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HomeNewsOPINION: Fixing Supercars’ SuperSprint format

OPINION: Fixing Supercars’ SuperSprint format

THERE are lessons from last weekend’s Perth SuperSprint which can be used to formulate the perfect three-day, two-race format for the Repco Supercars Championship.

Or at least perfect in my eyes.

Practice is the obvious starting point.

Get rid of the Saturday and Sunday morning sessions.

Better yet, roll all practice into one extended hitout, whether that’s 60 minutes or 90 minutes or even 120 minutes. Whatever the appropriate figure is.

Practice is not meant to be fun. It’s essentially just at-event testing.

So, to me, the idea that breaking up practice into various segments across a day or weekend creates any additional excitement is just plain wrong. (keep in mind that I’m talking about all current events besides the Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000)

Practice doesn’t necessarily always offer a form guide for the weekend, given that teams may have different focuses or perhaps might not want to show their hand. And that’s their prerogative. In any case, does having a form guide as such actually add to the show?

Similarly, I’d refute the notion that an end-of-practice green tyre rush is particularly desirable.

So, no, there’s no need for multiple practices to appease fans. One big, long Friday hitout will do the trick.

Now, how to replace those pesky weekend practice sessions?

Not with another race, please.

Cam Waters wins the Sunday race. Pic: Supplied/Mark Horsburgh

That might not be the most popular of takes, but hear me out.

It is true that the most exciting element of a race often is the start/first lap.

But the reason why two races is better than three or four? Because the more races you add to a weekend, the less they mean.

That applies two-fold.

Firstly, in terms of championship value; 300 points are allocated across a weekend, excluding fastest lap bonus points. So, it’s 150 for each win in a two-race format.

If that becomes 100 or, heaven forbid, 75 apiece… all it means is less significance to any given result.

And it’s not like you can fix that by rewarding wins with 150 points a hit on three or four-race weekends, because that would suddenly make those rounds more important than an enduro.

A second downside of having multiple races on a single day is that it somewhat denies the chance for the winner of the earlier encounter to celebrate and get their fair share of the limelight – given the need to very quickly shift focus to another equally important race in a matter of hours.

So, instead, add any time that’s now available in lieu of Saturday/Sunday morning practices to the afternoon race length.

For what it’s worth, the qualifying system as it stands is pretty bang on: either a three-part knockout format, or a single session that leads into a Top 10 Shootout.

Both bring value, and some make sense at certain tracks more than others. So rolling with a mix between those two options is the ticket.

In summary…

Friday: One long practice session

Saturday: Knockout qualifying OR qualifying/Top 10 Shootout, into a longer race

Sunday: Knockout qualifying OR qualifying/Top 10 Shootout, into a longer race

Simple but hopefully effective in ticking boxes for fans, drivers, teams, sponsors, and other stakeholders alike.

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