A revised V8 Supercars calendar has been released after the series came to a halt for more than four months due to the coronavirus crisis and national lockdowns.
The V8 Supercars will go to Bathurst twice under the new arrangements.
The Bathurst 1000 will go ahead as a four-day event in early October as per normal, while the season finale will be held at Mount Panorama in February 2021 as part of the 12-Hour event.
All V8 Supercar rounds except the cancelled Formula 1 Grand Prix support race and the street circuits of Gold Coast and Newcastle will be retained, but on a new schedule.
Points accrued from the opening round of the series at the Adelaide 500 in February 2020 will carry over into the season restart.
The first round back, announced yesterday, will be at Sydney Motorsport Park, given its central location between the Queensland and Victorian-based teams. It will be a two-day, TV-only, daytime event.
V8 Supercar rounds at Winton, Darwin and Townsville have been pushed back to July and August, with dates for The Bend in South Australia and the Bathurst 1000 unchanged.
Perth will now run during daylight hours rather than the planned night time event, whileTasmania and Sandown will be run prior to Christmas.
The V8 Supercars will return to the track in the bridged 2020/2021 season in Auckland in January 2021 (either at Hampton Downs or Pukekohe, yet to be determined) before the three-day season finale at Bathurst in February as part of the 12-Hour event.
Other than the two Bathurst events, all rounds on the revised calendar will be held over two days – with the race formats yet to be announced – and it is yet to be determined if and when spectators will be allowed at the circuits.
In a media statement Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said: “all details are subject to change given the nature of the COVID-19 situation”.
“This is a fixed stake in the ground that we can now move forward on, and we all need to be flexible on how much racing we can and can't do over the coming eight months,” he said.
Mr Seamer added: “all options were considered, including re-visiting circuits such as Queensland Raceway and Phillip Island or even doubling up at a venue like Sydney Motorsport Park”.
He said the series also considered “bubble concepts” and back-to-back rounds.
“But the calendar has been formulated in such a way that we've been able to maintain the spacing between the rounds, for both medical and cost reasons,” said Mr Seamer. “We believe it allows us to maintain our national footprint, which is really important to us.”
While Sydney is planned to be a TV-only event, he said “the situation for campers at Winton and Bathurst was progressing well”.
“We're buoyed by the conversations we’re having with state governments and excited for both Winton and Bathurst to see Stage Two and the ability for campgrounds to open,” said Mr Seamer. “So we'll be working with both of those state governments on camping plans for those events.”
As for the Bathurst finale next February, he said “it’s not yet clear what portion of GT racing will feature given current international travel restrictions (but) Supercars will take a race format to the Mountain different to that seen in the Great Race”.
“We certainly wouldn't want to try and replicate the Bathurst 1000,” he said. “There's a tremendous opportunity going to Bathurst a second time, but tremendous risk as well. So we're going to have to be innovative and make sure it's different.”
Revised 2020/2021 Supercars Championship
June 27-28: Sydney Motorsport Park
July 18-19: Winton
August 8-9: Darwin Triple Crown
August 29-30: Townsville
September 19-20: The Bend
October 8-11: Bathurst 1000
October 31-November 1: Perth
November 21-22: Tasmania
December 12-13: Sandown
January 9-10: Auckland
February 5-7: Bathurst