Surprise snub from Supercars calendar in new era

Supercars has revealed it will revive an iconic event and lose another in 2023 with the release of its new calendar.

The long-rumoured return of the Sandown 500 has been confirmed for September 15-17 acting as a precursor to the Bathurst 1000, which will take place on October 5-8.

Sandown has been an off-again, on-again fixture on the Australian motor racing calendar since the 1960s.

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The race was last held in 2019 and was dropped for 2020 in favor of an endurance race at The Bend Motorsport Park, but that event never got off the ground due to the pandemic.

Now, off the back of calls for the iconic race to return, Supercars has revived the 161-lap, two-driver feature.

Sandown’s return will no doubt be a welcomed addition to the calendar for Australian fans, but those across the ditch will be reeling at the omission of an event in New Zealand.

Pukekohe Park’s sudden demise forced Supercars to go looking for an alternative venue for 2023. However, attempts to race at Hampton Downs were unsuccessful.

Supercars CEO Shane Howard had previously spoken about New Zealand’s place on the calendar.

“We are still in progressive talks with our counterparts there for an event in the future, however as they continue it is in the best interest of all parties involved to focus on 2024 and beyond,” said Howard.

“We have every intention to return to New Zealand and we are confident of an announcement in the new year regarding a partnership with a new venue.”

Kylie Hawker-Green, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment manager of New Zealand Major Events, said a Supercars race across the Tasman is still on their radar.

“Major international events generate significant economic, social and cultural benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand,” she said.

“The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has previously supported the V8 Supercar events with $2.2 million over five years from the former Major Events Development Fund and will continue to liaise with event organizers to consider how the government could support the event returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in the future.”

As previously announced, the 2023 season will open on the streets of Newcastle on March 10-12 where the all-new Gen3-specification Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro will debut.

The championship will then head to Melbourne for the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park across March 30-April 2.

Perth will host Supercars on April 28-30 at Wanneroo Raceway, although next year’s event will not be a night race as it has been since 2019.

Symmons Plains near Launceston features on May 19-21.

Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway will play host on June 16-18 followed by the annual street race in Townsville on July 7-9.

The sole night event takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on July 28-30 followed by The Bend Motorsport Park near Adelaide on August 18-20.

The Sandown 500 and Bathurst 1000 follow before the famous Gold Coast street race at Surfers Paradise on October 27-29.

The season then comes to a close in Adelaide on November 23-26, a week earlier than this year’s finale.

Outside of Auckland, the other notable omission from this year’s calendar is that of Winton Motor Raceway, which has had a regular place on the calendar since 1985.

There was talk of Supercars featuring at the Singapore Grand Prix as part of the undercard to Formula 1 though that has evidently not come to fruition.

Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic-affected seasons of 2020 and 2021, it’s the shortest season in Supercars history since 1998 which featured just 10 events.

2023 Supercars Championship Calendar:

Newcastle 500 – March 10-12

Melbourne 400 – 30 March to 2 April

Perth SuperSprint – 28 -30 April

Tasmania SuperSprint – 19-21 May

Darwin Triple Crown – June 16-18

Townsville 500 – July 7-9

Sydney SuperNight – 28-30 July

The Bend SuperSprint – 18-20 August

Sandown 500 – September 15-17

Bathurst 1000 – October 5-8

Gold Coast 500 – October 27-29

Adelaide 500 -23-26 November

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