Willowbank Raceway shifts to full IHRA sanctioning from December

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The home of the largest championship drag racing event held outside of North America – Willowbank Raceway – will move all of its activities to International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) sanctioning from 1 December 2015.

The management of Queensland’s premier drag racing facility makes the switch to the internationally-renowned IHRA with long-term sustainability and growth at the forefront of its decision making process.

The move comes after the local governing body – the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) – made it clear it would not sanction upcoming 400 Thunder events held at the hallowed venue or its fellow venues Sydney Dragway and Perth Motorplex.

Willowbank Raceway Chief Executive Officer Tony Manson said IHRA sanctioning ends months of turmoil and uncertainty, and brings a host of benefits for competitors.

“We are certainly very proud to be able to align our leading venue with the globally-recognised IHRA to sanction all events at Willowbank Raceway from 1 December 2015 onwards,” said Manson.

“While Willowbank Raceway has been working hard to find a way forward with ANDRA, we feel the behaviour demonstrated by them across the past few months followed by the announcement last week regarding 400 Thunder sanctioning, has left us no choice other than to make the change to a reliable and professional sanctioning body so that we may continue to act in the best interests of our competitors and the future of the sport.

“This decision will not only allow a stable-footing from which drag racing at Willowbank Raceway can grow, but also significantly reduce competitor costs through lower license and membership fees, while giving competitors the chance to race overseas at other IHRA sanctioned venues and events.”

Manson reassures competitors that the venue’s insurance policies will not be affected by the change in sanctioning.

“Like a number of our fellow tracks, Willowbank Raceway has organised its own Personal Accident insurance for racers and officials and Public Liability insurance separate to ANDRA,” said Manson.

“Those insurance arrangements will not change in the face of this announcement, so our competitors can take comfort in knowing they have the same levels of coverage as they have always enjoyed.”

The IHRA is the second largest drag racing regulator in the world, with more than 100 member tracks across the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the Caribbean.

Founded in 1970, the U.S. based body is also responsible for the promotion of the IHRA Drag Racing Series, Summit Pro-Am Tour, Summit SuperSeries, Summit Junior SuperSeries, and the Summit Tournament of Champions.

“Willowbank Raceway looks forward to working closely with racers, our officials and the IHRA to ensure a smooth transition,” said Manson.

“We are committed to providing Queensland with a world-class venue hosting world-class events, quality local events and, of course, fun events where anyone can experience our famous track.

“IHRA sanctioning brings us further in line with leading tracks around the world, and we look forward to continuing to deliver for drag racing competitors and fans in Queensland with this new arrangement.”

Full details regarding IHRA licences, safety regulations and class structures will be announced soon. For a key information document from the IHRA, please click here.

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