The sponsorship market in Australian motorsport continues to be challenging with news that Clipsal will end its long-time association with the Adelaide 500 Supercars Championship season-opener after 2017.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that the electrical accessories brand has decided to call time on its 17-year-old branding of the Supercars event following a change in the company’s marketing approach.

“After a long and fruitful relationship, we have made the difficult decision not to renew our naming rights sponsorship of the Clipsal 500 Adelaide,” Gareth O’Reilly, zone president and managing director, Pacific at Schneider Electric, said.

“This is as a result of a change to our global marketing approach – we’re currently working on new ways to connect and engage with more of our customers, which we’ll share in due course.

“We thank The Motor Sport Group for the significant role it played in connecting our brand to our customers.”

The newspaper also reports that event organisers are already in negotiations to secure a replacement naming rights sponsor for 2018 onwards.

One speculated contender is the service station chain ‘On The Run’, owned by the Shahin family, who are currently constructing an FIA-licensed 4.9-kilometre circuit that could play host to Supercars Championship events in the future. Named The Bend Motorsport Park, it will be located at Tailem Bend, 100 kilometres southeast of Adelaide.

“The [South Australian] State Government looks forward to working with a new partner in the lead-up to 2018 and beyond,” said the state’s sports minister, Leon Bignell.

“South Australians love Supercars – with this year’s event generating more than $60 million for the state’s economy.

“The State Government has appreciated the strong support of Clipsal since 2000 and we thank them for their association with the biggest domestic motor racing event in Australia.”

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Geoff Burke

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