More changes to the Supercars calendar appears to be on the cards, with the suggestion that the Bathurst 1000 may replace the Gold Coast 500 as the season finale event.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer revealed in a media roundtable they are in discussion to move this year’s Bathurst 1000 to early December.
The growing Covid-19 Delta Variant outbreak in New South Wales could see spectator caps placed on the event, something Supercars is keen to avoid.
“We’re having to remain flexible in the face of COVID and what’s going on, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria,” Seamer said.
“What we’ve always said is that Bathurst 1000 is the one that’s not negotiable. And we’ll ensure that that event gets put in the right window to provide maximum attendance and exposure.
“We had a diluted Bathurst 1000 experience last year and nobody wants to be put in that position again.”
Given the category is hoping to avoid these caps Seamer has admitted a move to December is on the cards.
“[December is] certainly something that we’re looking at, the exact date TBC. But we’re certainly considering a schedule of the 1000 to make sure that it’s as late as possible, that gets maximum attendance and exposure.
“The latest it can go right now, talking to Channel Seven, is the first or second weekend of December. Otherwise we’re going to start clashing with the Ashes.”
Though they are working to avoid crowd limits Seamer conceded there is no guarantee the event will avoid them.
“The worst case scenario is having to execute the COVID plan that we did last year for Bathurst.
“But when you look at the vaccination trajectory, by the middle of October New South Wales will be 70 per cent vaccinated. So we’re talking about six weeks after 70 per cent of New South Wales is vaccinated.
“And the direction to date has been that it’s more likely to be a people per square metre restriction as opposed to an overall cap on attendees. Now that might change, but that should be encouraging for our fans and our partners because Bathurst is a pretty big place.
“Our concern is more interstate travellers to the event and New Zealand travellers to the event in December than absolute numbers.”
If Bathurst is moved to December, that would leave questions about the Gold Coast event currently scheduled for 3-5 December.
“We’re currently in discussions with the Queensland Government, Queensland Health and the Gold Coast council as it relates to that event,” said Seamer.
“Ironically, it’s harder to forecast where Queensland is going to be at that time because they haven’t gone through the same drama that New South Wales has gone through.”
Main image: Phil Blatch