A TT world series could be a possibility as soon as 2015 if enough backers can be found for the project.
Laurence Skelly MHK, a political member of the government’s Department of Economic Development, said they were currently seeking expressions of interest in creating a World TT series but it was very much at the planning stage at present.
‘A feasibility study was done two years ago and it was quite extensive looking into the prospects of the World Series,’ he said.
‘We are now looking at the business case and we are hoping to go round the world with it.’
He said the hope was to create a series of TT type races which could be held in different countries around the world using the TT branding which is owned by the Isle of Man government.
The idea he said would be to create a series of road races with perhaps five or six rounds culminating in the Isle of Man TT races in June.
Countries in the southern hemisphere are likely to be favoured because of the climate as racing could be in the winter months leading up to a June finish. The idea is to have actual road races rather than circuit-based events to preserve the character of the TT.
‘That’s the uniqueness of the event that we want to capture,’ Mr Skelly said.
The hope would be for a global television audience giving further publicity to the island and the TT itself, This should promote the main TT races in June and the island as a tourist destination as well as bringing in some revenue from the use of the TT brand.
‘We hope we can capitalise on the brand, advertise the island and bring more visitors in,’ he said.
Details of precisely how the championship would work are still to be discussed but it is hoped a number of teams would enter scoring championship points at the different locations around the world.
Mr Skelly feels the series would enhance the existing TT rather than take away from it.
‘I don’t think having other TT rounds would diminish the event because the Isle of Man TT would remain unique, It’s about expanding what we already have rather than taking away from it,’ he said.
‘For example it would still be the longest course used in any of the races and there is a century of history behind it too so it has to be different.’
With the current TT races comprising a mixture of professional and non-professional riders, some with sponsorship and some self-funded, Mr Skelly accepted a world series could be prohibitively costly for a large number of the riders currently involved but thinks support is there.
The feasibility study already carried out by the government included a review of the intellectual property rights, possible locations, commercial contracts and income opportunities, marketing and promotion, safety and risk management as well as team, manufacturer and competitor involvement.
The next issue being investigated is the option of attracting a commercial partner responsible for operational aspects of the series including the Isle of Man round.
A 2015 start date could be feasible but is unlikely with so much still to be decided like sponsors, television rights and funding details: ‘We don’t want to start something that we can’t justifiably deliver,’ he said.
At the moment the government is hoping to make an announcement on the prospects for a TT world series sometime before TT 2014.