SAS AUTOPARTS JOINS MSC ON NZ F5000 SERIES' SPONSOR ROSTER

The annual trans-Tasman series, which celebrates the golden years of the stock block 5-litre V8-engined single-seater Formula 5000 category which ran in New Zealand between 1970 and 1977 and in Australia until 1981, has enjoyed sole naming rights sponsorship from the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) for the past seven years.

SAS Autoparts now joins MSC as joint naming rights sponsor of the renamed SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series.

From small beginnings repairing shock absorbers over 20 years ago SAS Autoparts has grown into a group of companies with 13 branches throughout the country.

The man behind the family-based, 100 percent Kiwi-owned-and-operated company, David Banks, is a keen competitor in the series his company is now sponsoring. But he says the decision to back it was all down to business.

"We've never been ones to shout our name from the rooftops, but there comes a time when to take the next step people who have never heard of you need to know who you are, what you do and what you stand for, and sponsorship, as everyone knows these days, is a very good way of doing this."

Banks says he looked at and seriously evaluated the potential of, several other sponsorship opportunities within the local motorsport arena until realising that - for a number of key reasons - the best option was - literally - under his nose.

"Pretty much everyone in the trade is into motorsport and if I was talking to someone before or after a meeting they'd always be asking me how the car went or how Kenny was going or something about the F5000 series.

"There's just something about the F5000 cars, something which resonates with people of all ages and all walks of life. We looked at a number of options, obviously, but kept coming back to the F5000s. So the decision, in the end, was quite easy to make."

MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company), are the second largest container line in the world, and New Zealand General Manager Steve Wright says that the company is 'more than happy' to continue providing logistical support as part of the new joint naming rights arrangement.

"For us, " he said this week, "it's always been a win-win deal. The series gets the benefit of a global shipping company transporting their cars around the world, as we enjoy the publicity and profile that comes with an association with what is widely regarded as one of the best historic motor racing series in the world."

Barry Miller, long-time crew chief of series' regular and now four-time champion, Ken Smith,was one of the members of the NZ F5000 Association committee who negotiated the deal with SAS and he talks about it in 'win-win' terms.

"It’s great to have support for the F5000 series from such an impressive local company. I'm one of the many people in the trade who use SAS for brake and suspension products so I'm well aware of their expertise in this area. Up until now they've operated under the radar. That's obviously going to change with their involvement with us."

Miller says he would also like to acknowledge the role MSC has played - and will continue to play - in building and further enhancing the world-wide profile the series enjoys.

"Without them, we wouldn't have had the chance to travel and show off our cars and the way we race them - hard but fair - to the rest of the world. Because we have been able to pack them into containers and ship them to Australia each summer and to the UK and US every two or three years in winter, we are literally the envy of the F5000 world. And we have MSC to thank for that."

The five-round 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC series kicks off in Australia with two rounds, the first at a new historic meeting at the Barbagallo circuit near Perthin late October (22-23 weekend) followed a fortnight later by the second at Melbourne's Sandown circuit (Nov 05-06).

The series then returns 'home' for the remaining three rounds, the first at the NZ Festival of Motor Racing meeting (which this time celebrates the career of Ken Smith) at Hampton Downs between January 20 and 22, and the second at the big Historic F1 vs F5000 Race of Champions Revival meeting at Taupo's Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park the weekend after.

The final will then be contested at the annual Skope Classic meeting at Christchurch's Mike Pero Motorsport circuit at Ruapuna Park between February 03 and 05.

This season also see a specific Trans-Tasman Challenge series-within-a-series over the first four rounds.

The 2016/17 SAS Autoparts MSC NZ F5000 Tasman Cup Revival Series is organised and run with the support of sponsors SAS Autoparts, MSC, NZ Express Transport, Bonney's Specialized Bulk Transport, Mobil Lubricants, Pacifica, Avon Tyres, Webdesign and Exide Batteries.