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Adelaide 500 committed to 2020 season opener status

Tom Howard

Monday 4th March, 2019 - 6:00am

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The Superloop Adelaide 500 is contracted to be the first event of the season

Superloop Adelaide 500 organisers are committed to hosting next year’s Supercars season opener but are open to a possible date change should the series invoke plans to start 2020 earlier.

The annual visit to the South Australian capital has been the traditional curtain raiser for the championship since 2002 barring two seasons that saw Supercars begin its campaign with overseas events in 2010 and 2011.

The Adelaide 500 has long occupied a late February/early March date with the event currently under a deal with Supercars until 2021 that at least stipulates it is the opening round of the year.

However, this could come under threat as Supercars assesses a significant calendar shift for next year that could see racing begin in January and finish in its traditional November/December slot, but factor in a break during the winter months.

Should Supercars start its campaign earlier it could force a potential date change for the Adelaide 500.

There have also been suggestions that the Adelaide 500 could switch places with the Newcastle 500 finale to ensure it retains a prominent position in the calendar. 

Meanwhile, championship boss Sean Seamer has targeted a mid-year date for the 2020 calendar to be locked in.

While keen to work with Supercars regarding its 2020 schedule, the Adelaide 500 is committed to being the first round of the season.            

“Supercars have reinforced how important we are to the series, and we will work with them to understand what they are trying to achieve,” read a statement issued to Speedcafe.com from Hitaf Rasheed, Executive Director of Events South Australia.

“Right now, we are committed to being the first race of the season.

“If changes to the series format were to go ahead in 2020, we would work with Supercars to get the best result for the State.”

Supercars has reiterated that any calendar discussions will be conducted with full consultation with the event and its partners.  

“The Adelaide 500 is a premier event on our calendar and in Australian sport,” read a statement from Supercars.

“It has been a signature event for Supercars since 1999 and will remain so for a long time to come,

“Any discussions on the calendar are made in full consultation with the Adelaide 500 team, the Government and the South Australian Tourism Commission as the Adelaide 500 is contracted as the first event.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway insists the event will remain as the season opener next year and has highlighted concerns should it move deeper into the height of summer.

“The earlier you go in the year, the more risk of hot weather and that is a decision for Supercars,” Ridgway told Speedcafe.com. 

“We like it this time of year and we really wouldn’t want to shift it too much as we have quite a busy calendar. 

“We have our big cycling event Tour Down Under in January and we have a mad March as we call it as we have a fair overlap of things; it is quite busy. 

“We will sit down with Supercars and if there is to be a shift we will work with them. 

“The earlier you go in the summer, the more chance of 40 degree heat and the crowd doesn’t like that and I don’t think the drivers are too fond of it either.”

Hot temperatures plagued the weekend’s Adelaide 500 season opener which, despite the weather, proved to be a success with crowds flocking to witness the new Ford Mustang win on debut in the category.

It is understood a sell-out crowd attended yesterday’s event finale which included a concert headlined by popular band Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

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