Experience Central: 300,000 customers and counting

How Experience Central grew alongside RedBalloon, Adrenaline and the BRG, with plans for more

The Big Red Group Supply Team talked with Greg Evans, about the growth of what has become one of BRG’s biggest Supply Partners, Experience Central, owners of V8 Race and Fastrack Racing brands. From their merger in 2017, to the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, here’s our Q&A with Greg Evans from Experience Central.

Q: Tell us about yourself and Experience Central.

I’m Greg Evans, head of Experience Central. EC was founded in 2017 when Fastrack Race and V8 Race Experience merged together, the same year as the Big Red Group, to bring the most talented team of racing experience experts in Australia together.

With a passion for motorsport and a desire to share that passion with all, Experience Central has served more than 320,000 customers, many of them thanks to RedBalloon and Adrenaline. We make the dream of being a V8 Supercar driver a reality, even if it’s just for one day.

We use our experience gained from competing in championship motorsport for over 25 years to safely deliver high-speed Drive Days and Hot Laps Experiences at every championship circuit in Australia, including Bathurst, to customers nationally.

Q: What made you start Experience Central? How long have you been in business?

Our Founding Partner, Rod Dawson pioneered race car Drive Days and a famous quote of his explains why we do what we do today:

“Being a racer from my teens, I wanted to make it easy for everyone to share my enjoyment of going fast on a track. It’s been a great pleasure to see people overcome their fear and enjoy so many fantastic experiences”.

Fastrack Racing was founded in 1990 by Marshall Brewer, providing rides and drives in custom-built racecars around the legendary Calder Park Road Circuit and Thunderdome in Melbourne, Victoria.

V8 Race was also founded in 1990 when Rod Dawson commenced track driving experiences for his sponsors and their customers at Lakeside Raceway and Queensland Raceway alongside events at Melbourne’s Thunderdome and the Adelaide International Circuit.

In 2004, Rod teamed up with his former sponsor, Greg Evans, and the V8 Race Experience expanded nationally, which saw the launch of the first drive experiences at Bathurst in 2010.

 

Q: Let’s talk about some of the challenges you’ve faced over the last 12 months. We saw bushfires ravage Australia, and now we are faced with a pandemic. You have track days all over the country. How was your business affected?

Our clients are Australia-wide, and we have a strong following in rural areas, so the bushfires last summer had a major impact, both our sales and on us being able to deliver experiences during our normal peak season.

Shortly after the bushfires subsided, COVID-19 hit. The immediate fear it created saw sales drop by 90% compared to a similar period last year with restrictions forcing event delivery to temporarily shut down, booking revenue from agents also basically ceased; so it was a double blow for us.

However, we stayed focused on the future and closely monitored the changes in restrictions and the guidelines from government, along with the insights from BRG and we foresaw the opportunity to restart our events by implementing some small changes, on a scaled-down basis. We changed the way we ran our days, so we worked with our venues to implement new methods of social distancing and hygiene practices to make it work, which it really has.

Q: How long have you been working with the BRG and what are the three things you like the most about working with us?

I approached Naomi of RedBalloon fame in 2005 to become a Supply Partner in the early days of both Red Balloon and V8 Race. It was a perfect match – both of us we’re growing and had ambition and drive to become national leading brands in our own speciality.

It’s been a long and effective relationship. Three things I’ve liked about working together are one, Tenacity – many online experience marketers and performance driving competitors have come and gone over the last 15 years. However, both our brands have remained in the lead position by demonstrating resilience and staying focused on what we do well. Second, Loyalty – in difficult times, the owners of Big Red Group have taken a long-term view, demonstrating a willingness to listen and a commitment to lending a hand and finally Adaptability – while both BRG and our team have not deviated from our original purpose, BRG has cleverly moved with the times in a dynamic market to continue to stay both competitive and relevant.

Q: What’s next for Experience Central?

Now that we’ve moved past the merger of Fastrack Racing and V8 Race, we are future-focused and making plans to invest and expand, so as to stay strong in our areas of expertise for another 15 years. Key initiatives include:

  1. Building new chassis cars which will exceed the standard of purpose-built track cars anywhere in the world, adding a new reason for clients to return.
  2. We’re investing in new strategies to expand beyond the V8 core business and existing market coverage.
  3. We’ve also been upgrading our marketing know-how, to further engage our clients and work more effectively with the brands across the Big Red Group.

Q: What is the best thing about working at Experience Central?

Seeing the joy we bring our clients by doing what we do.

While the product is a performance driving experience, what we really provide is an exhilarating and memorable occasion, that adds to the bond between the gift giver and the participant. It more about love and appreciation than just V8 racing.

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