The major organisers of historic racing are planning for a 10 per cent reduction in activity in 2009 in the face of the global economic downturn. A cut-back in the number of race meetings and championship rounds is likely across the sport, and clubs are urging circuits to peg back increases in track hire costs.
“It’s a year for consolidation and caution, and providing what our members want to do,” said Christopher Tate of the Masters Series. “All the evidence is that people who have historic racing cars will do all they can to race them, and recent auctions show that, for instance, the market for pre-1978 3-litre F1 cars remains very strong.”
Oli McCrudden of the Historic Formula One Championship said: “We may do one event fewer in 2009. Circuit prices need to reflect the current situation, as that’s where the major cost is. That cost has to be reflected in entry fees.”
The Historic Sports Car Club has already trimmed three days of racing in comparison to its 2008 calendar. “We have to be realistic and expect entries to be reduced, which means that some meetings will be marginal,” said Grahame White, the club’s CEO. “However, if circuits don’t increase hire charges, we will try not to increase entry fees.”
In other recession-led changes the Masters season will start later and closer to home than before, with the first major festival at Donington in early May rather than the late March date at Mugello in Italy held in ’08.