Next year’s Newcastle 500 has been locked in but the date for 2020 remains undecided with Supercars Championship officials working on a shift towards a more summer-focused calendar.
Supercars released the 2019 rounds on Thursday, with Newcastle allocated a third straight season-ending timeslot from November 22 to 24, but beyond that organisers are exploring the possibility of splitting the series into two parts with an extended break over winter.
Since 2012 the first race has been held no earlier than February 28 and the last no later than December 8, but this structure looks set to change two years down the track.
Supercars chief executive officer Sean Seamer made the announcement on Supercars.com and was hopeful, after considering other major sporting events in Australia, to finalise new dates for 2020 early next year.
“We will be starting earlier in 2020,” Seamer said.
“How much earlier, we need to see. We’ve got to understand when the [tennis] Australian Open’s going to take place and obviously we’ve got the Bathurst 12 Hour to consider as well.
“Our ambition is to get that 2020 calendar out early next year, and perhaps even release two-to-three years of calendars if we can get that sorted out.”
Seamer said weather, attendance and broadcast were other factors to think about when tinkering with future Supercars calendars.
“I’ve been really up front for a while that we want to try and get the sport into the best possible weather window,” he said.
“Making sure that we’re giving our events the maximum opportunity to drive attendance through good weather and also finding clear air from a broadcast point of view.”
Seamer said it was a work in progress.
“There will be a period of transition that we need to work through,” he said.
“We’re still working through those conversations with teams and obviously the proprietors of the tracks.”
Changes for the 2019 series include: dropping one race to 15 overall; Sandown moving to November and Perth hosting a maiden night event. Adelaide opens proceedings from February 28 to March 3.
Meanwhile, the second annual Newcastle 500 event will be held next month from November 23 to 25.
With races at Gold Coast (October 19-21) and Auckland (November 2-4) still to come, Shane Van Gisbergen leads the 2018 championship narrowly from last year’s runner-up Scott McLaughlin. Title holder Jamie Whincup is third.
SUPERCARS 2019 CALENDAR: Adelaide (Feb 28-Mar 3); Melbourne (Mar 14-17); Tasmania (April 5-7); Phillip Island (April 12-14); Perth (May 2-4); Winton (May 24-26); Darwin (June 14-16); Townsville (July 5-7); Ipswich (July 26-28); Tailem Bend (Aug 23-25); Auckland (Sept 13-15); Bathurst (Oct 10-13); Gold Coast (Oct 25-27); Sandown (Nov 8-10); Newcastle (Nov 22-24).