Pat Doran comes out in favour of promoted FIA championship
Now it is clear that the FIA Rallycross Championship will be a promoted series in 2013, one of the most prominent figures in the sport has made a clear statement in favour of the changes to the championship and endorsing the ability of IMG – the company that will run the championship – to transform the European Rallycross Championship into a worldwide success.
“I’ve always believed that a promoter could provide what we all acknowledge is missing from Rallycross and, like many others, I have been involved in lots of conversations over the years that have been based on that idea. None of them ever progressed but the belief that the right kind of promoter could make Rallycross fly has always been there, IMG can make Rallycross a household name,” said Doran.
After entering the sport in 1990, Doran has never been far from the spotlight and his influence within the sport is so great that it’s difficult to pin down a precise description of his role; championship-winning driver, deal maker, team owner, promoter, enthusiast, father of Britain’s best racer, Doran is omni-present and matches his passion for Rallycross with a depth of business success and knowledge.
The most obvious change that will be brought to the rebranded championship by IMG is a new race format, based on that used in Speedway in which the company has had enormous success. “I’ve seen what’s happened in Speedway over the years, IMG has made it a phenomenon. I’ve looked into using that kind of racing format in the past and can see the sense; it makes the event easier to understand for spectators and TV viewers and a version of that adapted for Rallycross could work very well,” said Doran who believes the time is right for Rallycross to become a more commercial sport. “There are lots of people running businesses and trying to build careers in Rallycross but they can only do that if the sport develops. It’s not just drivers and teams that need that, I had very little idea what was involved in running events until I got involved at Lydden. I don’t have anything to do with the day-to-day running of the track or events but I’m close enough to know what a huge effort goes into organising and running events. The circuits and clubs are being asked to change the way they work but there are benefits for them too, IMG can bring the commercial imperative the sport is missing. Everyone in Rallycross needs take the opportunity to learn and share IMG’s experience, but if they do that they will all benefit.”
With a broad view of Rallycross at all levels, Doran can understand the hesitancy of some to embrace change, but sees far reach benefits for the sport as a whole, “People are often frightened of change or the unknown but if you look at this properly and think about it there are clear gains for all classes in the FIA Championship, all drivers and teams will get more of the exposure they need to be able to race. A higher profile for Rallycross will also benefit national championships, when Rallycross is a sport that is better known it will improve things for everyone whatever level they race at because it is all Rallycross,” said Doran.
With experience in every aspect of Rallycross, Doran is well placed to judge. © Henk de Winter/RallycrossWorld.com