2012 started off with a major push on the part of the events team and resulted in some great successes. Jeff, Malcolm, Paul and Kriss have done a fantastic job in really pushing the GTROC forward. We’re not even half way through the year and the list of successful major events and coups reads like this: le Mans race VIP access, Nurburgring race VIP access, Nissan HQ VIP event, first review of the Juke-R, Nissan DNA Centre (Zama), GT-R engine plant, meeting with Nissan Executives in Japan, Top Japanese tuner visits, Meetings with Motoyama, Suzuki, Krumm, Franchittit, Mardenborough and many more of Nissan’s racing driver elite.
But it’s not just about the track and about racing drivers and it’s not just about the VIP experience, it’s also about doing the simple things right and doing them well. Arranging meetings like the Ace Cafe in London and having a huge turnout at Japfest all take a lot of time and effort.
Sadly Japfest lived up to all the expectations we have come to know it for; bad gate management, poor placement of clubs and generally not very well organised. After a couple of years away we now know why we did that in the first place and perhaps that also explains why not one member has asked if we are going to Japfest 2.
Japshow at Santa Pod saw a decent turnout. Down on the rain soaked day of two years ago but still a good showing, hampered only once again by Santa Pod’s inability to measure out enough tarmac to put all the Skylines and GT-Rs. But, in many respects, that is perhaps a ‘nice problem to have’ and the day was rounded off well by GTROC Drag Award Winner 2011 John Bradshaw recording some great times and Jeff Ludgate waling off with the top prize in the Jap Drag Series.
The Nurburgring 24 Hour event was an exercise in how to run a VIP event. Very well put together by Nissan Germany those that went had a great time. With added bonuses like access to the VIP suite in the showroom, endless food and drink all weekend and access to the pits and garages throughout the race the event really was a success. For 2013 we hope to have a lot more members make it across to the race.
The Le Mans 24 Hour race was a great example of what the GTROC can do. Though Nissan Europe had put together some VIP packages the very late announcement and the high price made it a non-starter for ever member of the GTROC who enquired. Instead we set about providing value add elements and VIP access. For Executive Club members we provided access to the Greaves Motorsport LMP2 garage. A guided tour, a chance to look at the car up close and a chance to meet the team. If that wasn’t enough they also got to visit the DeltaWing garage and meet the team. Sadly, thanks to some very careless driving by a Japanese Toyota driver the race was already over for the DeltaWing by the time we got there. For more on that story read here:
We are working with the GT3 teams and hope to bring you more VIP access. For the future the tie up with Greaves motorsport looks very promising and already plans are afoot for a guided tour of their facility.
The social side of events continues to drag its heels. Perhaps the old days of pub meets and tyre kicking are behind us? Or maybe we just need the regional Reps to find the right venue, select the right dates and get the buzz going again. Certainly one thing that will help this is the regular meetings with the NHPCs. Off the back of that we soon hope to announce a list of dates and locations for a number of local social events. It may be June already but we’ve hardly had a summer to talk about so perhaps now is the time to start planning?
Other events such as Chalmondely Pageant and the Silverstone Classic are great events. If you’re into your old skool classics then these are the events for you. If you’re into your Goodwood Festival of Speed then both of these have something to offer. Unlike Goodwood Silverstone is much more accessible for most people and for those in the North and West the Pageant of Power really is a great local event. We will continue to run these events and build on the small but dedicated following we have and try to make a bigger presence every year.
Looking ahead as well as doing more of the same – more local social meets, more VIP access to motorsport, we will continue to do more track days and drag events. We now have a bigger offering than ever of track events and are even looking at teaming up with race teams on their practice days. Take all that and throw in the AGM and Awards Dinner and only half way through we still have a lot to do. The Dinner is proving to be a great event as usual and the new venue looks simply fantastic, but perhaps more about that later.
The GTROC is able to offer all this because of the dedicated and hardworking team we have and because the membership allows us the flexibility to provide as much as we can for as many members as we can. In 2013 we will do more of this but for now it just remains to complete the second half of 2012!
That’s enough from me right now. In part 3 will look at the membership itself and what we are working on for the future and part 4 will be about our other plans for the future. If you missed Part 1 it’s on the GTROC website still for you to read.