Australian motorsport is an economic powerhouse

A new study has revealed motorsport’s significant contribution to the Australian economy, with a gross annual output of $8.6 billion.

Ernst and Young prepared the global study on four-wheeled motorsport, together with the FIA and Motorsport Australia, Karting Australia and the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA). Locally, it was found the motorsport industry provides $3.1 billion in direct output, while providing $5.5 billion of indirect output based on pre-COVID-19 figures.

The industry also supported 16,900 direct jobs and a further 29,900 indirect jobs in 2019, the year the study was based on.

The sport also enjoyed support from approximately 18,900 unpaid officials and volunteers, creating a total workforce of 65,700.

The study looked at a range of factors, further emphasising the importance of the Australian motorsport industry on the country’s overall economy.

Between Motorsport Australia, ANDRA and Karting Australia, the sport has a strong foothold across the country with a reported 188,112 people participating in the sport in 2019.

The financial contribution of each competitor, and their input to the overall economy, is estimated at approximately $20,000 per year on expenses related to their involvement in the sport (not including vehicle purchases) such as travel, maintenance, food and beverages, as well as race meetings.

At a state level, New South Wales and Victoria were the biggest contributors in 2019, with the two states responsible for more than 50 per cent of the sport’s national economic value, with around 97,000 active participants.

In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns, 9,650 events were held throughout the country via the three governing bodies, with events in rural and metropolitan regions attracting thousands of competitors each week.

Given the high level of events, a variety of industries outside of the sport, such as tourism, hospitality, retail and entertainment venues at local, state and national levels, all benefit from motorsport’s presence, providing a significant and positive impact on a large number of communities.

Today’s findings compare favourably to the most recent survey undertaken in 2014. That survey revealed motorsport had a direct output of $2.7 billion to the Australian economy, highlighting the rapid rise of the sport’s growth, with approximately $400 million more being spent on an annual basis.

With COVID-19 impacting 2020 and 2021, motorsport has an opportunity to play a key role in the economic recovery of Australia, with competitors ready and eager to start racing, travelling and spending in the coming 12 months.

Motorsport Australia President, Andrew Fraser, said as Australia embarks on economic recovery, motorsport will continue to be an economic powerhouse, creator of jobs and boost for local economies, particularly in rural areas, where many motorsport events take place.

“This report provides a detailed analysis of motorsport’s strong economic impact and the importance our sport has on so many people,” said Fraser.

“Motorsport Australia is ready to welcome a steady return of participants, volunteers and events in 2022, including bringing the next generation through our development programs.

ANDRA Chairman, Nathan Peirano said the report clearly demonstrates the contribution of motorsport to Australia’s economy.

“While the findings are no surprise to those who are responsible for steering our sport in its various iterations across the country, being able to hold up a report such as this from such a respected entity is exceptionally valuable and we welcome the assessments by Ernst and Young,” said Peirano.

“The local and regional events we have seen held with such success over the last 12 months, as we have adapted and worked within COVID-19 restrictions, will soon be accompanied by a sustained return to national-level competition. We can’t wait for what is shaping up as a bright future ahead, which will continue to make important contributions to the economy.” 

Karting Australia Chair, Glen Egan, said the karting industry continues to grow and provide great economic benefit across the country.

“We’re pleased to have this confirmed through the Ernst & Young study, alongside Motorsport Australia and ANDRA,” said Egan.

“Despite the challenges from COVID-19 over the past couple of years, our licence numbers continue to bounce back strongly and the majority of the members of our karting industry are all reporting record trading years.

 “We are seeing some significant growth in the entry level of our sport and we look forward to continuing this into the future.”

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