The Audi IRC Australian Championship will return in 2012, with a completely new event format.

Following on from the announcement of a new partnership between German luxury carmaker, Audi, and Yachting Australia for 2012 and beyond, the decision was made to simplify the national championship concept, returning it to its successful roots as a stand-alone sailing event.

The new-format Audi IRC Australian Championship 2012 will be hosted by Hamilton Island Yacht Club during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week.

Since 2006, the national championship format was made up of four events, with one event able to be dropped, however the new stand-alone format is expected to be well-received by the sailing community as it will simplify the competition by creating a single event that clearly recognizes the importance of this national trophy, and opens the competition up to yacht owners and crews who were not able to attend three or four regattas throughout the year.

The Championship is endorsed by Yachting Australia who consider that the new format will be better suited to encouraging more competition with it’s simplified format. It also means that all Clubs and states will have an opportunity to host the event in future years.

Yachting Australia CEO Phil Jones said that the Audi IRC Australian Championship is an integral part of sailing in Australia and the changes are aimed to increase participation and strengthen the Championships for years to come.

“Yachting Australia has been working closely with IRC owners and stakeholders to decide the best path for the future development of the Audi IRC Australian Championship,” said Jones. “The consensus was that a stand-alone event, changing venues each year, would reduce costs for boat owners whilst allowing local boats to compete in the Audi IRC Australian Championship when held in their state.”

Audi’s managing director, Uwe Hagen, says the brand is pleased to announce an exciting change to the national championship event, and at the same time announce a major partnership with Yachting Australia, forging a closer connection with all of the sailing community.

“Audi has been the major partner of competitive sailing regattas for many years in Australia, however we strongly believe in re-energising competition to create new opportunities for more sailors to compete in our events, Mr Hagen said.

“We’ve formed a closer partnership with Yachting Australia in 2012 and beyond, continued our support of the country’s national sailing team and want to forge closer links to the entire sailing community through our dealerships and all of our combined activities in the future.”

“We see the new format of the Audi IRC Australian Championship as an important step in opening up competition to a wider audience in 2012.”