African Motorsport (Infrastucture, teams and drivers)

African Motorsport (Infrastucture, teams and drivers)

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Discussion

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Hello,
I just wanted to start the discussion about the development of motorsports in Africa. I am a team owner and manager. My team has been operating for a few years now with few drivers from Kenya and South Africa. Motorsport have a lots of aficionado in Africa even though there are yet to be great tournaments.

Some governments are looking into developing the infrastructure for tourism purpose and drive home some currency. Some countries including South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria and Mauritius could be great location for future motorsport events.

Paris - Dakar / Eco race and so forth are still mostly dominated by drivers from Europe and Asia but there are homegrown talents that are operating in few circuits including Le Mans, Monaco Historique and so forth who are getting notice. Now, the challenges lies in more training, coaching and support.

I want to hear your honest ideas (without preconceptions) on this and how to grow the industry on the continent.

Ludo

Edited by Ludovic P on Tuesday 17th March 09:19


Edited by Ludovic P on Tuesday 17th March 10:02

Eric Mc

109,931 posts

217 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Apart from South Africa (Kyalami - East London), what recognised circuits are there elsewhere on the continent?

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
@eric
Hey Eric,
thanks for your inquiry. According to google, here are the list of existing circuits

Historic circuits
Agadir Circuit
Ain-Diab Circuit, Ain-Diab
Anfa Circuit
Casablanca Street Circuit

Street circuit
Marrakech Street Circuit, Marrakech

In Namibia
Permanent circuits
Windhoek, Khomas

In Senegal
Permanent circuits
Circuit de Dakar Baobabs, Sindia

In South Africa
Street tracks
Durban street circuit

Permanent tracks
Killarney Motor Racing Complex (WPMC), Cape Town
Kyalami, Gauteng
Phakisa, Welkom, Free State
Prince George Circuit, East London
Aldo Scribante Circuit, Port Elizabeth
Zwartkops Raceway, Zwartkop, Gauteng
Red Star Raceway, Mpumalanga
Midvaal Raceway, Gauteng—Previously Race Rite Raceway
Dezzi Raceway, KwaZulu-Natal
The rock raceway Brakpan

Drag strips
Tarlton International Raceway, Krugersdorp

Kart tracks
Celso Scribante Kart Track, Port Elizabeth
KZN Kart Club, Camperdown, KwaZulu-Natal, KwaZulu-Natal
Action Kart Circuit - Vereeniging Kart Circuit, Vereeniging, Gauteng
Killarney kart circuit, Cape Town
Zwartkops kart circuit, Zwartkop, Pretoria

As far as additional competition
Red Bull Cape Town Circuit in June


I hope this answers your question.
let me know

LucyP

233 posts

11 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
It's the wrong place to start, and it won't drive tourism, with the possible exception of South Africa.

You can forget about Mauritius. I don't even know why you included it. It's sold as an island paradise in the Indian Ocean, and it gets lots of tourists for that reason. No one goes to places like that for motorsport, and no one says - if only there was a motorsport circuit, rather than all those lovely beaches. Look at the Autodromo do Algarve in Portugal - built at enormous cost in an area popular with beach and golf holidays and a total financial disaster. Have a look at Bushy Park circuit in Barbados. 4 race meetings for the whole of this year, and 2 of those are provisional only. The population of Mauritius is about 1.3 million and it is not a rich country. There are not enough people and not enough money to support track-days, driving experience days etc.

Nigeria isn't really on many tourists' itineraries because of the crime rate. Murder rates and violent crime rates 3 times those of the USA are hardly things that attract tourists. Nigeria also has the highest poverty rate of any country in the world. Half of the population live in extreme poverty. The average wage is US $1.90 per day. Inflation is 12%. It ranks near the bottom of the list of the most corrupt countries on the planet. There are much bigger things that they need to sort out than developing motorsport, and as with Mauritius, few locals could afford to be involved. When the average wage is $1.90 a day, you cannot afford to spend nearly 25% of your day's wage on a litre of fuel, which costs about 42 cents.

Rwanda isn't on many tourists' itineraries and those who go want to see culture, gorillas, mountains, national parks, unspoiled landscapes. not motorsport. There are plenty of circuits closer to where they came from, and they don't need lots of vaccinations to go there. And it's another country with extreme poverty, dirty water, a dictator, so all the points mentioned above apply.

South Africa is the only possibility as at least there is an FIA approved circuit, but it's the crime rate again. There are 50% more murders every day in SA compared with the USA, yet the USA has 6 times the population of SA. It's the most unequal country on the planet and in a 2017 survey, the 2nd most miserable, as hopes of a prosperous, inclusive and peaceful SA are fading. It's politically unstable, the economy is weak, unemployment is high, civil unrest is high, foreign investment has been withdrawn. S & P and Fitch have downgraded SA to junk bond status. Moody rates it just 2 points above junk status. Kyalami only has 4 events this year and none of them are international.

