Reports are emerging that the Adelaide Superloop 500 has been bumped off pole position as Supercars traditional season-opener as the pandemic makes construction of the circuit an uncertainty .
Construction of the Parklands facility takes place before the end of the previous year with up to four months of lead-in time necessary to put up temporary grandstands and concrete barriers, giving the first inkling of the race drawing nearer as early as December.
The circuit and its surrounding spectator and corporate facilities will occupy just under 610,000 square metres of space as it acts as a playground for over 200,000 fans to enjoy over four days.
The event is exceptionally popular and remains the only event to be inducted into the Supercars Hall of Fame in 2005. But equally important, it has held the coveted spot as the season-opener to the championship each year since 2002 barring two international races in Abu Dhabi.
But now confirmation has been received that the South Australian Tourism Commission have conceded defeat to the pandemic and contacted Supercars yesterday to forfeit its rights to the event.
As compensation, the Commission will target the rights to host the season finale of 2021. Though that would compel Supercars to waive their contractual obligation with the New South Wales government for the state to host a marquee finale.
“Our world-class street circuit requires significant planning and temporary infrastructure to operate successfully,’’ said executive director Events SA Hitaf Rasheed
“Our event-build is one of the largest in the state and comes with considerable risk and reward.
“Top of mind for us, is our many suppliers and stakeholders who will soon start making huge investments into the event, both time and money, and we want the best result for them as well as our loyal fans.
“We are working with Supercars on revised dates for the 2021 event and looking to have this resolved in time for their calendar release, currently planned for the back half of October.”
An announcement of a new date could be expected as early as today and could create a knock-on effect for fellow street circuits such as the Australian Grand Prix venue in Melbourne.
The claims support the news suggested by Velocity News earlier in the week that the uncertainty around the 2021 AGP could see the event moved to a permanent circuit in South Australia, likely Tailem Bend.
It will not be the first time a change to the Adelaide 500 date has been mooted, after a previous attempt by Supercars to start the season in January this year which had event promotors up in arms as they believed it would be too hot for spectators and drivers.
Those plans fell through and have yet to be picked up again by Supercars.
The series will have one more round in Townsville this weekend to cap off a lengthy month-long string of events.
From there the paddock will head to SA for back-to-back weekends at The Bend Motorsport Park with two yet-to-be-determined different circuit layouts set to be used. The season will then conclude in line with the Bathurst 1000 on October 18.