Brands Hatch supremo Jonathan Palmer has said he believes motorsport can see out the lean times of the credit crunch and continue to thrive.
And he predicts that what he calls the ‘middle order’ of motorsport, that eschews the extravagance of the top flight formulas but still provides fans with value for money, will be best-placed to ride out the recession.
Palmer, whose MotorSportVision company also runs the Snetterton and Oulton Park circuits and the Formula Palmer Audi series, was speaking to local newspaper the Bromley Times whose patch includes Brands Hatch.
He said: “Anyone who isn’t concerned about the situation is kidding themselves, but the ‘middle order’ of motorsport that doesn’t rely on sponsorship should cope better.
“People are cutting back on expensive items that cost thousands of pounds, such as holidays and cars, and fans will still be prepared to purchase a ticket.
“For the entertainment that is provided, the price is still great value for money. In some ways, it will have its benefits as some people have been spending ridiculous amounts of money on racing.”
Palmer also said that one of the high points of his racing year had been the appearance of Lewis Hamilton at Brands Hatch during the DTM series’ British round, when the soon-to-be-crowned 2008 world champion made a guest appearance in his McLaren Mercedes F1 car.
“One of the inspirational things about him is that he wasn’t from a rich family and he shows that talent and motivation can allow people from humble beginnings to be successful. He is a genuinely inspirational figure.”
For 2009, he is looking forward to the new F2 series which will be visiting Brands Hatch in July. Palmer is, of course, one of the figures behind the series’ development after joining forces with the Williams F1 team and Audi in an eight-race series that will kick off in May.
He said: “It is a combined event with the World Touring Car Championship at the end of July and it promises to be a really spectacular event.
“It will be one of the premier events behind F1 and GP2 and we will have the cream of the talent racing at Brands. I have no doubt that fans will be witnessing some future F1 drivers in the race.”