Mass track defection hits British F3 package

The British Formula 3 Championship will not visit Donington Park, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Oulton Park or Thruxton next season, following a collective decision by the circuits to pull out of the PowerTour, host package to Britain's premier single-seater series

Mass track defection hits British F3 package

The move comes in the wake of disappointing spectator attendances for the PowerTour, launched this season. Out of the British circuits that have dates on the 2000 calendar, that leaves only Silverstone and Croft committed to the concept, which has been championed by Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club.

The PowerTour package had been touted as a way of boosting the image and attendances for F3, British GTs and a variety of support categories. However, Brands Hatch claims that its crowd figures were down by 50% on the previous year for the F3 meeting, while Donington quoted a paying attendance of only 600 for its first Powertour meeting of the year.

"The public have criticised the content of the new look package," said Donington's chief executive Robert Fearnall. "Poor crowd attendances result in a lack of atmosphere and profit."

"PowerTour has struggled as a championship from the very beginning," added Thruxton's chief executive Dennis Carter. "The ticket prices have contributed to the poor attendance figures, and I personally don't believe the championship delivers value for money."

All the circuits involved in the pull-out are members of British Motorsport Promoters, which owns the commercial rights to the British Touring Car Championship.

Silverstone boss Denys Rohan hit back, saying: "The signatories to this are those involved in the BTCC next year, and must see PowerTour as a rival. PowerTour has consistently increased its crowds throughout the season. The crowd figures have not been good, but that's a reflection of motorsport crowds in general.

"Ticket prices are set by the tracks, so it's a nonsense for Dennis Carter to criticise them, because he set them himself. No one has even had the courtesy to pick up a phone to us."

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