Mohammed Bin Sulayem speaks to Gulf News Image Credit: Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

Dubai: The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has some of the most iconic motorsport events in the world and should be able to produce its own world champions, a new study being carried out in the UAE says.

Aimed at attracting a steady flow of new competitors, the report says this can be achieved only through a structured collaboration between national motorsport authorities (ASNS), government, commercial race track owners and the FIA, the sport’s world governing body.

Characterising motorsport in the region currently as an ‘older male’ sport with significant ‘barriers to entry’, the study points to most ASNs appearing to be without a clear plan to identify and develop young talent.

Based on interviews with motorsport licence holders and leisure karting drivers, it says young enthusiasts need a ‘role model’, and calls on ASNS to set aside a budget for carefully planned social media campaigns to reach them.

Commissioned by Mohammed Bin Sulayem, FIA regional Vice President for Sport, the report is being compiled through ongoing research in the UAE by a team led by Professor David Hassan, one of the world’s leading experts in sport management.

Professor Hassan, Associate Dean at Ulster University in the UK, presented the initial findings at last week’s FIA Sport Regional Congress for the Middle East and North Africa in Muscat. “The ultimate aim is to find ways to bring a steady flow of young people into motorsport in the Mena region, and develop the best talent to produce our own world champions,” said Sulayem, President of the Emirates Motorsports Organization (EMSO).