AFTER a three-year campaign, the chequered flag has come down the Adam Stewart-led ATL Racing Team for the last time.
Stewart, CEO of Sandals/ATL Group of companies, made the announcement on Tuesday. He said the decision, planned months ago, was one based on a sense of personal and commercial accomplishment.
Stewart introduced Dover Raceway in St Ann to the Doug Gore-driven Audi Sport TT DTM In April 2011 and in doing so, ushered in the modernisation of motorsports locally.
"The highlights are plentiful. Our first appearance at Dover brought out 15,000 racing enthusiasts -which we understand the highest attendance on record. We won in only our third outing at Dover and the commercial benefits were huge. Not just to our brand but right down to the vendors on race day," Stewart said.
"There is no question that we will miss the buzz of the Dover meets, the roar of the engines and the absorbing contests..." he continued.
The Audi Sport TT DTM race-car was developed by the renowned Audi Sport World Racing Team factory in Germany.
Stewart said his team's participation at Dover Raceway in St Ann offered an opportunity to raise his companies' profile and that of Audi.
"As a marketing initiative, it was hugely successful and helped to align Audi with reliability, engineering and sophistication and surge past Mercedes-Benz en route to being the number one premium car brand in the country. Essentially, Audi became a household name in Jamaica overnight," he said.
Year-to-date sales have increased 12 per cent in Jamaica for the brand with the four rings.
In addition to Audi, ATL Automotive is the authorised distributor of Volkswagen, Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar, and Honda brands.
Backed by ATL Automotive's expert team of Audi technicians, Gore went on to smash the Dover lap record before setting the track record in Guyana with an astonishing 33.3-second run - a record which still stands today.
"There's a sense amongst the team that we succeeded in what we set out to do in terms of the sport and our commercial objectives, but there's no doubt economics play a role too. The Government's current duty structure has adversely affected the new-car market and has deeply affected our ability to attract the level of corporate sponsorship we would want to have," Stewart told Auto.
The new duty, which became effective in the first quarter of this year, saw the implementation of new fees and taxes paid at Jamaican ports and an adjustment to part of the General Consumption Tax base. There was also an application of a Customs Administration Fee (CAF) on all imports.
Stewart said the car, which will be sold to Gore who has shares in it, should see action in the Caribbean Motor Racing Championship in Guyana on November 24.
"I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we will also miss it very much, but as they say, 'We came, we saw, we conquered', and now we leave exhilarated and ready for the next challenge."