesting comment re: Group 5
In the request for comments regarding proposed rule changes for CARS it said...

"8) Group 5
There were several different proposals on adding Group 5,
mostly based on copying the SCCA definition. The committee supports the concept. The only details in question are how to deal with the maximum displacement restriction in NRR II.D.10. Rather than change the limits applicable to all vehicles, the committee suggests only changing the limit for 2wd normally aspirated vehicles, and making it 5100cc.
Question to the sport:
Are you in favour of adding Group 5 (matching SCCA's
wording) modifying NRR II.D.10 as above?"

To me this sounds like it's practically a done deal... but then again, who knows. I did all that I could do, which was give my feedback to CARS and let them know I'm already building a car for this. If they don't approve Group 5 I'd like to know why.. it seems to me that they'll need all the competitors thay can get for 2005. If they don't I can run in the US, or compete in Open, looks like there won't be too mcuh competition there next year :)

Re: spending half the ammount of money building a car vs the tow rig.
I can build a car that can complete events for $12k, but I need to get there and get home. My '88 big block Suburbam might make it, but I'd spend the money I saved by not upgrading on gas...

Besides, a diesel cube van and trailer have many other uses, and will hopefully retain a significant portion of their value, unlike a rally car, so spending my money there isn't necessarily so dumb.

-Martin.
 

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>Re: spending half the ammount of money building a car vs the
>tow rig.
>I can build a car that can complete events for $12k, but I
>need to get there and get home. My '88 big block Suburbam
>might make it, but I'd spend the money I saved by not
>upgrading on gas...
>
>-Martin.


I've been talking with Martin as he's building his car, and as he tied for his class win at Lanark. I can guarantee that this guy is full-blown UK-origin gearhead fabrication-expert tire-cutting stock-car-and-ice-racing talent-exhibiting genuine article. He's committed, he's prepping, we need more like him in the sport, and we can't let him down.

ACP
Flirting with the laws of physics.
 
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