JUNE 2019

22 MAY 2019

I am pleased to present this Report to the members of the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club for the year ending 31st December, 2018.
The Club achieved an outstanding financial result in 2018. In the twelve months to 31st December, 2018 ARDC returned a net surplus of $235,680 (2017: $16,503). The Club’s ongoing program of capital investment in Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) creates an increasing depreciation charge against revenue, being $1.35m in 2018 (2017: $1.23m). Although this non-cash expense has a dramatic impact on net surplus, the Club remains in a solid financial position. Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) – or cash earnings – was a record result of $1,655,129 (2017: $1,283,056). More than $1m was again invested in fixed assets in 2018.

The 2018 calendar was another intense year of on- and off-track activity. On-track events again covered a broad spectrum of motorsport, from the most professional through to beginners. Without doubt the highlight event for 2018 was the Virgin Australia Supercars Red Rooster Sydney Supernight 300 in August, which was subsequently awarded the Supercars Fans Choice Award for the Best Event of 2018. Other major events in 2018 included Muscle Car Masters, World Time Attack and Shannon’s Nationals, as well as Formula Extreme and the International Festival of Speed for motorbikes. These high-profile events are complemented by strong lower tier events such as the NSW State Motor Racing championship, NSWRRC 6-Hour Regularity, supersprints, and drifting. Driver education, driver experiences and corporate activities, particularly major motor vehicle manufacturers’ customer events, are important parts of our normal operating profile. Membership numbers have steadied at around 3,000; at 31st December we had 3,010 members (2017: 2939) and at 30th April 2019 3,127 (April 2018: 3,221).

Major capital investments in 2018 included resurfacing of Turn 1 and the Gate A access roadway, a long overdue upgrade to the SMSP radio system and additional shade, seating and catering infrastructure at favourite spectator locations. In 2019 we will upgrade the circuit public address system.

The capital investment focus for the next year will be the installation of permanent lighting for the full SMSP circuit. We are delighted that our submissions to government at all levels over the last four or so years has delivered this result. The project is now moving ahead quickly, with tenders for the lighting to close imminently. We will be working closely with government to ensure a high quality, on-time, on-budget outcome, with the first target being to host Supercars under permanent lights in 2020. While this will be the high-profile night-time event, the extension of operating hours at SMSP will provide many new opportunities. We expect that some current daytime users will prefer to run at night, relieving the congestion in daytime bookings. We also anticipate an emerging night-time economy as a result of “after-hours” activity at SMSP.

As always at this time I want to acknowledge our hardworking ARDC team. While the Board sets the strategic agenda, it is our CEO Glenn Matthews and his team who make things happen. On behalf of the Board and Members I would like to thank Glenn and his team, both in the office and on and around the track for their efforts and to again publicly recognise them for their contribution to our Club, our sport and, increasingly, to the wider community.

I would also like to thank each of your continuing Directors for their hard work, support and contribution to our Club throughout the year. This year the retiring Directors, John Cotter, Terry Thompson, Evan Jones and Denis Cribbin were re-elected. I also thank Paul Dortkamp and Chris Reeves for their candidacy to become a Director. Paul and Chris have each nominated on several occasions and their commitment to the Club is valued.

Each year one of our two Appointed Directors must step down at the AGM and this year it is Natalie Turmine’s turn. Natalie is keen to continue to serve and the Board intends to re-appoint her immediately.

Earlier this year our good friend and ARDC Director, Neil Turner, decided to call time on his long career in motorsport and to resign his role as an ARDC Director after 21 years of service. Shortly we will consider a resolution to appoint Neil and his wife Ronda to Life Membership of the Australian Racing Driver’s Club, but let me simply say now that it has been a great pleasure serving together with Neil. His contribution to the ARDC and to motorsport in Australia has been mighty and we will miss him. Thank you Neil.

ARDC is not a mega-company but it is subject to the same corporate standards and legal requirements as any other, and the nature of our activities means we do have the potential to attract attention. The obligations and personal liability of a Director are significant and I thank all those who are willing to serve the Club in this way.

Lastly, I would like to thank you, the Members of the ARDC. Your ongoing support underpins the growth of the Club and the Board is always aware of our obligation to promote motorsport and serve our members. It continues to be a privilege to serve as President of the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club and I look forward to more progress in the year ahead.

Andrew Leithhead