International series confirmed for S5000
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 28th April, 2021 - 6:00am
Organisers have confirmed the 2021/22 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship will feature a three-round international series.
As revealed by Speedcafe.com, the competition will take in events at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, the Bathurst International, and the Gold Coast 600 on consecutive weekends.
It will form part of a seven-round summer-centric championship which begins at Sandown in September.
“This is a massive step forward for S5000 and its positioning as Australia’s premier open wheel category,” said Matt Braid, CEO of Australian Racing Group.
“When the new date for the Grand Prix was announced, the opportunity presented itself to include that in a three-event series showcasing S5000 racing at three major events in three weeks and that was too good to not take advantage of.
“After our debut at Albert Park was cut short in 2020, S5000 has unfinished business at the grand prix and we can’t wait to return to Melbourne to showcase our exciting cars and drivers alongside the world’s best.
“The chance to return big open-wheelers to Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast 500 is one the category has been targeting since we had such a good response to the prototype S5000 being demonstrated there several years ago.
“It’s an exciting and major event and will be perfectly suited to host the final round of our international triple crown.
“The 2021/22 season is shaping up to be one for the record books for S5000 and we can’t wait to get on track.”
Chris Lambden, S5000 Category Development Manager, added: “The stars have certainly aligned for us to be able to take this next small step and include an attractive string of three events within what will be S5000’s first full, seven-round season.
“Grand Prix, Bathurst, Gold Coast – can you think of a more attractive and exciting trifecta?
“The timing, in late November, is ideal in terms of attracting overseas drivers to race and it also doesn’t clash with the Toyota Racing Series, which opens up the potential for Trans-Tasman competition as well.
“Getting through our first, COVID-affected series has been important in establishing the bona fides of S5000.
“Excitement is already high for season two and there are already several new teams looking to join the fray in September, when season two kicks off, and we have already had strong, legitimate interest from overseas in the triple crown.
“Obviously, we’re hoping this all provides the next step in the growth of Australia’s premier single-seater category.”
S5000 is the first support category confirmed for the revised Australian Grand Prix date.
“It’s fantastic, Australia loves open-wheel racing and we’re blessed to have Formula 1 here in Victoria,” said Craig Fletcher, Australian Grand Prix general manager – motorsport, entertainment and industry.
“The S5000 class will bolster an exciting weekend of on-track action, which I know fans are eagerly anticipating.
“The modifications to the Albert Park Circuit will mean lap times will be even quicker than last year, so it’ll suit the S5000s – besides Formula 1, they will be the quickest cars at the grand prix.”
With the opening four events of the championship confirmed, the final three will be announced once the 2022 racing calendar has been finalised by Motorsport Australia.
The inaugural season of S5000 competition builds to a climax this weekend, with the final round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
2021/22 VHT S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship
1. Sandown International Raceway (Motorsport Australia Championships), September 17-19
2. Albert Park (Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix), November 18-21
3. Bathurst International (Australian Racing Group), November 26-28
4. Gold Coast 500 (Supercars), December 3-5