Report: Motorsport delivers multi-millions to Northern Ireland economy

The Ulster Grand Prix is one of motorsport's premier events in Northern Ireland
The Ulster Grand Prix is one of motorsport's premier events in Northern Ireland

A report has found that motorsport events contribute approximately £40 million annually to the Northern Ireland economy.

The study was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Motorsport Taskforce, which was set up in early 2017.

Its aim is to develop an action plan to ensure the potential of key race meetings such as the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix and “all aspects of motorsport is maximised”.

The taskforce, chaired by Ian Paisley MP, is also focused on examining safety improvements, marketing and the contribution of motorsport to tourism.

The latest report revealed: “The taskforce has commissioned the first ever study of the economic impact of motorsport in Northern Ireland.

“The study finds that there are approximately 6,000 participants in Northern Ireland motorsport each year and that this is associated with an economic impact of approximately £40 million per annum.

“These are initial findings and further work to refine and confirm the estimates is in hand.”

Represented by key stakeholders and officials from government departments, the taskforce has sought the views of leading competitors such as Colin Turkington, Alastair Seeley, Chris Smiley, Graeme Irwin, Maria Costello and William Dunlop, who was sadly killed last month in a crash during practice at the Skerries 100 near Dublin.

Paying tribute to William, the report said: “The chair and members of the Motorsport Taskforce wish to recognise the contribution that William Dunlop made, not just to road racing but to motorsport in general.

“The taskforce members are grateful for the time William spent in providing them with an insight into his sport and his views on how motorsport in Northern Ireland could be developed in the future.

“The chair and taskforce members would like to offer their deepest condolences to his partner Janine, his daughter Ella and the wider Dunlop family on their sad loss.”

Last year, the Department for Communities made the largest single investment of £500,000 into motorsport to improve safety at motorcycle road races and short circuit venues including Bishopscourt and Kirkistown in County Down. The North West 200 received £124,000 of the funding.