Supercars, not Formula One, sits at the top of motorsport in Australia.
The homegrown touring cars out-rated F1 at all levels, from trackside spectators to ordinary Aussies, in new research from the highly-respected Roy Morgan agency.
The results come from a survey of the value of sponsorship which also show that nearly 4.6 million Australians watched all forms of motorsport – from Supercars and F1 to drag racing and rallying – on television in 2020.
The highest-rating coverage, according to Roy Morgan, is the Bathurst 1000 with 3.1 million viewers, compared to 2.6 million for the Supercars championship and 2.3 million for F1.
Morgan says 362,000 Australians attended a motorsport event last year, a great result given the Pandemic, and 80 per cent of them can name a brand they associate with Supercars. In contrast, only around a quarter of all Australians, 28 per cent, can name a brand associated with Supercars and just over a fifth, 22 per cent, can name a brand associated with the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“For those attending motorsport events, the top brand associated with Supercars is former Bathurst 1000 naming rights sponsor Supercheap Auto, mentioned by 42 per cent of attendees ahead of well-known Australian car brands Holden (34%) and Ford (30%),” Morgan says.
“Former V8 Supercars series naming rights sponsor Virgin Australia is mentioned by 19 per cent of motor sport attendees and is the fifth most-recognised sponsor of V8 Supercars.”
The numbers for F1 are considerably lower, although probably needed context because of their general acceptance as global powerhouses in their field.
“Clearly the top two sponsors associated with the Australian Grand Prix are current naming rights sponsor Rolex, mentioned by 24 per cent of motor sport attendees, and leading car manufacturer Mercedes, mentioned by 21 per cent.”
Morgan also tracked the legacy effect of motorsport sponsorship.
“Former naming rights sponsor Qantas in third, that is mentioned by 13 per cent of motor sport attendees as being associated with the grand prix. Qantas was the naming rights sponsor … from 2010-2012, nearly a decade ago.”
The Top Five brands associated with Supercars are SuperCheap Auto, Holden, Ford, Dunlop and Virgin Australia, while the F1 rankings are Rolex, Mercedes, Qantas, Heineken and BMW.
Morgan has also done a deeper dive into the SuperCheap association, even though it is now Repco which sponsors both Bathurst and the Supercars championship.
“Over two-in-five motor sports attendees, or 42 per cent, associate SuperCheap Auto with the V8 Supercars. For Australian motor sports fans who regularly watch motorsport on TV sponsor, recall is also very high – with 33 per cent of those who almost always watch V8 Supercars associating SuperCheap Auto with V8 Supercars and 30 per cent of those who almost always watch the Bathurst 1000 making the association.”