Next year’s New Zealand round of the Supercars Championship will feature three sprint races without refuelling as the series confirms its formats for the 2021 season.
A blend of one, two, three and four-race weekend formats will make up a 32-race season.
Added into the mix will be the introduction of the super soft tyre compound, which has undergone recent testing at Queensland Raceway.
The super soft will join the current crop of soft and hard tyre. But it will only be used in rounds at Winton and Hidden Valley.
“Dunlop is synonymous with innovation in tyre technology and in 2021 will provide Supercars teams with various tyre compounds to suit different race formats, driving high performance racing across 11 different track surfaces,” said Chris Radin, Dunlop Tyres Managing Director.
“Dunlop is excited to offer a new super soft tyre in 2021 alongside the soft, hard and wet tyre configurations to help Supercars deliver the most exciting racing possible for the fans.”
The New Zealand round, which yet has had its venue confirmed, will be comprised of three 115km races.
The majority of events in the calendar will follow a similar format, with rounds at Symmons Plains, Tailem Bend, Winton, Hidden Valley, Sydney Motorsport Park and Perth also all having three races each.
Only the season-opening Mount Panorama 500, Townsville 500 and Gold Coast 500 have two 250km races. All three will also have refuelling in their pitstops instead of just the usual tyre change.
For the first time since 2010, the Gold Coast race will be run as a single-driver round. It will also be knocked back from its usual 600km format to 500km.
Likewise, the Townsville round will move to a 500km format for the first time over its traditional 400km.
The two anomalies in the season are the Melbourne 400 and the Bathurst 1000. The former will run as a support series to the Rolex Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and feature its usual four 100km sprint races.
Sandown is reportedly mooted as Supercars back-up alternative for the Australian Grand Prix if international travel restrictions make the Melbourne City race unviable.
The Bathurst 1000 remains as just the single two-driver endurance event.
Also for next year, gone are the top-15 shootouts, and the series will return to its traditional top-10 format.
Shootouts will be at six of the 12 races across the season, with New Zealand, unfortunately, one of the remaining rounds to miss out.
The Mount Panorama 500, Gold Coast 500 and Townsville 500 will have two shootouts each, with the others coming at Hidden Valley, Sydney Motorsport Park and the Bathurst 1000.
Qualifying at the two shortest tracks on the calendar, Symmons Plains and Wanneroo Raceway in Perth will have the field split into two groups. Each group will have one car from each team.
|1||Feb 26-28||Mount Panorama 500||2 x 250 km|
|2||Mar 18-21||Melbourne 400||4 x 100 km|
|3||Apr 10-11||Tasmania SuperSprint||3 x 110 km|
|4||May 8-9||OTR SuperSprint||3 x 115 km|
|5||May 29-30||Winton SuperSprint||3 x 120 km|
|6||Jun 19-20||Darwin Triple Crown||3 x 110 km|
|7||Jul 9-11||NTI Townsville 500||2 x 250 km|
|8||Aug 20-22||Sydney SuperNight||3 x 125 km|
|9||Sept 11-12||Perth SuperNight||3 x 110 km|
|10||Oct 7-10||Repco Bathurst 1000||1 x 1000 km|
|11||Nov 6-7||ITM Auckland SuperSprint||3 x 115 km|
|12||Dec 3-5||Gold Coast 500||2 x 250 km|