The Isle of Man TT could become part of a ‘world series’ it has been confirmed by the event’s commercial rights holders.
A feasibility study has been launched into whether TT-branded events could be held internationally as part of a global race series, possibly as early as 2014.
A consultation exercise is due to start soon as the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Economic Development considers whether an international TT race series could help develop the event – and the Isle of Man – around the world.
News the TT is looking at launching its own ‘world championship’ is a huge turnaround in fortune for the world’s most famous road race.
First run in 1907, the TT has defied critics and detractors to celebrate a series of milestones despite the massive setback of losing world Championship status in the 1970s.
Now, almost 40 years on from that blow, the TT has gone from strength-to-strength. It marked its centenary in 2007, marks 100 years of racing on the Mountain circuit in 2010, has attracted major teams and riders from national and international short circuit championships, enjoys a global TV audience, sees the race action followed live around the world and has attracted major global brands as sponsors – including Monster Energy, Dainese, PokerStars and royal London 360.
The feasibility review was confirmed in a short statement which said:
“The move is part of the plans to develop the TT brand internationally and promote the Isle of Man.”
“The TT Races, which have been held on the Isle of Man since 1907, is a significant contributor to the positive national identity of the Isle of Man internationally and it is also the Island’s most recognised brand.”
“The Department funds the TT Races to drive economic development on the Isle of Man to generate tourism and commercial income and to provide a sports-based platform for Isle of Man-based companies to make business contacts, as well as profiling the benefits of businesses incorporating on the Isle of Man.”
“The intention is to build a platform that will increase the return on investment for the Isle of Man Government in the TT Races brand through sponsorship, television, licensing and hospitality, generate revenue-earning opportunities for the competitors and teams who take part, and to provide economic and commercial benefits for the destinations and other commercial partners who host rounds.”
The statement confirmed that, if the feasibility review showed the proposal is viable, the department will look to instigate a programme of events for the 2014 racing season.
No details of how the world series may operate have been released, although Motor Cycle News has reported it could be a six-round championship featuring a core of 15-20 regular riders supplemented by local racers at each round.
MCN says the series could open in the United States, with races in the Far East and Asia before the championship concludes at the 2014 TT in the Isle of Man. It adds the series is expected to predominantly feature all-new venues rather than existing road racing circuits.
Economic Development Minister Allan Bell said:
“We are in the early stages of a consultation process and would welcome approaches from potential partners who are interested in the venture.”
“The TT Races, as one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious sporting events, has incredible heritage and attracts interest worldwide from fans.”
“We want to develop and grow this global audience for the benefit both of the event and the Isle of Man.”