4.1 C
Mount Panorama
Sunday, May 26, 2024
HomeNewsWins and losses: 2023 Supercars calendar analysis

Wins and losses: 2023 Supercars calendar analysis

IT has perhaps been easy to get lost through the various storylines that have emerged in the wake of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship calendar’s unveiling.

There’s plenty of good and bad to take out of the news, as V8 Sleuth explores here.

KEY WINS

Certainty

It’s a factor that has been hard to come by in recent seasons, all of which have undergone multiple changes courtesy of curveballs provided by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even last year, there was a late change to bring Sydney Motorsport Park forward from season-closer to host Round 1, the belated addition of the Adelaide 500, and lingering uncertainty about whether or not Newcastle’s return would have to wait another year.

As for season 2023, it was long anticipated that the calendar would be released with a TBC, as Supercars explored whether New Zealand was feasible or whether it would have to resort to Tailem Bend.

But what has eventuated is the surest looking Supercars calendar in years, which should be good news for fans looking to book tickets and accommodation.

Variety of circuits

Long live the return of the street circuit.

After multiple pandemic-affected calendars, Supercars will finally return to its pre-COVID levels of street circuit spectacles.

The season will be bookended in style, with Newcastle opening and Adelaide closing, and there’ll be both Townsville and Gold Coast in between (not to mention Albert Park).

Drivers rave about the risk versus reward thrill that comes with such concrete canyons, and it makes for a nice balance to the various permanent circuits in use.

The start of the Saturday race at the 2022 Gold Coast 500. Pic: Tayler Burke

Sandown 500

Fans, drivers and just about everyone have been calling for the historic enduro to return before it’s too late, given the dark clouds hovering over the Victorian circuit’s future, so this is a considerable win.

Co-driver season adds some nice spice into the back half of the year, and the endurance specialists will no doubt lap up the chance to be better prepared come Bathurst time.

What’s better is that Supercars has managed to avoid the awkwardness of having to sandwich a solo round between Sandown and Bathurst, now that it’s been able to secure the coveted mid-September slot off the Melbourne Racing Club.

The only downside? No free-to-air coverage of the event for the first time in 34 years.

Three-day events

A little win that flew under the radar is the apparent axing of two-day events.

The rapid-fire format came to the fore during COVID times for cost-saving purposes but was generally unpopular.

Every event listed on the 2023 calendar is due to run across three or more days.

KEY LOSSES

New Zealand

There’s no hiding it: this is a travesty.

New Zealand has such a strong place in Supercars, both through its superstar drivers and passionate fans.

The Pukekohe farewell event in September was exceptional, and it really is a disaster that a replacement hasn’t been secured – and is not even a sure thing for 2024 at this stage.

Less night racing

From a perspective of variety, racing under lights brings a nice dimension to the calendar and seemingly has benefits for fans both trackside and watching from home.

For years, the direction has been a gradual increase in night racing, so for Perth to return to a full daylight round (leaving Sydney Motorsport Park as the only SuperNight) was a surprise.

Cost-cutting is said to have been a factor in the decision.

The 2022 Bunnings Trade Perth SuperNight. Pic: Nathan Wong

Less events

It’s always hard to cop a reduction at a time when major international categories are expanding their calendars.

From 13 rounds in 2022 and as many as 16 in 2018, there’ll be just 12 next year – the mandated minimum in the agreement between RACE and the teams – with permanent circuits such as Winton, Queensland Raceway and Phillip Island overlooked.

Some benefit of the doubt does need to be given though, with teams to be working overtime all off-season on their Gen3 projects.

Cold events

Granted, this is difficult to avoid, but there are a couple of events that have somewhat lost out on the climate front.

Above all, Symmons Plains’ move to the third weekend of May puts it the closest it has been to winter since 2009.

Sydney in July is the site of the sole night event, and a winter’s weekend at The Bend is always a tough sell.

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.



Latest News

Want to read more?

Subscribe to V8 Sleuth to receive regular updates of news and products delivered straight to you.