THE RECORD THE 2020 SUPERCARS SEASON WILL LIKELY BREAK

Norm Beechey flying high at Lakeside 1970. He and his ATCC competitors would have to wait 112 days for the next - and final - race of the '70 championship at Symmons Plains. Image: autopics.com.au

HERE at V8 Sleuth we’re always on the look-out to keep the record books of the sport, in particular the Supercars Championship, up to date.

Quite often we’re looking way off into the distance at upcoming driver milestones round starts, streaks and other interesting stuff.

But the current suspension of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship got us thinking.

In this, the 60th anniversary of the Australian Touring Car Championship, what is the longest we’ve ever had to wait between ATCC/VASC races within a season?

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Today, April 15, marks 52 days since the second race of the Superloop Adelaide 500 won by Scott McLaughlin.

The longest gap between championship races actually was back in 1970 – 112 days between the Lakeside round in late July and the final round at Symmons Plains in mid-November.

At the moment it appears very, very unlikely there will be any form of Supercars Championship racing amid the current COVID-19 pandemic between now and the end of June, meaning we’re on target to set a new record this year for the longest gap between championship races within a season.

The five longest gaps in ATCC/VASC history within a season are: 
112 Days – 1970 Lakeside to 1970 Symmons Plains
77 Days – 1977 Lakeside to 1977 Sandown (Hang Ten 400)
77 Days – 1969 Surfers Paradise to 1969 Symmons Plains
77 Days – 1976 Lakeside to 1976 Sandown (Hang Ten 400)
77 Days – 1969 Mallala to 1969 Surfers Paradise

The 2010 L&H 500 at Phillip Island ended a big break period in that year’s championship. This is the Andrew Thompson/Nick Percat Bundaberg Red Racing Commodore VE. Image: AN1 Images/Justin Deeley/inetpics

The longest gap in recent history is the 2010 season, which had a mid-season break built into it that saw a gap of 63 days between the Sunday race in Townsville in mid-July and the Phillip Island event in mid-September.

But that’s nothing compared to the wait back in the days of the single-race championships. Granted, there were other touring car races going on around the country, but there were 580 days between the very first ATCC at Gnoo-Blas in 1960 and the 1961 title race at Lowood in Queensland!

And what of off-seasons? The wait from the 1996 championship’s end to the 1997’s beginning is in fact the longest with a gap of 272 days from Oran Park 1996 (the title finishing early to avoid the Atlanta Olympics that Channel 7 was committed to) through to Calder 1997.

Lucky in that era there were the Sandown and Bathurst enduros to keep touring car fans going in the meantime!

With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.