Darwin is up for the long haul in Supercars – Auto Action

By Paul Gover

A slot on the 2024 Supercars calendar is only the start of the plans for the northernmost leg of the touring car championship in Darwin.

Darwin has a long-term commitment to Supercars and a plan to continually develop the Northern Territory’s biggest sporting event, the Darwin Triple Crown Supercars Indigenous Round.

The Hidden Valley track is also intended to become the bedrock for a growing motorsport program in coming years.

“We celebrated 25 years of Supercars in 2023. We’ve definitely committed to the long-term of the sport,” the CEO of the Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC), Suzana Bishop, told AUTO ACTION.

“It’s the single biggest event for the year. It energises the NT.

“We want to make it uniquely NT. So you know you have to come to Darwin to experience Supercars that way.”

NTMEC was established in 1999 as Hidden Valley Promotions with a single major goal.

“It was started to deliver Supercars,” said Bishop.

“We grew over the years to incorporate different genres and sports. But it has always been the foundation and backbone of why we exist.”

She is a relatively new arrival, starting in Darwin at the beginning of this year, and visited the Gold Coast 500 with her executive team to broaden their experience and knowledge.

“I’m here to see a different offering of Supercars. A different style to what we do. And to bring the team to learn,” she said.

“It’s to try to get inspiration. I’m here to learn. And take the time to refresh and reimagine opportunities.”

Bishop has had a varied career in major events, most recently working at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne but also serving time as head of activations for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

Her brief is to take Darwin to the next level and she has a plan, although she is not ready – yet – to share.

“With any event, every year you become stale. If you’re not re-inventing to keep up with what the customers require, you fall behind,” she said.

“We’re the only event in the country that has the combination of drags, bikes and car racing. We want to become the motorsport haven.”

Bishop also sees the Indigenous Round as key.

“A lot of our time is spent thinking about the partnership with the Larrakia Nation. We will continue with the Indigenous Round.

“It goes both ways. It not only educates motorsport lovers about Indigenous culture but brings more indigenous people into the sport.

“That is definitely something we want to build upon every year. It’s about making it stronger and growing that connection.”

“About 50 per cent of the people who come, come again. There is a loyal interstate fan base for us.

“The destination is enhanced. 80 per cent of interstate visitors say they have a better view of the Northern Territory because of the event.

“And Territorians feel prouder because of Supercars.”

Looking to her five-year plan, she can see opportunity with the Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs, as well as other possibilities.

They could even include links to Asian motorsport, although she will not go into any detail.

“Not yet. We’ll let you know when the time is right,” Bishop said.

AUTO ACTION’s latest issue #1875, is out now in its digital form downloadable right here, and available in all good newsagents and stockists near you, continuing on as Australia’s most trusted independent voice in motorsport.

If you can’t get a copy locally, you can also subscribe to the latest issue of Auto Action print or digital edition of the magazine here. For more of the latest motorsport news.


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Source: autoaction.com.au

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