SMP shaping to save Supercars season
Friday 24th September, 2021 - 10:29am
Supercars could host as many as four events at Sydney Motorsport Park in the coming months if efforts to host a double-header at Queensland Raceway fall through.
In recent weeks the Supercars calendar has gone through a raft of revisions with events at Winton, Phillip Island and the Gold Coast cancelled owing to the continued COVID-19 situation.
This year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 has already gone through two date changes, the most recent rework resulting in a record six-day programme from November 30-December 5.
Supercars has a 12-round threshold it needs to hit to fulfil contractual obligations with broadcasters Foxtel and the Seven Network.
The most recent event cancellations have left Supercars with three events listed as TBC, with the Sydney SuperNight at Sydney Motorsport Park (November 19-21) and Bathurst 1000 the only confirmed events.
It has been known for some time that Queensland Raceway and Sydney Motorsport Park have been in the frame to host double-headers.
However, rumours have been rife that efforts to have Supercars’ six Victorian- and one New South Wales-based teams enter Queensland and go into an NRL-like hub have come up short.
Ironically, Australia’s worst COVID-19 afflicted state, New South Wales, looks set to save the Supercars season.
It’s becoming increasingly likely that the championship could host four consecutive events at Sydney Motorsport Park prior to the Mount Panorama finale.
Two night events are on the cards and mid-week events have been touted as a possibility if push comes to shove.
If Supercars does indeed host four events at the circuit, the championship could race on three different configurations to provide variation.
The 4.5km ‘Brabham’ circuit, 3.93km ‘Gardner’ layout, and 2.8km ‘Druitt’ configuration are all viable options for Supercars.
In any case, Motorsport Australia has confirmed to Speedcafe.com that Supercars cannot run any configuration in reverse direction.
The longest configuration, Brabham, has never been used by Supercars.
Last year there was talk of the Druitt configuration being used, which shortcuts Turn 5 to Turn 8 on the Gardner circuit.
Outside of Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama, Supercars presently has no immediate alternatives to race in New South Wales.
In the midst of last year’s COVID-19 calendar kerfuffle, Wakefield Park indicated it would seek an FIA licence, opening the door for Supercars.
However, it’s understood the circuit still does not have the necessary FIA Grade 3 licence to host Supercars.
Last year Supercars held two events at Sydney Motorsport Park and later held double-headers in Darwin, Townsville, and Tailem Bend.
A run of four consecutive events at one circuit would be unprecedented in Supercars history, but looks likely unless a breakthrough is made in discussions to race in Queensland.