Supercars have confirmed the 2022 season will get underway in Sydney after organisers announced the postponement of the Newcastle 500.
The Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight will now kick off the 2022 championship.
Newcastle was scheduled to return to the calendar for the first time since 2019, with the event initially set to take place on March 4-6. Organisers have said Newcastle will return this season at a later date.
The decision to postpone was made as a result of the number of Covid-19 cases in Newcastle, New South Wales has frequently recorded case numbers over 20,000 a day.
The season will still start March 4-6 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“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,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard said.
“Putting on an event of the scale of Newcastle, in the middle of its CBD, requires an enormous amount of work to ensure it runs to a world-class standard.
“We have been in consultation with the City of Newcastle throughout January and understand that constructing and operating an event of this size during the current COVID period has caused concern in parts of the community.
“As a street circuit built in the heart of the CBD, the event provides enormous economic benefits to the region, and we want to ensure that happens again in 2022. We are working to confirm the rescheduled date as soon as practicable.
“We thank our fans, volunteers, local businesses, Destination NSW, the NSW Office of Sport and City of Newcastle for their ongoing support.
“We fully intend to stage this year’s Repco Newcastle 500 in Supercars’ trademark style, and we are confident that we will be able to successfully do this later in the year.”
Sydney Motorsport Park hosted four rounds of the 2021 championship after the midseason break.
Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes said that though the event would have been held following strict guidelines, the right decision was made.
“City of Newcastle staff have been in regular contact with Supercars regarding the local situation,” Cr Nelmes said.
“We all agreed that right now, and regardless of the additional precautions taken to run the Newcastle 500 safely, the community would feel more confident about the race proceeding later in the year.
“The Repco Newcastle 500 has attracted a growing number of visitors from all parts of NSW and throughout Australia and New Zealand.
“With people still hesitant to travel due to the high number of COVID cases across NSW and the NZ border remaining closed, the right decision was to postpone the race and wait for visitor confidence to rebound over the coming months.”
Main image: Supercars