GOLD COAST TO FEATURE IN S5000 TRIPLE CROWN

Tim Macrow demonstrating an S5000 prototype on the Gold Coast in 2017. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

BIG-BANGER open-wheel action will return to the streets of Surfers Paradise in December for the first time in 13 years, when S5000 supports Supercars’ Gold Coast 500 season finale.

S5000 has confirmed the Gold Coast event as the third leg in a ‘Triple Crown’ that will also include races at Albert Park’s rescheduled Australian Grand Prix and the new Bathurst International.

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The three events, held on consecutive weekends, will be promoted as a subset of the 2021/22 S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship that kicks off at Sandown in September.

S5000 is a logical fit for the Gold Coast event, which from 1991-2008 was the domain of the American Indycar/Champ Car categories.

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The Australian S5000 class undertook a demonstration at the event in 2017 with two prototype cars and was expected to join the bill last year before COVID-19 intervened.

S5000 organisers hope they can have a contingent of international drivers contest the Triple Crown, pending travel restrictions.

The category launched at Sandown in late 2019 with Rubens Barrichello as its headline act and had Giancarlo Fisichella at Albert Park last year for the event that was ultimately abandoned.

The S5000 field last time out at Sandown. Pic: Supplied

S5000 category development manager Chris Lambden says international interest in the Triple Crown is already strong.

“The stars have certainly aligned for us to be able to take this next small step and include an attractive string of three events within what will be S5000’s first full, seven-round season,” said Lambden.

“Grand Prix, Bathurst, Gold Coast – can you think of a more attractive and exciting trifecta?

“The timing, in late November, is ideal in terms of attracting overseas drivers to race and it also doesn’t clash with the Toyota Racing Series, which opens up the potential for Trans-Tasman competition as well.

“Getting through our first, COVID-affected series has been important in establishing the bona fides of S5000.  

“Excitement is already high for season two and there are already several new teams looking to join the fray in September, when season two kicks off, and we have already had strong, legitimate interest from overseas in the Triple Crown.

“Obviously, we’re hoping this all provides the next step in the growth of Australia’s premier single-seater category.” 

The Triple Crown news comes ahead of this weekend’s 2021 S5000 season decider at Sydney Motorsport Park.