Asian races fall from 2017 Supercars calendar
The Supercars Championship will not venture outside Australasia next year, delaying a much vaunted push into Asia until 2018.
Supercars is set to unveil next year’s calendar ahead of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, with Newcastle replacing Sydney Olympic Park the only significant change from 2016.
Formally signed off after a series of delays, Speedcafe.com understands that the Newcastle street race will be officially launched by Supercars and the New South Wales government next week.
Other new events in Thailand and Indonesia had been slated for 2017, appearing on a draft version of the calendar late last month.
Although deals were struck for events at Sentul, Indonesia and a street race near Bangkok, Thailand, both have now been put on hold by their respective promoters for at least another year.
They join the troubled KL City street event on the sidelines as a legal wrangle continues over the rights to promote the Malaysian event that was to begin last August.
Recent confirmations of new deals with Winton and Sandown are set to leave the remainder of the Supercars schedule almost identical to that seen this season.
Supercars CEO James Warburton had for more than 12 months publicly championed the likelihood of adding two Asian events to the calendar for 2017.
He conceded to Melbourne’s SEN radio program On the Grid at Sandown that Thailand and Indonesia are now only “an outside chance, maybe” of happening next year.
“I don’t think there are any guarantees for 2017, but certainly ’18 and beyond,” said Warburton when asked of Thailand and Indonesia.
“KL was an extraordinary experience and it’s unfortunate that the shareholders have had a legal dispute.
“We’re not going to take the chance of putting that on the calendar again, but we’ve got contracts in Thailand and Indonesia. Most likely (it will be) 2018 for both.
“It’s still an outside chance (next year), maybe, but ultimately the hold up with the calendar has been a number of announcements we’ve made in the last week or so.”
Supercars’ calendar confirmation is also said to be waiting on a final date for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The Albert Park event will continue as a non-championship showcase for the Supercars in 2017.