The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) has announced plans to establish an office in Sydney as it bids to cement its position in the Australian market.
The sanctioning body for the 400 Thunder Drag Racing Series, which recently concluded its first full season, entered the Australian market in December and now sanctions the country’s four leading quarter-mile venues: Perth Motorplex, Sydney Dragway, Willowbank Raceway, located near Brisbane, and the recently opened Springmount Raceway, near Cairns, Queensland.
Local managers will be installed at the new IHRA Australia office in Sydney, tasked with growing the 400 Thunder brand, bringing more tracks under the IHRA umbrella, strengthening ties with overseas partners, and further expanding the organisation’s membership base.
An IHRA statement said interest in drag racing has grown to unprecedented levels in recent months, with approximately 1,500 new competitor licenses issued since December.
“The Australian market has become a major focus for IHRA as a result of the success of 400 Thunder Series and the quality of the tracks and passionate memberships that have come into the IHRA family of members,” said IRGSE vice chairman and chief executive, Chris Lencheski.
“Our international membership is way up year-over-year and our IRGSE board and TPG, our parent and global investment company, wholly support this movement by the IHRA.”
Owned by IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE), the IHRA is the second largest drag racing sanctioning body in the world with more than 100 member tracks across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.
The inaugural 400 Thunder Series saw around 1,400 team entries across its nine events in Australia, with a total spectator attendance of more than 85,000.
IHRA president Mike Dunn added: “Australia will play a key role in the IHRA’s future new global class of drag racing, and we are committed to making the 400 Thunder Series the pre-eminent drag racing championship in the Asia Pacific region under our sanction.
“We have a vision of delivering a round of our new World Championship to one of our Australian tracks, and the establishment of an Australian office will ensure we keep up with the growth of 400 Thunder Series and coordinate our member services.”