James Strong Becomes V8 Supercars Chairman

By Community | November 29, 2012

Leading businessman James Strong has been recruited as the new V8 Supercars chairman on Wednesday as a massive coup for the sport.

The former Qantas chief executive, who recently stepped down as chairman of Woolworths, was appointed to replace long-serving chairman Tony Cochrane.

Strong arrives with a strong background in motorsport as a director of Dorna Sports, which manages MotoGP worldwide, and former Australian Grand Prix Corporation board member.

One of Strong’s immediate goals is to finalise a new media rights deal, which is due to be announced next month and is reportedly valued at about $350 million over five years.

The Australian-based championship currently includes rounds in New Zealand and Abu Dhabi and will enter the United States next year with a round in Austin, Texas.

Four-time champion Jamie Whincup believes Strong needs to look at expanding the current 15-race schedule and particularly examine the possibility of taking the V8 show to the TV-friendly Asian region.

“We do need to finetune our appearances overseas so I think he can go a long way in achieving that,’ said Whincup.

“I wouldn’t mind going up through the Asian countries but probably not get too far away from our time zones so the guys back here in Australia can watch it.

“So draw a line up from Perth and Sydney and there are plenty of Asian countries with awesome tracks that we can visit during the year.”

Strong also arrives as the V8 Supercars championship prepares to enter a new era next year, with traditional rivals Holden and Ford to be joined by teams racing Nissan and Mercedes cars.

“All forms of motorsport are a passion of mine,” Strong, who was appointed as a non-executive chairman, said in a statement.

“V8 Supercars is without doubt the leading motorsport category in this region and a force worldwide.

“The sport is in wonderful shape for the future and I want to play an active part in the next period of evolution. The potential is unlimited.”