Encouraging greater competitor and club participation is the aim of MotorSport New Zealand personnel who manage race regulations, as they announce revisions of the “Clubman’s race” category rules for grassroots racers.
As in all aspects of New Zealand motorsport, improving the accessibility of grassroots, club-run competition is a key to maintaining and building participation numbers across the wider sport. Club level racing can utilise various regulations in Schedule Z (the official name of MotorSport NZ’s race regulation document), but concerns had been expressed that the current Clubman’s race category regulations were too restrictive for both competitors and race organisers (which are generally MotorSport NZ-affiliated clubs).
“Clubman’s racing is primarily about getting out there and having a go,” says MotorSport NZ President Wayne Christie. “It’s about the fun of competition, trying to better your own times, and the friendships formed with people just as passionate about motorsport as you are. Clubman’s racing is also about supporting your club with strong entry numbers for club-run events which are relatively affordable to participate in, to go racing in a safe and controlled environment in a virtually everyday car or that race car you’ve had sitting in the shed.”
Christie says MotorSport NZ’s Competitions Manager Elton Goonan has worked with the Race Advisory Commission and club representatives to relook at the Clubman’s race category rules.
“The revised Clubman’s race rules will now allow clubs to more easily run these entry-level races for those drivers keen to get their toe in the water,” says Christie. “Now the regulations allow clubs a more consultative process to create a Clubman’s race during one of their normal club days, and we hope that this will help encourage both old and new competitors to get on track and enjoying the pleasure of racing.”
Member clubs seeking to run a Clubman’s race event must ensure that they have tight controls in place around the performance of the competitors’ vehicles, i.e. speed management, and the minimum modifications allowed. These two key elements will help form the basis of the Clubman’s race regulations to ensure suitable speeds and provide a lower-risk environment for drivers. This means an appropriate level of safety apparel can be authorised and reduces the participation levy paid by competitors to MotorSport NZ via the event entry fees.
This new direction for Clubman’s race events will see organising clubs apply to MotorSport NZ to become an approved Clubman’s race event organiser. The club will supply MotorSport NZ with their proposed Clubman’s race rules and regulations that demonstrate how they intend to manage the speed of the cars both technically and sportingly, which could include methods such as limits to vehicle modifications or breakout times.
[The term ‘breakout times’ refers to a lap time set by the organising club, for example 1 minute, 30 seconds. If a driver sets a lap time that is faster than the specified breakout time, then they cannot continue to race in the Clubman’s race class at that event.]
“Once approved as a Clubman’s race provider,” says Christie, “the club will be able to make use of the lower participation levies and a lower enforceable level of safety apparel for competitors, which should help encourage more competitors to come and enjoy these races.
Ultimately by working with the clubs, MotorSport NZ aims to help them create a set of regulations that they can use to encourage competitors to come and get involved again. The key thing is that drivers are aware that once they set lap times outside the rules for Clubman’s racing, be it by bettering a set lap time or modifying the car outside those regulations, then they will need to move onto another class.
Clubs seeking further information on the Clubman’s race regulations are invited to contact Elton Goonan, Competitions Manager, by email: email@example.com.
Competitors keen to get back into Clubman’s racing are invited to talk to your local circuit-related club about getting a Clubman’s race organised.
The new Clubman’s race regulations will soon be available on the MotorSport NZ website, www.motorsport.org.nz, and will be distributed to all member clubs.