Based in the Northern Territory, the Improved Production Racing Association’s journey in the motorsport world has only just begun, but being a regular fixture at Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway, the club is on the up.
Click here to view the club’s Facebook page.
With the club now turning its attention to virtual racing during the Coronavirus shutdown, motorsport.org.au caught up with club president Jake Burgess.
Jake, your club is quite unique and doesn’t necessarily have a traditional formation story. Tell us about it.
You could definitely say that. Improved Production Racing Association of the Northern Territory (IPRANT) was formed in 2015 and it was in an effort to commence fundraising and coordination of the IPRA Nationals which are due to be hosted in the NT in 2022.
The club was also formed to allow the NT to be involved in IPRA Australia National Delegate discussions, as well as creating fun and social events to bring members together and foster a strong motorsport community in the NT.
Has IPRANT been successful in achieving that so far?
Absolutely, although we are still growing. The club holds a consistent number of members and we’re continuing to focus our efforts on attracting new drivers and members to compete within the improved Production Category at the local circuit racing events hosted by the North Australian Motor Sports Club (NAMSC).
Is that the club’s only focus?
Not really, while building the Improved Production brand and attracting new drivers to the category through social events and gatherings is the main focus, it’s not our only one. As I mentioned earlier, another primary focus has been various fundraising activities to raise funds to host the 2022 IPRA Nationals in Darwin. Some of these efforts include BBQ’s, Quiz Nights and Treasure Hunts, which have been well received from locals.
So, for the past few years, what has been the club’s biggest event?
Most definitely the biggest event for IPRANT would be running as a support category at the Darwin Supercars. Each year, Improved Production are invited by the North Australian Motor Sports Club to run as a support category in the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown. With huge crowds, a massive 40 car field and Foxtel coverage, it is always a massive highlight for members. Nothing beats the atmosphere of Supercar weekend in the NT.
What is the club currently work on?
While we look forward to getting back out racing, we have enjoyed an increase in support over the past few weeks after moving to the online gaming world like a number of other categories.
Initially it was an idea to get local racers back on track, even if it were virtually. The online series quickly gained momentum and was at the maximum capacity of 40 cars within a couple of weeks. And while a majority of the field is based in the NT, drivers are spread around the country including, SA, WA, VIC and QLD.
So the Eseries has really taken off?
It really has. From something that was initially a small idea, it has now grown into a large event. We have managed to lure in Supercars drivers each round with the likes of Bryce Fullwood, Todd Hazelwood and Anton DePasquale getting involved.
Following the positive response to this idea, it’s definitely something we are looking at continuing after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. We are just really pleased with what the reaction has been like from drivers, with people now on a waiting list for each round. I think if the interest continues to grow, we may really consider making this a regular part of our annual calendar.
How can people stay updated on the virtual series?
The series is a 5 round series which runs every Saturday night from 6pm NT time. Qualifying and races are live streamed through a broadcast on our Facebook page which has been reaching over 5,000 views each round.
The series is gaining popularity by each round and is great way to keep members engaged during these tough times. Entry for the series was $5 with profits going towards our fundraising efforts.
We have also taken this opportunity to support local businesses through these times by encouraging drivers to run a custom livery and run at least one local business logo, which they will receive bonus championship points for.
Anything else you would like to add about the club?
We run predominately as a social, family oriented club that focus more on the social aspect rather than the competitive racing sides of things. Don’t get me wrong, everyone takes it pretty seriously when it gets to race day, but everyone is also more than happy to help out when someone is having issues, or needs to borrow a tool etc.