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Supercars season-opener in line to replace ‘unlikely’ B12Hr

Simon Chapman

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Thursday 24th September, 2020 - 1:15pm

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Supercars is considering opening the 2021 season at Mount Panorama

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer says a Supercars season opener at Mount Panorama is “under consideration” with the Bathurst 12 Hour “unlikely” to go ahead in its current guise.

In the slew of calendar revisions made this season, Supercars was at one point set to close out the current season in February 5-7, 2021 alongside the Bathurst 12 Hour.

However, the season’s end was brought back to early December and then even further back to mid-October where it will conclude with the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Adelaide 500 organisers have already announced the traditional season opener will no longer take place at the street circuit next year.

That’s led to further speculation that Supercars will open the 2021 calendar with a sprint round of the championship at Mount Panorama.

Following confirmation of a new TV deal between the Seven Network, Foxtel, and Supercars, Seven West Media CEO James Warburton pointed towards a ‘Bathurst 500’ taking place as an alternative to the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Speaking with media following Supercars’ newly announced broadcast deal, Seamer said a Bathurst season-opener is being looked at.

“An event of that nature is under consideration should we not be able to run the 12 Hour or a formidable GT event,” said Seamer.

“I think it’s fair to say that it’s unlikely for it to go ahead in the form that it went ahead this year, due to the number of international participants that the event has built over time.

“What we will do with that date, what we do with the track on that date is still to be determined, but that’ll be clear when we release the calendar.”

Seamer has previously earmarked the release of the 2021 calendar around the time of this year’s Bathurst 1000.

A late February or early March date has been tipped by Seamer. Speedcafe.com understands the season may open on the weekend of February 20-21.

Seamer said that while the Bathurst 12 Hour is currently set for February 5-7, Supercars organisers aren’t held down on that date.

Traditionally, the Bathurst 12 Hour is positioned a week after the Daytona 24 Hour allowing for GT drivers to contest both events.

“The date’s not specifically locked in,” Seamer explained.

“That date is obviously normally locked in because of the racing at Daytona, Dubai, and the rest of the GT calendar.

“So if we don’t have the international competitor base that we would normally expect out there, then we’ve got a lot more flexibility and freedom around that date.

Seamer said the state of next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour is in a watching brief at the moment.

This year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge is set to conclude on November 22 in South Africa, at which point cars would be loaded via sea freight to be shipped to Australia.

Discussions between Supercars and the Stephane Ratel Organisation that promotes the Intercontinental GT Challenge will take place in due course.

Seamer said there is still “plenty of work to be done” to finalise next year’s event.

“Look, it’s under consideration but we’ve also got to work with the GT category to see what their plans are for next year as well,” said Seamer.

“At this point in time, particularly given that we’re all still living in a world dominated by COVID unfortunately, everything’s got to remain on the table.”

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