Supercars appoints Newcastle 500 event manager

Tom Howard

Monday 20th March, 2017 - 1:41pm

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The layout for the proposed Coates Hire Newcastle 500

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has appointed Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager Kurt Sakzewski as its new event manager for the Coates Hire Newcastle 500.

Sakzewski rejoins the operation having spent the last two and half years working for Porsche Cars Australia, where he oversaw the continued growth of the Carrera Cup and GT3 Cup Challenge series.

He is expected to take up the Newcastle 500 event manager role, previously held by Murray Hodges, in May, with this weekend’s round at Albert Park his final Carrera Cup race meeting.

The Queenslander hails from a motor racing family who were responsible for establishing the famed Lakeside International Raceway, north of Brisbane more than 50 years ago.

Sakzewski enjoyed a stint as motorsport manager at Supercars from 2005-2010, before taking up an event manager role until 2014 when he joined Porsche Cars Australia.

Kurt Sakzewski

The focus of the new job is to ensure Supercars’ Coates Hire Newcastle 500 season finale (November 24-26) is delivered correctly.

“It is exciting having previously worked on new Supercars events such as the Hamilton street race, Townsville and Sydney Olympic Park,” Sakzewski told Speedcafe.com.

“It is something I have been involved with before and I’m excited to get back on board.

“Creating a new event from the ground up is always an exciting opportunity and it gives me a chance to return to Queensland where I am born and bred.

“It is bittersweet decision. There is a great family of people I have worked with at Porsche and it has been great working alongside those guys for the last two and half years.”

The Coates Hire Newcastle 500 season finale has proved divisive within the local community with the race sparking clashes among protestors and supporters earlier this year.

Last week the Newcastle City Council requested changes to be made to the circuit to quell concerns from residents.

Sakzewski says he is fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead in establishing the new street circuit event.

“Any new street race because of the impact it has on the local area does attract a fair amount of focus from the community,” he added.

“I think Supercars is very good at community engagement. The big challenge is ensuring that what is going on is communicated to the boarder community every step along the way.

“They (residents) may not all be motorsport fans but hopefully they will understand the benefits it will have for Newcastle like we have seen in Townsville and Adelaide for example.”

Sakzewski will work out of Supercars offices in New South Wales initially before completing a full relocation to the Gold Coast in January.