V8s pushing for back-to-back Gulf events
V8 Supercars CEO Martin Whitaker says that he is pushing to have two Middle Eastern races return to the V8 Supercars Championship calendar in 2012.
After Bahrain’s round dropped off this year’s calendar, Whitaker says that the perfect model for the category is to see a return to the back-to-back opening rounds format that was seen last year.
“Of course, we’d love to have another race in the Gulf,” Whitaker told Speedcafe.com.au.
“It would make a lot of sense to try and make sure we re-establish the double-header element.
“It’s such a significant area, and is a very important part of the world. We’d love to add a second race out here in the Middle East.”
Before Whitaker took his position at V8 Supercars, he was the CEO of the Bahrain International Circuit.
He admits that he has an “affinity” with Bahrain, but is open to other circuit options in the region.
As previously reported by Speedcafe.com.au, Qatar’s Losail circuit has been mentioned as a possible destination for the V8s to compete at in the future.
“There are one or two opportunities (for a second Middle East round), clearly it’s not hard to work out what they are, but we would love to have the opportunity of adding that double header opportunity back into our Middle East experience,” he said.
While Whitaker would not name any tracks as possible second round venues, he did say that the series will continue to have its first event (or events) in the Middle East.
“Yes, for the foreseeable future it will be the first rounds of the series, but again, that’s why Eastern Creek’s test was very important last weekend,” he said.
“The test was remarkable. It was great to see such a fantastic turn out and I thought Eastern Creek did a great job to put on a great show. Clearly our fan base is very much ground in Australia, so it was important for our championship to run in front of a home crowd.
“But that shouldn’t detract from the fact that we are a international championship which is why we are racing in places such as Abu Dhabi.
“Frankly, the sort of hospitality and the love of motorsport that they are generating here in the Middle East makes for very sound reasons why we want to come back here. The Abu Dhabi people love having us here. They really pull all the stops out in terms of making sure there’s entertainment on-track as much as off-track. We’ve got things here this weekend like Tony Hawk skating and Eric Clapton performing, and that’s huge.”