COVID-induced date change for 2021 Adelaide 500
Thursday 3rd September, 2020 - 6:00am
The Superloop Adelaide 500 will not take place on its customary late February/early March date next year, organisers have announced.
The scale of the event in conjunction with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been cited as the reason for the development.
Events South Australia and Supercars are nevertheless hopeful of determining a new date by the release of the championship’s draft 2021 calendar, which is expected in October.
The decision to hold back the event comes amid ongoing uncertainty over mass gatherings and the staging last weekend of another street event, the first of two Townsville SuperSprints for 2020, with heavily restricted crowds.
Although a small portion of the Adelaide Parklands Circuit is purpose built, the vast majority of the infrastructure is temporary and must therefore be reassembled each year, including the pit building and expansive grandstand which fronts it.
Construction and operation of the circuit also impacts on several streets, as well as parks, on the eastern edge of the South Australian capital’s CBD.
The Executive Director at the events arm of promoter South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), Hitaf Rasheed, explained, “Our world-class street circuit requires significant planning and temporary infrastructure to operate successfully. Our event-build is one of the largest in the state and comes with considerable risk and reward.
“Top of mind for us, is our many suppliers and stakeholders who will soon start making huge investments into the event, both time and money, and we want the best result for them as well as our loyal fans.
“We are working with Supercars on revised dates for the 2021 event and looking to have this resolved in time for their calendar release, currently planned for the back half of October.
“We understand that Supercars’ current priority is to complete the 2020 season and we are very happy to see the sport returning to South Australia at Tailem Bend later this month.”
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer added, “We have been in constant discussion with the SATC and fully support the decision.
“This is one of the showpiece events on our calendar and we agree, at this current time, with the planning and infrastructure required it would not be viable to run an event of that size and scale in February.
“Planning for Supercars 2021 calendar is underway and our intention is to announce next year’s draft calendar in October.
“We have a great relationship with South Australia and will continue to look at all options for 2021.”
The Adelaide 500 has long been considered Supercars’ traditional season-opener, a position to which it is entitled per its current contract, which ends next year.
Should a later date mean it loses that status, it would be just the third time in a 20-year span that the championship does not commence on the modified version of the former Australian Grand Prix circuit.
There were also suggestions after this year’s Adelaide 500 that the event might revert to a three-day format due to a significant drop in crowds relative to 2019, and speculation more recently that Supercars’ contract with the SATC had or would soon be renewed.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will be back in South Australia this month for events at The Bend Motorsport Park on September 19-20 and September 26-27.