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Dane: Bathurst finale an ‘opportunity’ for fans amid COVID-19 crisis

Simon Chapman

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Tuesday 26th May, 2020 - 6:00am

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Supercars is set to close out its season at Mount Panorama

Red Bull Holden Racing Team boss Roland Dane says closing the Supercars season out at Mount Panorama presents both a unique opportunity and a challenge for the championship.

The last time the Australian Touring Car Championship as it was then known raced at Mount Panorama twice in one season was 1996.

However, the Bathurst 1000 that year didn’t count towards the championship standings.

It means the 2020/21 championship will mark the first time Supercars hosts two points-paying rounds at the circuit in a season.

Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Dane said the event will need to be distinctly different from the annual 1000 km race.

“Bathurst is a special place any time you go there,” said Dane.

“I’m not sure what the format will be when we get there for that weekend in terms of days or what the races look like, there’s plenty of time still to decide that.

“Clearly it needs to be different from the Bathurst 1000. You don’t want to undermine that.”

When the then known Australian Touring Car Championship raced at Mount Panorama in 1996 the weekend comprised three days with three races, each lasting 10 laps (60 km).

The year prior saw just two races, each lasting 15 laps (93 km).

Dane said the event could provide fans with a chance to see Supercars who might not have otherwise been able to attend the Bathurst 1000 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“It could also be an opportunity for all our fans to come out where in October it might be too soon for some of them or might not be practical to have lots of fans there,” added Dane.

“We might be limited on what we can do. Therefore, having a second chance for them to come and watch Supercars in action at Bathurst in February could be a very good solution.”

As it stands, interstate travel restrictions are in place across most States and Territories.

It could be several months before border restrictions are eased, meaning some spectators from outside of New South Wales might not be able to attend the October event.

Supercars has signalled its hopes to have spectators attend the Great Race and echoed Dane’s sentiment that the new February event mustn’t compete with the Bathurst 1000.

“We’re buoyed by some of the conversations that we’re having with the state governments and are excited for both Winton and Bathurst to see Stage 2, the ability for campgrounds to open,” said Seamer.

“We’ll be working with both of those state governments on camping plans for those events.

“You certainly wouldn’t want to try and replicate the Bathurst 1000,” he added.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity going into Bathurst a second time, but tremendous risk as well, so we’re going to have to make sure it’s different.”

As yet no race formats have been confirmed for the forthcoming rounds of the championship, which is set to resume at Sydney Motorsport Park on June 27-28.

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship concludes at Mount Panorama on February 5-7 in support of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

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