Never mix business with pleasure? Well… for some of Australia’s most successful and savvy businessmen, this blend helps deliver the perfect motor racing experience within Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.
While competing wheel-to-wheel at up to 280km/h in the iconic Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Carrera Cup’s semi-professional drivers are using the racing environment to strengthen their business relationships to ensure they have a competitive edge off the circuit, as well as on it.
TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge frontrunners Tony Bates and Marc Cini both enjoy the spirited on-track competition and the vibrant off-track atmosphere that the championship offers competitors.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge is a ‘race within a race’ for semi-professional racers in the Carrera Cup championship, which also features the likes of professional stars Steven Richards and Craig Baird.
Bates, who has raced successfully in the one-make Commodore Cup, V8 Utes and V8 Supercars’ Development Series, believes the package offered to Carrera Cup competitors is impossible to top within the Australian motorsport marketplace.
“You can’t beat the environment that we race in. It’s the main stage and you get amazing exposure with the crowds and live TV,” he explains.
“The level of presentation is very high and there is a significant interest in what we are doing from the crowds at each event. At the Grand Prix, we’re on just before Formula 1 and at the V8 rounds we’re usually on right before the main game. We’re the entrée before the main event and that means people watch what you are doing.”
Bates’s successful transportation business, Alternative Freight Services (AFS), adorns the side of his Carrera Cup race car but he believes the championship offers more than just a branding and exposure boost for business.
“The ability to bring clients to each event is fantastic, and you’re bringing them to a big event – something major,” he explained.
“The crowds you get around the Porsche paddock are amazing and people you bring along are blown away by the size and scope of it all. It’s a great atmosphere for them. There’s no other category like Porsche that gives you the opportunity to bring people into the lounge, have a coffee and something to eat and mix with the other drivers and other supporters and sponsors. To give them that experience and give them access to major events is something I don’t think you can get anywhere else.”
Melbourne driver Marc Cini has used his lengthy association with Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – he is the series’ most experienced driver – to not only enjoy the on-track competition but promote his off-track businesses in the process.
His business (Hallmarc Property Group) used Craig Baird’s Carrera Cup racer to promote their latest Melbourne development, Arthur Apartments, earlier this season at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.
As competitive in business as he is on track, Cini says there’s nothing like the challenge of competing in the level playing field that Carrera Cup offers.
“First and foremost there’s identical equipment, and if you’re challenging yourself within a sport then having the same equipment is an imperative,” Cini explains.
“Because of that, the learning curve is easier because you’re benchmarking yourself against everybody in the field in the same equipment. The cars are really good, as good as any race car. The GT cars may be more equipped and more technological but a Cup car is a real race car that is fantastic to drive.
“Our field at the moment, front to back, is covered by just two seconds at a track like Townsville. You learn your craft to the point where, because the equipment is the same, the field closes up – you can’t go out and just buy horsepower!”
Business and pleasure: an otherwise questionable combination that allows some of Australia’s top businessmen to get the most out of their motor racing experience, on and off the track.
Bates, Cini and the entire Porsche Carrera Cup Australia field will next line up at Mount Panorama for the iconic Bathurst 1000 event on October 08-11, 2015.