McLean sells up, blaming Ten for sponsor shortfall
21/10/2002 14:20 (V8 Wire - Jason Whittaker) - Cameron McLean’s VIP treatment on the V8 Supercar circuit has come to an abrupt end, announcing his shock withdrawal from the series at the end of the season.
VIP Petfoods is cutting its ties with Cameron McLean, forcing the Queenslander to sell up
McLean will put himself and his Brisbane-based Level 2 Paragon Motorsport outfit on the market following a decision by principal sponsor VIP Petfoods not to renew its contract.
A generous supporter of V8 Supercar racing, VIP Petfoods’ owner Tony Quinn said he was dissatisfied with the television exposure the team has been receiving and could no longer justify the investment.
“It was a simple business decision,” team manager and co-owner Ross Dillon said.
"It's hard to disagree. Bathurst was our best result of the year and it was the year's most important race, but even then we got hardly any mention in the telecast.
"We were the first Level 2 team to finish and only the third Ford, we started 19th, stayed on the lead lap throughout the seven hours and came home eighth, but even some of the non-finishers got more air time than Cameron McLean and Tony Scott.
"That's the way it's been at virtually every race this season and what has brought us to this situation.”
Channel Ten has rejected the claims. Ten’s national publicist for sport, Sam Heard told V8 Wire the coverage is as fair as possible and the constant lead battles at Bathurst prevented more exposure for those further down the field.
“It’s disappointing to see VIP Petfoods not renew their contract,” Heard said. “They’ve been a terrific supporter of both the team and the sport.”
Dillon said replacing such a substantial sponsorship would prove too difficult.
McLean, the 1999 privateers’ champion and a proven performer in the top class, has no plans for the future but will consider offers from other teams.
"I'm deeply disappointed we can't continue next year,” he said. “Although Paragon was one of the smallest teams in V8 Supercar racing, with just three employees, we achieved some excellent results and certainly were on our way to better things next year.
"We still have to complete 2002 and everyone in the team will do that to their best ability.”
The team has cancelled its order of the new BA Falcon shell and will offer the entire workshop – including the franchise – for sale.