The Automobile and Touring Club of Nigeria (ATCN) has been delegated the Sporting Power by the General Assembly of the Federation International de L’Automobile (FIA) which took place in Saint Petersburg in the Federation of Russia effective 7th December, 2018.
ATCN is the effective representative body of the Federation International de L’Automobile (FIA) in Nigeria for the mobility arm of its operations ONLY and as it then was vested with the responsibility of campaigning and promoting road safety as well as transport related matters amongst others. Its affiliation was under Article 3.2 (which deals with strictly Mobility Affiliates). With this development, our affiliation is now under Article 3.1 (which deals with affiliates for both Sport and Mobility).
Since the establishment of the club, we have been given various opportunities to carry out effective and productive campaigns in different states in Nigeria and had the great opportunity to host the 3rd FIA African Sport Regional Congress 2017 at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja where the future of motorsport in Africa was discussed. The most recent campaign was the FIA Action for Road Safety in support of #3500 (3500 pedestrians die every year from road traffic incidents). In the past, we organized the 4th U.N. Road Safety Week in Keffi, Nasarawa state. The title of the programme was Speed Management and Safety for Drivers, it was held on the 12th of May 2017. The turn up was overwhelming as we requested for 30 drivers and ended up hosting and training about sixty. Niger in 2016, Abuja in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018, Ekiti in 2014 and Lagos 2017 in collaboration with Naija Car Lovers, an automobile blog.
Our objectives are:
- To create awareness and campaign for road safety
- To promote sport tourism
- To organize motorsport activities
- To issue FIA documents such as sporting licence, International Driver’s Permit (IDP) etc
- Promote motoring as a means of relaxation among other objectives.
It is the governing body of Motorsport worldwide (EXCLIDING SUPER/POWER SPORT) and representative of over 60 million road and track users from over 246-member clubs worldwide. The FIA is the global motoring organization.
Principally, the FIA has two focus areas:
The FIA sanctions and organizes all motor sport events and tournaments worldwide. Such motorsport events as the Formula 1 races, Formula E races, Formula 2, 3 4 races. World Touring Car Championships, World Rally Championships, etc are some of the notable sport activities.
The promotion of global tourism, environmental protection and awareness matters, global campaign for road safety are some of the cardinal principles of the Mobility arm of the FIA. The guiding principle is to ensure safe, affordable and clean transport for all. Furthermore, the Mobility arm focuses on promoting freedom of mobility, protecting the interests of consumers while travelling, taking into account environmental impact, safety concerns and related social and economic factors.
With the delegation of the FIA Sporting Power, we are empowered to organize all forms of motorsport activities, issuance of all racing licenses for local and international events with the exception of Super License that covers FIA Formula1 and prepare Nigerians for the IOC come 2020. However we shall bear in mind safety for drivers and spectators. Safety is the most important part of motorsports. Our events must meet best international practice in accordance to the FIA ASN Development Manual.
These motorsports activities include go-karting and its championship from grassroots to nationals, slalom, rallies, off roads, circuit races etc.
As we had discussed with the FIA Secretary General for Sport, we agree to start a championship by half of 2019 of any aspect of motorsport discipline of our choice. However, we would present our framework to them by April of 2019 in South Africa.
We have started working on the framework but we cannot share the information at this point but we assure that we have a development plan with motorsport activities and dates, which is a five year plan for motorsport development in Nigeria.
So far, the FIA Vice President for Sport, Automobile Club of Ivory Coast, Automobile Association of Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania as well as Automobile & Touring Club of UAE have all agreed to support and encourage us with the development. As it is time for Nigeria to take its place in the World of Motorsport.
Nigeria has got a lot of potentials in motorsport but as a wise man once said ‘‘you need a father whose pockets are deep not just deep but he must be generous’’, if not you would have to look for a sponsor.
This is a big task and challenge as we are saddled with a huge responsibility which we intend to achieve by working hard and creating awareness and the culture as motorsport is here to stay.
ATCN has never organized a motorsport event in all its existence. This power means we’d start motorsport activities from the scratch. We would ask for everyone’s cooperation and support to develop the sport. There’s no harm in having a Michael Schumacher or a James Hunt or Niki Lauder or Vettel or Hamilton from Nigeria driving for a Formula1 Team.
It is our desire to organize different motorsport activities among other events to create the culture as stated earlier. However, we shall have such events depending on what we feel is suitable for an area or state. There are states we know will be good with hill climb racing, some might be rallies, off road, circuit (in the meantime we will use closed-off public roads to create circuits for racing or drag racing as the case may be.
Furthermore, we shall create our series of championships, motorsport engineers (who would build the cars and maintain them. Encourage Universities to participate in our events thereby enhancing their various engineering faculties. As this would enable us participate in the African Rally Championship (ARC), African Karting Championship and so on.
Some of the FIA Motorsport events we’d like Nigerians to participate in the nearest future are:
- FIA Formula 1
- FIA Formula 2
- FIA Formula 3
- CIK-FIA Championship
- World Touring Car Championship
- Formula E
- FIA World Rally Championship
INVESTING IN THE SPORT:
Usually, it is expected that with time the sport will attract promoters (investors) who will take advantage of the market by promoting (but limited to a discipline of motorsport). Take for example Formula1, Chase Carey the promoter cannot be a promoter of Formula1 E nor a rally event.
We would start up a programme for the development of the sport. This in turn will attract young drivers and potential corporate sponsors. With time young Nigerians will earn salary from as young as six (6) years old because sponsors want to advertise on their racing kit and vehicle.
Our potential contributors shall be but not limited to the multinational companies that have their headquarters abroad and some of our local companies from oil to telecommunication such as Mobil, Globacom, MTN, Airtel, Castrol, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Oando, Shell and many more.
We would like to draw the attention of the general public and interested parties, that in motorsport the promoter (organizer) is not responsible for the provision of the motorsport vehicles nor the payment for accommodation. Rather participants are expected to pay a fee which will cover both registration and other logistic issues.
At the moment, we noticed every participant expects his cost of travelling should be covered and expects to win a price. This is not practiced anywhere in the world where motorsport is economically viable. So, don’t expect us to go in the same line. However, we shall give letter of authorization and participation to registered and confirmed participants to source for sponsors to cover their expenses depending on the event.
As time goes by, we would discuss with FIA on reward by attending an FIA event either of their Formula series or Rallies or visits to a manufacturer’s address (location). We could also have a manufacturer come to Nigeria for promotional reasons.