THE V8 Supercars Championship is dead.
Effective 1 July 2016, the V8 name is gone. Replaced with a new name, the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which will allow the category to introduce new engines, new body shapes and the new Gen2 formula from next year.
The change follows the announcement today that Virgin Australia has become the naming rights partner of V8 Supercars for the next five years.
V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said the partnership with Virgin Australia was a major endorsement of the sport.
“We are delighted to welcome one of Australia’s most recognisable and premium brands as our naming rights partner for the next five years,” he said.
“Supercars generate $250 million in economic and tourism benefits to the cities and regions we visit in every state and territory and Virgin Australia will play a vital role in continuing to drive this growth.”
Virgin Australia Brand Ambassador Jamie Whincup said it was an honour to welcome Virgin Australia to the sport.
“Having such a prestigious brand behind us is testament to the category as we continue to grow from strength to strength,” said the six-time champion.
“Just as Virgin Australia prides itself on delivering the very best service for its passengers, we aim to put on the greatest show in sport, and with the airline by our side, I know we will keep delivering an ever-improving package for our fans.”
2015 Champion Mark Winterbottom echoed the excitement of the drivers about the announcement.
“Today heralds a very important day for our championship and sport as a whole so it is with great pleasure we all welcome the new partnership with Virgin Australia and Supercars. Our sport, like Virgin Australia, is truly national so personally I could not think of a better alliance for the naming rights partnership of Supercars.”
As the naming rights partner, Virgin Australia will carry 26 drivers and their support staff from the 11 teams together with thousands of fans around the country each year through its new Supercars Travel dedicated Virgin Australia Supercars Championship travel platform.
This platform will help fans travel to races, which take place in each state and the Northern Territory across ten months of the year.
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said the airline was a strong supporter of Australian sport and was very excited to be the naming rights partner of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
“With two million fans attending races in 2015, V8 Supercars is Australia’s third highest attended sport and we look forward to supporting its continued growth,” he said.
“As Naming Rights Partner, we will work with Supercars to generate further economic and tourism benefits for communities across Australia, including through the launch of our new Supercars Travel platform.”
Supercars is the fourth most watched sport on TV with 59 million viewers across Australia last year.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is also broadcast to 87 countries with a potential reach of 233 million homes.
The next round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be the Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway, from 6-8 May.