Roland’s View: Super2 needs urgent attention before competitors walk

Race 1 of the Dunlop Super2 Series, which includes Super3 competitors, at 2023 Thrifty Newcastle 500. Image: Ross Gibb Photography.

Newcastle unfortunately showed in no uncertain terms much that is wrong with Super2 at the moment. And it’s a shame to see the negatives coming to the fore at a time when support for the category is running at a high level. The problem is going to be keeping drivers interested in the feeder series in the light of the issues.

Round 1 of the Super2/3 Series saw a total of 42 racing laps scheduled over two races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. By the end of Race 2 there had been a total of 17 laps of actual racing, with another 10 laps under Safety Car. That’s a 40 per cent strike rate in terms of competitive laps versus scheduled distance.

The average amount of money that participants and their partners are finding per Round is somewhere in the order of $100,000. $6,000 per racing lap doesn’t look like good value.

The Super2/3 calendar this year includes three full street circuits (Newcastle, Townsville and Adelaide) plus Bathurst and two permanent circuits, being Perth and Sandown. The street circuits do represent an opportunity to learn these difficult tracks in a car that is similar to that which many of the drivers aspire to driving in the Main Series sooner or later.

Meanwhile, Bathurst and Sandown both make sense as venues for drivers in the quest for co-driver seats. And Perth is a track that many east coast-based drivers won’t have otherwise been to.

It would be possible to avoid street circuits completely with Super2/3, but then young drivers just wouldn’t get the experience at those circuits that they’ll definitely benefit from if and when they step up to Supercars.

So, the calendar makes sense in my opinion. What doesn’t make sense is the pure lack of racing laps at these venues.

For teams to be able to charge up-and-coming drivers enough money to make the calendar stack up, given the potentially aggressive nature of at least four of the scheduled circuits, the category simply has to be allowed a decent amount of track time for racing.

The organisers will tell you that the poor scheduling is all down to television. Well, someone needs to carefully explain to the TV people properly what the consequences are likely to be if some respect is not shown to the breeding ground of the next championship contenders.

If the overall event schedule is held up as a reason for the limited Super2/3 race time, then the question has to be asked as to why track time was being given to a category with 12 cars racing, namely Touring Car Masters? Surely not just to collect those entry fees

Now, some of the issue at Newcastle was down to what looked like an absolute sh*tfight as the Super2/3 cars came onto the circuit and to the grid for Race 1. Did someone fail to understand that the cars should be released onto the circuit in the order in which they qualified? It didn’t look like the competitors screwed up, but they are the ones who paid the price with 16 minutes of racing including a Safety Car!

All of this isn’t a new problem. I’ve called it out before privately and publicly. Somebody needs to go and have a good listen to Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In The Wind.

I believe the solution is to give Super2/3 a 45 minute window for each of their two races per weekend. That window starts at the start of the Formation Lap, so in practical terms that’s two 40 minute races. Express the races as ’40 minutes plus one lap’ (like a one hour GT race, for instance) so it’s clear for all to understand with the clock counting down, rather than spectators and fans alike trying to work out the effect of going Time Certain almost every race.

Such a format could be introduced for the next event at Perth thereby giving teams and competitors a better platform for the rest of the year.

Then, make sure that the in-car warning light system that is compulsory in the Main Series cars is also mandated for Super2/3 before Townsville. If that had been fitted for Newcastle it’s possible that there wouldn’t have been as may cars involved in the Ryan Wood incident on Sunday, for instance.

Supercars needs to pay this category the attention it deserves or otherwise, in the end, competitors can and will vote with their feet and take their money elsewhere. And that would be a bloody shame.

Read last week’s Roland’s View: Newcastle take-outs.

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