Supercars delays 2017 calendar announcement

James Warburton. pic: Supercars

James Warburton. pic: Supercars

Supercars has delayed a planned reveal of its 2017 calendar as work continues on finalising the revised schedule.

As is tradition, the new calendar was set to be announced in the lead-up to the September 16-18 Wilson Security Sandown 500.

A statement released from CEO James Warburton today now says that the reveal will not take place until after the Victorian event.

“We have made an effort to release the draft calendar before Sandown each year, but we are still finalising a number of agreements as well as still waiting on confirmation of dates for next year’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne which obviously has a material effect on the early part of the season,” said Warburton.

“Once we have these dates and finalise other sanction agreements we will release the full calendar for our teams and fans before the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.”

As revealed by Speedcafe.com, a draft of the 2017 calendar reviewed by the Supercars Commission late last month included two new events in Indonesia and Thailand.

Although continuing to spruik that contracts are in place for three Asian events, including Kuala Lumpur, Warburton has now downplayed the prospect of any appearing next year.

Such a backflip would provide space for both Winton and Phillip Island, which had been under question due to the need to squeeze 17 events into 16 slots.

“Our plans to expand in Asia are taking shape, but as we have said many times it will not be at the expense of local events which are crucial for our fans,” continued Warburton in the statement.

“In Asia it is about getting it right and making sure our events are enduring and not one-offs.

“We now have three long-term contracts in place including Kuala Lumpur but the new signings don’t commence before 2018 and the legal situation in KL means that race will be delayed again in 2017.

“We are also excited to hopefully welcome Tailem Bend in South Australia to the calendar in 2018.”

Ipswich and Sandown are both expected to continue on the schedule next year, despite their futures having yet to be publicly confirmed.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Supercars and the Ipswich City Council for the category to remain at Queensland Raceway for the next 10 years.

The deal is however pending upgrade work being undertaken at the circuit.

Supercars meanwhile continues to chase a new three-year deal with Sandown owners the Melbourne Racing Club which would likely see out the circuit’s existence ahead of an expected development of the land.

An announcement is also yet to take place for the Newcastle street race that is expected to take over the final event slot from Sydney Olympic Park.

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