There are more attractive places to invest in the world than Africa, where the population has more money to spend.

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Hey LucyP

Thanks for your insight with your stats.
Poverty and crime are global phenomenon, now, people still do business because they see opportunities and growth potential otherwise, nothing is done. The narrative one applies to one country varies depending on the person's standpoint, personal experience and so forth.

As far as racing circuits, there are already some on the continent, motorsport has aficionados like anywhere else.

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Lucy maybe you talk about the topic and Mauritius without knowing what it's happen now. In Mauritius there is a strong community of car enthusiasts that are looking for a location to practice. Secondly yes it will attract tourist and drivers as international series already shown their interest such as Formula E.
Mauritius is a safe country and the local infrastructure project are eco-friendly in their planning. Thank you for sharing your vision.

Edited by Ludovic P on Tuesday 17th March 15:47

LucyP

233 posts

11 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
With respect Ludovic, have you travelled outside of Africa?

As to Mauritius, I am sure there are plenty of people there who would like to test their car, but how much would they be willing to pay to do so, and how many $ millions do you think it costs to build and run a circuit?

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Hello Lucy,
We know that Motorsport as in every other country in the world is an exclusive sport. Not many attend the Grand Prix wherever they are hosted however, there was a spike in participation of people of African descent in buying tickets when Lewis Hamilton became who he is today. and the trends continues.

They were already existing circuits and and leagues here and there. Lewis Hamilton e has inspired many across the African continent/people of African descent to become pilots, mechanics and overall generated a greater level of interest in the sport.

Now, as far as Africa, there are 54 countries many of which have been striving fairly well for the past decade in terms of economic growth, see IMF data.

the African consumer market is about over 300 million people with disposable income they spent on many things including travel, leisure, sports and you name it. Yes, there is poverty, but there are also industries, upper middle classes, middle classes and everything in between and beyond just like in any other continent.

Motorsport is indeed an exclusive sport, it is not meant for everybody, this applies as well in an African context. I think what is interesting to look at here, is how this specific sport can create an industry that could become sustainable in the long run (job creation, career, revenues). It is also a matter of learning from what exists and adapt it to local settings (this for pricing, sponsorship, type of championship, training...). And also, it is interesting to check the people who are currently working to make this happen on the ground.
BR

LucyP

233 posts

11 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Sorry, but I really don't think that you understand the African situation -v- the developed world, which is why there are no international competitions, and no new circuits and no investment. Why doesn't F1 or MotoGP or WSB race in Africa? I also don't think you understand about poverty and disposable income in Africa -v- the developed world.

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Hey Lucy P,

Thanks for your feedback. Again, I will say, differing worldviews and personal experiences shape one's understanding of the matter. That's all.

With that said, we are talking motorsport enthusiasm/prospects in Africa. Now if people have the interest, necessary investments and drive to make it happen/continue making it happen, we are here for it.



LucyP

233 posts

11 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
It's not just about interest. It's mainly about money, and safety and stability, and frankly Africa isn't very good with any of those things. And spending $millions on a entertainment facility involving noisy, polluting cars isn't really in step with the green thinking trend, in a continent where people don't have clean water or enough food to eat, and rely on charity donations from the rest of the world. Money needs to be spent on those things much more urgently than a motorsport circuit that wouldn't be used much and wouldn't make any money.

Nampahc Niloc

158 posts

30 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
LucyP said:
It's not just about interest. It's mainly about money, and safety and stability, and frankly Africa isn't very good with any of those things. And spending $millions on a entertainment facility involving noisy, polluting cars isn't really in step with the green thinking trend, in a continent where people don't have clean water or enough food to eat, and rely on charity donations from the rest of the world. Money needs to be spent on those things much more urgently than a motorsport circuit that wouldn't be used much and wouldn't make any money.
Lucy, are you an expert on Africa? Have you travelled around the continent much?

It is an entire continent and there is far more to it than just the poverty you see on Children in Need. Yes there are some very poor areas but no worse than any of the other continents (note I say continent and not country) that host F1. The vast majority of Africa does not rely on the charity of other countries. In fact I expect many Africans would find that statement offensive, I know I would. Motorsport can be run at much more reasonable costs. Just to dismiss an entire continent as too poor for motorsport is frankly ridiculous.

Nampahc Niloc

158 posts

30 months

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Back to the original question.

The best thing is to start off small. Find an area with enough interested individuals nearby to build a very basic circuit with minimal support structure. If the interest is there and it gets utilised then it can be developed slowly. Hopefully word will spread and bring more participants and spectators into the food.

