Newcastle’s triumphant return to the Supercars calendar has been delayed due to Covid-19 concerns, with the Sydney SuperNight set to replace the Newcastle 500 as the opening event of the season.
The Newcastle 500 was set to place on the streets of Newcastle from March 4-6 but instead, the Sydney SuperNight will be held on those dates at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Supercars announced the decision on Monday, citing concerns about holding an event in the middle of the Newcastle CBD while case numbers remained high.
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“Given the continuing evolving and unpredictable Covid situation, it has become too challenging to stage a complex multi-faceted event on the streets of Newcastle for tens of thousands of race fans in March,” said Supercars CEO Shane Howard.
According to Howard, Supercars “fully intends” to reschedule the event for later in 2022 and is currently working to confirm new dates.
Supercars has yet to determine whether Sydney will also host an event in November as had originally been planned.
Howard said he looked forward to racing in the Harbour City earlier than anticipated.
“We are excited to be opening our season under lights in Sydney in just over a month’s time,” Howard said.
“Sydney Motorsport Park is a permanent circuit with infrastructure for competitors and fans already in place.
“In 2021, the venue provided fans with some of the most exhilarating racing we have ever seen in Supercars.”
Supercars is preparing for a busy year, with each month from March and October currently set to feature at least one event.
Covid-19 cast a long shadow over the Supercars calendar last year. The Winton and Phillip Island rounds were among those cancelled due to pandemic-related concerns.