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Mixed reviews for debut of MotorWorld

On the range: Jaguar Land Rover used MotorWorld Sydney to show off its Art of Performance Tour, with demonstrations of cars from both brands.

Novel test drive event at Sydney Motorsport Park has quiet debut but shows promise


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5 Dec 2016

MOTORWORLD Sydney was held for the first time on the weekend, with punters descending on Sydney Motorsport Park for the event that organisers dubbed “Australia’s Ultimate Motoring Festival”.

Locked into Sydney Motorsport Park until 2018, MotorWorld has been designed to offer punters test drives of a wide range of new vehicles in a single, multi-function venue. More than 7000 test drives were offered, organisers claim.

Held over four days last week, the event – sponsored by Destination NSW in the wake of the demise of the Top Gear festival – was well supported by Sydney and surrounding area new-car dealers representing brands including Audi, Fiat, Volvo and Holden.

Industry backing was minimal, with Lotus Cars Australia, Tesla, Land Rover, Jaguar and Suzuki offering activations across the venue.

MotorWorld Sydney managing director Kris Willand said that the first event was a “prototype”, and that he was confident that the event can succeed.

“It's the first time we're putting it out there saying this could actually work,” he told GoAuto. “I know everyone involved here says that it can work and of the five OEMs that are here ... all their test drives are sold out.”

Jaguar Land Rover Australia brand experience general manager Mark Eedle said that company was working very hard to build awareness and the experiential side of the Jaguar brand following its series of recent launch activity, and it was using a mobile campaign called the Art of Performance Tour at MotorWorld.

“We are here at MotorWorld with our Art of Performance Tour to enable our guests to have a comprehensive experience of our range,” he told GoAuto. “We’ve invited over 100 guests of ours every day to come along and experience the cars. A lot of them have come to us through our dealers, and others through other partners.”

Mr Eedle suggested that people were looking for more dynamic interactions with car brands in general, pointing to the decline of the traditional motor show as an example.

“We haven’t had a large motor show in Australia since 2012, but what we have seen is an increase in the number of shows that offer a dynamic experience,” he said. “The concept of a dynamic show is certainly appearing to be more popular.”“What we are doing over the next four days is delivering as many experiences to our audiences as we can.”

GoAuto understands that all 300 test drive spots for Lotus were booked up in fact, a degree of double booking between Lotus and Motorworld meant that some punters left disappointed.

Drives of some prestige cars were offered on a lottery basis once tickets – which started at $49 for a one-day pass and topped out at $290 for a four-day premium ticket – were purchased, but other, more mainstream vehicles were readily available.

Punter reactions were mixed on social media, with some left frustrated by a lack of opportunity to drive cars of their choosing, while others commented that certain elements of the event, including entertainment for children, was not as described.

Others were thrilled at being able to sample cars on a track under controlled conditions.

Approximately 250 staff were on site to facilitate check-in of test drivers, who were given a video safety briefing before being allowed to proceed.

A drive in a Lotus Evora 400 revealed a tightly controlled lap of approximately 20 cars, with speeds regulated by a lead car at 100km/h or less. A representative of the respective company accompanied each driver, and each session comprised of three laps.

A road drive around the perimeter of the venue and a light-duty SUV grass track were also in operation throughout the day.

Attendance numbers for the weekend are unclear, but organisers were targeting a figure between 30,000 and 50,000 for the entire weekend.

The event was also competing for visibility in the region with the final round of the Supercars championship at the Sydney Olympic Park precinct.

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