THE Repco Bathurst 1000 has been pushed back to November 4-7 amid a shakeup of this year’s Supercars Championship calendar.
Originally scheduled for October 7-10, the ‘Great Race’ has been moved due to the COVID-19 outbreak that continues to grip New South Wales.
Under a revised calendar issued today, Supercars will not race again until October 2-3; a full 11 weeks after the most recent event in Townsville.
The return is slated to take place at Winton Motor Raceway in northern Victoria, an event which was twice rescheduled earlier in the season.
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Winton will be followed by another event on October 23-24; expected to be a return to Phillip Island following the venue’s loss of its MotoGP race on the same date.
Bathurst, Sydney Motorsport Park (November 19-21) and an unchanged finale on the Gold Coast (December 3-5) complete the schedule, for a total of 12 events in 2021.
Missing are the recently announced Queensland Raceway and originally scheduled Perth and Pukekohe, the latter two deemed unviable due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Bathurst, Sydney Motorsport Park and the Gold Coast will all be broadcast free-to-air on Seven, as well as Fox Sports.
This is the second straight year Supercars has been forced to shift Bathurst’s date after it was delayed a week to October 15-18 in 2020.
On that occasion the event took place with a meagre 5000 fans allowed in the venue per day; a situation Supercars is desperate to avoid repeating.
November 4-7 is the latest a Bathurst 1000 has been scheduled for since the 2000 FAI 1000, which took place on November 16-19.
Explaining the latest calendar changes, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer stressed the championship needs to remain flexible during the pandemic.
“With the ever-changing COVID landscape, our teams and broadcast partners have agreed it is in all our stakeholders’ best interests commercially and competitively to move our premiere event to a later date,” he said.
“We are continuing to work closely with NSW Health, the Bathurst Regional City Council, emergency services, broadcasters and the NSW Government on planning for the Repco Bathurst 1000, which is the pinnacle of Australian motorsport.
“We will meet all COVID-19 safety requirements necessary to ensure this year’s Great Race goes ahead. Our aim is to ensure we can bring back as many fans as possible.
“Unfortunately, our event planned for Perth presents significant risk with the ongoing restrictions, so we’ve made the difficult decision to move it to the 2022 calendar.
“Similarly, our Kiwi fans across the ditch will be undoubtedly disappointed to see New Zealand does not feature on the revised calendar due to the trans-Tasman bubble being suspended.
“While the removal of both of these events is an unfortunate consequence of the COVID circumstances, we sincerely thank our partners for their understanding, and we can’t wait to be able to get to both Western Australia and New Zealand as soon as we can in 2022.
“These are challenging times for all sporting codes, which is why we have had to remain flexible with our calendar arrangements and make significant changes where required.
“For now, our goal is to make sure we deliver some amazing racing over the rest of the 2021 championship.
“We are thrilled to have locked in our return to Winton and we’re working towards being able to announce another event for the weekend of 23-24 October.
“We can’t wait to welcome our fans back to the Mountain in November, along with the much- anticipated Sydney night event later in the month.
“We’ll then round out our 2021 season with a big party on the Gold Coast, in what will surely be a huge celebration following another incredible year of racing.”
Supercars will attempt to cover the gap between events with a six-episode Inside Line documentary series in the second half of August, and its Eseries from August 25.
Both will be shown on Fox Sports, with the latter also on Kayo, 7Plus and Supercars’ Facebook and YouTube channels.
The updated 2021 Repco Supercars Championship calendar
|1||Feb 26-28||Bathurst||Repco Mount Panorama 500 *|
|2||Mar 20-21||Sandown||Penrite Oil Sandown SuperSprint|
|3||Apr 17-18||Symmons Plains||Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint|
|4||May 7-9||The Bend||OTR SuperSprint|
|5||Jun 18-20||Hidden Valley||Merlin Darwin Triple Crown|
|6||Jul 9-11||Townsville||NTI Townsville 500 *|
|7||Jul 17-18||Townsville||WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint *|
|8||Oct 2-3||Winton||Winton SuperSprint *|
|10||Nov 4-7||Bathurst||Repco Bathurst 1000 *|
|11||Nov 19-21||Sydney Motorsport Park||Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight|
|12||Dec 3-5||Surfers Paradise||Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 *|