POLL: Where to hold the Supercars season-opener
Monday 23rd October, 2023 - 3:00pm
Following confirmation that the Newcastle 500 will not go ahead in 2024, we ask which circuit should be the Supercars season-opener in years to come, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Supercars has moved on to a back-up plan for the first event of next year’s season after a long-running impasse between the New South Wales government and Newcastle City Council could not be resolved.
THE FINAL RACE OF THE 2023 REPCO SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST STREET CIRCUITS. GO ALL IN AT THE VAILO ADELAIDE 500, CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
For now, though, it looks like the field is heading back to Mount Panorama next February, with NSW contractually entitled to host the season-opener.
That would not necessarily be a permanent solution, and hence we ask what your preferred option is.
For the purpose of the exercise, we will assume that the NSW stipulation does not last forever, meaning any circuit which may or may not currently be on the calendar, and which is or could be made fit for racing, is up for consideration.
Accepted wisdom is that the first event of the season needs to be a big spectacle, which is usually code for ‘street circuit’, and only certain examples fit the bill.
But, in this week’s Pirtek Poll, that is up to you.
Should Event 1 of the 2025 Repco Supercars Championship be held back in Newcastle East?
The category’s newest street circuit is narrow, but it is a genuine drivers’ track with spectacular views, and did manage to put on arguably the most thrilling season finale ever.
What about waiting until the Australian Grand Prix and kicking off the campaign at Albert Park?
That could be difficult given the logjam of support categories and restrictions on formats due to international television schedules, but the event features Supercars’ biggest crowds of the year.
Perhaps the Gold Coast could be moved back to March, although that would be problematic given track build would take place in peak holiday time.
Queensland hosts two street events, the other being in Townsville.
The Reid Park Street Circuit is a real bullring which is conducive to entertaining racing, and Supercars has big presence whenever it visits the North Queensland city, but climate could work against such an idea.
Then again, the Adelaide 500 has sometimes been a very gruelling affair due to the heat and humidity. Would you like to see it return to the front end of the calendar, or is it best left as the finale, per its current contract?
There is one other street circuit on the calendar, even if that is a fact often forgotten.
But, would it be right to start the season at Mount Panorama on a regular basis, or did 2021 prove that is an initiative best avoided?
It could be avoided while adhering to the NSW contract if Supercars opted for Sydney Motorsport Park instead.
‘Eastern Creek’ does have the permanent lighting to produce a primetime television spectacle, and the 2012 modifications make the traditional layout a far better circuit for car racing, but perhaps a sense of fatigue still lingers from the back end of the 2021 season and start of 2022.
Sticking with the east coast capitals – albeit very loosely – what about Sandown or Phillip Island?
The former is located ideally in suburban Melbourne although its days are numbered, it already hosts the 500km enduro, and a season-opener there would be very close on the calendar to the city’s Formula 1 race.
Phillip Island is a spectacular venue – both the circuit itself and because of its surrounds – but, again, it is more drivers’ track than race track per se, and tended not to draw a crowd when it was on the Supercars calendar.
In terms of ‘Brisbane’, the return of Queensland Raceway has become a somewhat popular suggestion.
The Ipswich circuit has been spruced up thanks to investment from new owner Tony Quinn, and could be lit up with relatively little difficulty.
Back to South Australia, and we know that the Shahins have big ambitions for The Bend, which was to have been the new venue for the 500km enduro, for a brief period.
The other three circuits on the current calendar are Wanneroo, Symmons Plains, and Hidden Valley, which all have the charms but do not necessarily scream ‘box office’ – and the latter would be hardly ideal in March given the Northern Territory’s climate.
The debut of Taupo is locked in for April 19-21 in 2024, but should it be moved forward in 2025, or is there another New Zealand circuit which should host the season-opener?
Is it time instead for the return of Winton, could the revamped Wakefield Park (now One Raceway) be an option, or would you prop for potential wildcards like Townsville’s DriveIt NQ or the Hunter Valley’s Circuit Italia?
The mooted Avalon ‘super circuit’ could also come into play.
In theory, even certain foreign (ie outside Australia, New Zealand) circuits could be a possibility. It seems unlikely, but the season began in the Middle East as recently as 2011, at the Yas Marina Circuit.
What do you think? What should be the Supercars season-opener in 2025 and beyond? Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.