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HomeNewsGreen light for Bathurst to open Supercars season

Green light for Bathurst to open Supercars season

THE 2024 Supercars Championship is set to kick-off at Mount Panorama as part of a ‘festival of motorsport’ that will stretch over back-to-back weekends.

Sign-off on running the Supercars opener the weekend after the February 16-18 Bathurst 12 Hour is now understood to be a formality, with confirmation imminent.

Supercars hatched the unique festival plan amid the collapse of the Newcastle 500, which was caught in various layers of political red tape.

However, an agreement with the New South Wales Government for the state to host the opener remained, and the Bathurst Regional Council has helped fill the void.

It’s being piggy-backed off the Supercars-run Bathurst 12 Hour so as not to breach the maximum number of five events permitted for Mount Panorama each year.

The Bathurst pitlane. Pic: Ross Gibb

Details of the festival are yet to be confirmed, although the mid-week days are likely to be filled by regular post-12 Hour manufacturer drive events and Supercars season launch activities.

It’ll be the second time in four years that Supercars kicks off its season at Bathurst, after the ‘Mount Panorama 500’ was installed in place of Newcastle in 2021 due to COVID-19.

Supercars is again expected to run a pair of 250km races for the extra Bathurst round, which adds to the annual Great Race in October.

Although confirmation of the Bathurst festival is expected shortly, it’s unclear when Supercars will release its full 2024 calendar.

It is yet to be decided whether the schedule will remain at the 2023 level of 12 events or be expanded to 13.

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Taupo International Motorsport Park is joining the calendar with an April 19-21 fixture, marking a return to New Zealand after a year away.

However, there remains uncertainty over The Bend – recently renamed Shell V-Power Motorsport Park – in South Australia.

Negotiations are understood to be ongoing between Supercars and circuit owner Sam Shahin over a deal for 2024.

The Bend SuperSprint is one of few Supercars races not promoted by the category’s own events arm, with Shahin instead paying a sanction fee for the championship to attend.

The fate of The Bend event will likely determine whether the Sydney Motorsport Park round takes place before or after a mid-season break intended to avoid a clash with the Olympics.

Discussions continue over The Bend. Pic: Ross Gibb

SMP and The Bend took place on July 28-30 and August 18-20 this year respectively, while Paris 2024 is set to span July 26-August 11.

The remainder of the 2024 calendar appears set, with the Bathurst opener to be followed by the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park and the visit to Taupo.

Returns to Symmons Plains, Wanneroo Raceway, Hidden Valley, Townsville, Sydney Motorsport Park, Sandown, Bathurst, the Gold Coast and Adelaide will also feature on the schedule.

Prominent local circuits to remain without a fixture include Phillip Island and Queensland Raceway (both last used in 2019), and Winton, which Supercars last raced at in 2022.

Queensland Raceway and Winton remain the test tracks for the northern and southern Supercars teams respectively.

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