Nervous wait for Dunlop teams on 2015 calendar
Holding the opening round of the Dunlop Series at V8 Supercars’ pre-season Sydney test has emerged as a possibility amid ongoing efforts to finalise the category’s 2015 calendar.
The idea of the second-tier class racing at Sydney Motorsport Park on the February 6-8 weekend has been floated by V8 Supercars as an alternative to appearing at the Clipsal 500 Adelaide.
Adelaide was absent from a draft Dunlop Series calendar recently distributed to teams, causing significant unrest among competitors who see the high-profile meeting as vital to their sponsors.
The omission is being put down to the packed nature of the event’s schedule, which is ultimately controlled by the South Australian Motorsport Board.
Speedcafe.com understands that teams have made clear their collective desire to race in Adelaide and that, despite official discussion of alternatives, rejoining the meeting for a 13th consecutive year remains the most likely outcome.
Spokesmen for V8 Supercars and the Clipsal 500 have both told Speedcafe.com that discussions to have the second-tier class added to the event are ongoing.
“V8 Supercars is working with the Clipsal 500 on a final schedule for that event, which will be announced by the Adelaide organisers in the coming months,” said the V8 Supercars spokesman.
Public release of the full Adelaide program is not slated to take place until October, although the addition of the Australian GT Championship after a one-year absence has already been locked in.
The confirmed portion of the new Dunlop Series calendar is understood to consist of six rounds, including return appearances at Winton, Townsville, Ipswich, Bathurst and Sydney Olympic Park
Sandown is expected to join the calendar for the first time since 2008, ensuring the Dunlop Series will have at least four of its rounds coinciding with the six V8 Supercars meetings that feature live Network Ten broadcasts.
Barbagallo is not currently scheduled to continue its four-year run of hosting the class but is the third option being touted for the opening round.
The April 17-19 Barbagallo meeting would provide teams with a longer off-season than the Sydney alternative, but is an expensive round to attend due to its location.
V8 Supercars confirmed that Sydney has been discussed, but downplayed the likelihood of it getting the green-light.
“The key thing is that the Sydney Motorsport Park event is the first test for our championship teams of the year, so we need to be conscious of that,” said the spokesman of adding track time for the Dunlop Series.
Moving the Dunlop Series onto the Sydney bill would be another twist in the ongoing saga over the test’s clash with the Bathurst 12 Hour, which already sees the full-time V8 Supercars drivers unable to compete in the burgeoning GT race.