V8 Supercars set to reveal new Middle East naming-rights sponsor

A VIRGIN connection will add thrust to V8 Supercars racing from July as the touring category lifts off again for the Middle East in 2017.

Virgin Australian Airlines will become the first true naming-rights sponsor for V8 Supercars since the category was born in a multi-million dollar deal which is expected to be announced towards the end of this month.

The sponsorship deal comes as V8 Supercars also finalises plans for a race in Dubai next year.

The Gold Coast Bulletin can reveal the Virgin deal after independent confirmation from three team principals, although none was prepared to go into details of a tie-up that will be for a number of years and include travel packages for the hundreds of people involved in the sport.

It's the first time since the Shell Championship Series in the 1990s that a single company has become the naming-rights backer for V8 Supercars, although it has previously had ‘platform' sponsorship from Telstra and XXXX beer in the time when mercurial CEO Tony Cochrane was the ‘rain maker' for the sport.

The Virgin deal has been brewing since the end of last year, when Virgin's CEO John Borghetti was a high-profile guest at the championship finale at the Sydney 500.

The flyaway race in the Middle East comes as V8 Supercars tries again to revive its international following and earnings.

It is staging a championship race at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia this year after a small-scale demonstration in 2015, despite squabbling between some of the host country's stakeholders, expanding the championship for the first time since backing away from plans for a wide range of overseas events.

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