What can I say, I guess I knew we were truly in for a very special event when we showcased several million dollars worth of cars down on Sydney Harbour early last week and made it on the nightly news!
This was merely a small indicator of what was by far the biggest event we have ever hosted. Sydney certainly turned on the weather and the fans from around Australia and around the world converged en-masse on Sydney Motorsport Park to be a part of what we refer to as “The Festival of Awesome”.
It would be hard for me to put my finger on one single thing but there was a buzz around the whole event this year that I have not witnessed before. It may have been because we simply had so many cool things on offer but I think it was more than that.
I sincerely believe we have succeeded in bringing an event to the people that they truly wanted to see and this has been a long time coming. Yes, the time attack racing is a huge part of it but these days it is so much more than that.
Bringing the night drift back was something we considered a little risky but when 11,000 plus people filled the viewing areas it exceeded our expectations and I feel we not only put on the biggest drift show ever in this country but also the best.
The Show’n’Shine was also on another level this year with the Lowdown crew bringing in many top interstate entries including many new unveils.
The trade alley was also bristling with excitement this year and the effort brands put into their displays now is unprecedented. In fact, we had many spectators commenting this is the closest thing Australia has to a SEMA Trade Show!
Highlights for me? Well, Tim Slade – what can I say! Stepping into a car you have never driven before when your two predecessors are Shane Van Gisbergen and Le Mans winner Earl Bamber means you have big shoes to fill. I am sure nobody expected Sladey to smash it this far out of the ballpark and eclipse the Formula 3 record in the process! Congrats to Murray and the MCA team – it has been a long time coming.
The quality of all of the builds is also on another level. The engineering and construction of so many of not only the Pro and Pro-Am but also Open and Clubsprint and also the drift cars is truly amazing and a testament to the faith people have in our event.
Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best events he has ever been to is truly humbling and the fact he told me he would love to come back is quite special also and something we will work on.
[pullquote]Having Keiichi Tsuchiya tell me this is one of the best
events he has ever been to was truly humbling.[/pullquote]
Having the engineer of the Nissan R88, Alan Heaphy call me on Saturday night to tell me how much he enjoyed the event and congratulate us on a true world class event. In his words: “You know my history Ian, you know I have raced all around the world including Le Mans. I’m telling you what you put on here is on par with anything I have ever seen.”
Once again truly humbling words and a testament to my whole team putting their heart and soul into this event.
But most of all it is the fans that really make this event the success it is. Standing on the Drift Hill on Saturday night with current Formula Drift Champion Chris Forsberg and the fastest man in American time attack Cole Powelson from Lyfe Motorsport and a whole bunch of guys from Perth and Adelaide come up and tell us how they made the trip over and how amazing they thought our event was. This really drove home the enormity of it all. You love WTAC and WTAC is here to stay. And we are only going to get bigger!
Finally, a big “thank you” to all those who were instrumental in helping this event become a success. Firstly a big shoutout to all of our partners and sponsors. Destination NSW have been amazing and I can assure you they will be happy with the influx of people from around the country and around the world. We estimate this event injects over $40 million into the Australian economy with much of the money staying right here in NSW. Also a big thank you to our sanctioning body CAMS and in particular Scott McGrath who has been instrumental in ensuring our safety standards continue to improve as our cars continue to go faster.
Yokohama Tyre who have been with us from day one and their tyres continue to set records under the gruelling conditions we put them under with an exemplary safety record.
To all of the competitors exhibitors and fans who travelled from around the world to be here. You guys rock!
Last but not least our operations staff headed up by the best in the business, our event director Renato Loberto. A few short years ago we ran this with a crew of ten now we have well over 100 people making it all happen. Thanks to every single one of them.
Lastly we wave goodbye to my good friend and our head of marketing from day one, Greg Lysien as he has taken on the role of marketing manager with our friends at Haltech. We wish him all the best in the future and we would like to welcome our new head of marketing – David Lysien. Name sounds familar? Yep, it is Greg’s son and he is excited to be taking on this role after many years of working with the event in the background.
Much love to everyone and bring on WTAC 2017 – Bigger, better and even more awesome!
CEO – WTAC