The Australian National Drag Racing Association has embarked on a program with an Indian-based consultancy to generate sponsorship interest in the national drag racing series from India and the Middle East.
The company – AKT Strategic Consulting – has been charged with attracting organisations with global footprints to the straight line sport in Australia. Rather than looking to expand Australian drag racing into those regions, the program is designed to engage Indian and Middle Eastern companies that have interests in Australia to partner with the sport.
It's founder, AK Tareen – at one point dubbed Australia's frontline salesman to India, established the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) office in Chennai some years ago and more recently was the South Australian Government's Senior Trade Commissioner in India, until resigning in February to establish AKT.
“We are delighted to appoint AK Tareen as ANDRA's ambassador to India and the Middle East to promote drag racing and help attract global partners,” said ANDRA CEO, Mal Bulley.
“Mr Tareen is a keen sporting and motoring enthusiast and, as Australia's rep in the sub-continent for nearly two decades, comes with immense credibility, experience, knowledge and networks in the region. He has a brilliant track record in innovatively marrying sports with business.”
Whilst India is still an emerging motorsport region, the Middle East has a healthy understanding of drag racing, with a number of strips operating within the motorsport parks in the GCC region.
The Qatar-funded Al Anabi Racing is one of the leading teams in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel Series.
Over recent seasons, ANDRA has been battling for cut through from a sponsorship perspective, however has made great strides in returning professional drag racing to hot spots such as Melbourne and Adelaide.
A move to a January to December events calendar starting in 2014 is assisting the sport to be on a better footing in terms of public understanding, with tweaks being made to the calendar and event formats to improve its saleability to the general public.