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GUEST BLOG: RYAN WALKINSHAW

Photographer: WALKINSHAW ANDRETTI UNITED

2020 has certainly proved to be an interesting one to date, and one that will change the way we live for the rest of our lives. It has been confusing, challenging, and has tested us all in various ways. No one expected to be in the situation we are currently in, as businesses, and as human beings, we have been forced to adapt to change.

Having said that, it’s something that we are all going through together, and has brought out the best in people.

Personally, I have loved seeing the recognition and respect for our front-line workers. They are all amazing human beings, and deserve every single bit of positivity they receive.


THE CURRENT

Let me start by saying that above all else has been the health and safety of our employees. We are a family business, and treat all our staff as family.

Across the entirety of the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, which includes HSV (the conversion of left-hand-drive cars to right-hand-drive for the Australian market) New Age Caravans, Walkinshaw Sports, and of course, Walkinshaw Andretti United, we have implemented measures to ensure we can keep operating as close to the norm as possible, but always ensuring the health and wellbeing of staff.

As I’m sure everyone is, we are trying to prepare for every situation imaginable, running through 1001 various scenarios to ensure we are as ready as possible. It’s an unknown, and things will always change, but even the most outlandish scenarios now seem possible, right?


Despite the challenges, there are still positives to take. We have spent more time with our families, we’ve taken a step back to appreciate what’s happening around us (including the things we take for granted), and we have come together to support each other.


ONLINE RACING

As a racing community, we are extremely fortunate to have a platform that is as close to real life as possible, where we can continue to showcase our sport, keep our partners relevant, and importantly, our fans engaged.

The Supercars Eseries has been one of the success stories of the last few months, and is currently the envy of every other Australian sporting code. Every single Supercar driver has competed, and we have been lucky enough to have some of the biggest names in motorsport, such as Alexander Rossi, join the field as Wildcards.

The TV and digital audience has been as strong as a ‘normal’ race weekend, and the data shows that we are attracting a new, younger audience to our product that should transfer over when we return to the track.


GOING FORWARD

This is going to change the way we live and the way we operate, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I truly believe that sports as a whole will boom off the back of this. We have learnt how important of a role it plays in many lives, and the hole it leaves when not around.

The technology that has become a part of our daily lives will also stay. Many of us would have never used Zoom in February, but it may go on to replace those interstate flights for 2-hour meetings. It has allowed us to connect to everyone around the world at the click of a button.  

My heart is with everyone who has been directly affected by COVID-19. There are better days ahead, and it won’t be long until we go back racing, which I for one can’t wait for.

Stay safe and healthy.
Ryan Walkinshaw