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Supercars retro round won’t return in 2023

THE return of the Sandown 500 will not include a rebirth of the popular ‘retro round’ theme in 2023.

Sandown is set to feature its once traditional 500km, two-driver race format for the first time since 2019.

RETRO! Seven sensational retro round liveries

Supercars anointed the Sandown 500 as ‘retro round’ in 2016, with teams encouraged to run throwback liveries as part of the marketing effort.

Retro round proved popular with fans and was a fixture for four years before Sandown lost the 500km format for 2020.

The retro themed cars in 2019. Pic: All pics supplied

Supercars has since added another themed event, Indigenous Round at Hidden Valley, for which livery changes – which are costly for teams – are compulsory.

“It won’t be a retro round,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard confirmed of the Sandown 500, which will not have live free-to-air coverage.

“As the precursor to Bathurst, they’ll be running the same liveries for the Sandown round as what they do for Bathurst.”

EXPLAINED: How Holden’s most iconic livery was born

Teams are of course able to run one-off schemes at any round they choose.

Walkinshaw Andretti United has stolen the show at the Adelaide 500 with a throwback to the early 1990s Holden Racing Team, as Holden is farewelled from Supercars.

Regardless of the retro element, the return of the Sandown 500 is big win for traditionalists, especially as the future of the Melbourne venue remains clouded.

“We don’t have a deal for 2024 or ‘25, but we’re in discussions with them,” said Howard of Sandown’s future beyond next year.

“Originally the forecast was that this (2023) would be the last year, but we’re now in discussions that that could be expanded, we’re just working through those timelines.”

The history of the Sandown endurance races stretches back to 1964, meaning the 60th anniversary milestone is fast approaching.

“We want to be racing at Sandown in 2024 to celebrate that sort of milestone. I think that would be pretty special,” Howard added.

Although details of the Sandown format beyond the 500km Sunday race are yet to be announced, Howard confirmed that ‘qualifying sprint races’ are not on the agenda.

Supercars previously ran a variety of single-driver sprints before its 500km races at both Phillip Island and Sandown in order to add value to the Saturday card.

“We’re reviewing that,” Howard said of the format. “(But) we won’t be running the qualifying races. We will go to a more traditional qualifying format for the 500.”

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