Ludovic P

Original Poster:

9 posts

1 month

Tuesday 17th March
quotequote all
Hey Colin/Nampach,
Thanks for your feedback and response.
What are your thoughts about coaching and training drivers/pilots and technical staff? There are several initiatives going on, we just need to know how to do it in a way that not only enhance skills but also helps the global visibility of future/currently trained pilots.
Types of partnerships or other forms of collaboration that could work out.
Thanks again

Edited by Ludovic P on Tuesday 17th March 20:36

LucyP

233 posts

11 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
Nampahc Niloc said:
Lucy, are you an expert on Africa? Have you travelled around the continent much?

It is an entire continent and there is far more to it than just the poverty you see on Children in Need. Yes there are some very poor areas but no worse than any of the other continents (note I say continent and not country) that host F1. The vast majority of Africa does not rely on the charity of other countries. In fact I expect many Africans would find that statement offensive, I know I would. Motorsport can be run at much more reasonable costs. Just to dismiss an entire continent as too poor for motorsport is frankly ridiculous.
Don't be patronising. Yes I know plenty about Africa and have been to several African countries. Have you? I also quoted statistics in my posts from recognised agencies and studies, not charity adverts. You have quoted none. And how can you say that most of Africa doesn't rely on charity? Do you know how poor most of Africa is? Look again at my statistics. It's not my opinion that African bonds have junk status. It's the opinion of the world's most respected financial rating agencies that the financial and business community rely on, trust and take seriously. The fact is that motorsport is expensive. It's expensive to build circuits, difficult to run them at a profit and motor racing is expensive to be involved in. If my comments are so ridiculous, then please tell me the real reason why no international championships visit the continent and why there is no circuit at FIA grade 1 level.

shirt

19,423 posts

153 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
Nampahc Niloc said:
Yes there are some very poor areas but no worse than any of the other continents (note I say continent and not country) that host F1.
You are joking right?

Issues I see as potential blockers to the OP's question:

- Regulations. Building cars to FIA regs will be cost prohibitive to prospective entrants to the sport. That means that less restrictive regs need to be introduced. Whoever does that needs to fully consider the liability of their decisions, even if adopting another MSO's regs.

- Governance 1. Who writes the regs and is the responsible motorsport organisation. Usually a country will want their own due to liability issues, so you need agreement on common regs across the country. Good luck with that.

- Governance 2. Who enforces the regs? You need capable scrutineers who won't take bribes.

- Safety. Again comes down to governance but you also need marshals, rescue, fire tenders etc. Lot of people and training required. Also your tracks need to meet the standards set out by the governing body. This means investment required by the circuit owners who are probably operating on margins already.

- Corruption. Where money is involved in Africa there is corruption. Customs for importing cars, immigration for drivers etc. Foreign entrants will be easily put off by the whole experience and just stick to racing on decent tracks with better organisation/safety, better hotels and less hassle.

andy97

3,769 posts

174 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
I do know a couple of people in the UK who travel to SA in our winter to run cars in SA F Ford.

I also know of this team:
https://www.teamafricalemans.com/

And a company I occasionally do a bit of work for runs Supercar experience days in SA, again in our winter.

So the infrastructure does exist in SA but not sure about anywhere else.

I would guess that developing a rally, rallycross or rally raid culture may be far easier to establish on the continent than circuit racing.

shirt

19,423 posts

153 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
SA is not real Africa. I've a mate here in UAE who keeps his GT car down there and flies in for race meets as its cheaper than racing it here.

Eric Mc

109,931 posts

217 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
There was a Tripoli (Libya) GP held in the 1930s. That was when Libya was controlled by Italy and Mussolini wanted to showcase one of his colonies.

The only country I can see where a decent infrastucture and long lasting motor racing tradition exists is South Africa.

I actually think that it is probably too late for Africa to embrace motor sport. Even in established traditional motor sport countries I can see the tide of public opinion gradually moving against it. As other issues seem to be dominating peoples' thoughts, motor sport looks more and more of an elaborate extravagance - ESPECIALLY F1.

If African countries could get their act together, they could have thriving leisure and tourist industries (it already exists in some places) but I don't think motor sport could, or perhaps even should, be part of any new tourist/leisure industry.

I think the long term future of motor sport is at club and entry level.

shirt

19,423 posts

153 months

Wednesday 18th March
quotequote all
agree with your last sentence, albeit with less strident rules to encourage, essentially, run what ya brung [albeit with min. safety provisions].

east african classic is probably the premier event now, although the cross country rally scene in africa is fairly decent. like you say, centred in SA or morocco [largely spanish company outposts].