Ben Sulayem shows plan for motorsports development in Middle East

FIA Vice President Mohammed Ben Sulayem today unveiled a blueprint for the future development of motorsport in the Middle East, with greater cooperation at Pan regional level to drive fresh initiatives under the overall guidance of the sport’s world governing body.

Proposals designed to take Middle East motorsport to the next level are contained in a unique FIA Middle East Strategy document for 2010-2014, “Driving Motorsport Forward Together”, which has been compiled by Sulayem based on months of intensive research.

The new strategy outlined in the report, the first of its kind, is centred on closer collaboration between the region’s national motorsport authorities (ASNs) and clubs and a commitment to work together to pursue common goals and generate synergy where possible.

One of the priorities will be to help develop a new generation of motorsport talent in the Middle East by paving the way for low cost entry into the sport at grassroots level.

The report says research reveals that new Pan regional competitions are needed to respond to meet the demands of the marketplace. It says the support of all stakeholders, in particular Government, and the media on a national and regional level, will be key to future growth.

And it emphasises that all future initiatives at any level must be driven by the needs of current and future motorsport fans in each market, rather than being technically or sporting led

The report is the result of rigorous research instigated by Sulayem who, as the FIA’s Vice President in the Middle East, is reinforcing links between the region’s ASNs for the good of the sport

The research programme coincided with 25 years of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, the original FIA series launched to develop motorsport in the region. The report has been circulated to each club, as well as to senior FIA officials, including FIA President Jean Todt.

Sulayem, the first Arab to be elected by the FIA to the World Motor Sport Council, said: “The purpose of the report was to take a formal review of where we are today so that we can make informed decisions for the future.

“A survey was needed to benchmark the sport in key areas so that progress can be monitored. This process will allow ASNs on an individual and collective basis, in conjunction with the FIA, to develop a policy to take motorsport to the next level in the region.”

Sulayem and the other regional club Presidents will now convene at least one high level annual planning and consultative meeting of all ASNs, building on a successful initial meeting held in Qatar in January. As a result of that meeting clubs are already committed to working more closely together for the good of regional motorsport.

An initial action plan has been set out, and its main objectives include seeking new ideas to produce low cost entry into motorsport at grassroots level, as well as the expansion of the regional karting series and options for a regional hill climb series.

Where possible, the stronger clubs will assist developing clubs by way of training, and loan of equipment, and there is now an agreement to share information, research and case studies. In addition, responsibility for planning and developing the FIA Middle East Rally Championship will be handled on an inter-regional level by the host organisations concerned.

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