Supercars are taking a careful approach to slotting New Zealand onto its 2022 season calendar as the first piece of the puzzle was laid down today.
We now know Newcastle is home to round one next year. The street circuit will host its event on March 4-6.
Currently, Newcastle is the only round locked in for 2022.
The rest of the calendar is expected to be announced over the next few weeks and likely done in chunks.
New Zealand, which has not held a Supercars race since 2019, will probably be towards the end of the season.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer wants a season without calendar cancellations and revisions, something that also hasn’t happened since 2019.
However, that means being watchful of places with stricter Covid-19 measures and higher vaccination targets, such as New Zealand.
“The way that we will finalise the 2022 calendar, which we’re going through right now, is minimising our exposure to states that may not be at the vaccination targets that they like,” Seamer said.
“What does that mean? Taking a cautious approach to when we want to go to Perth and New Zealand in particular, and, to a lesser extent, Queensland.”
The New Zealand Government have constantly emphasised a desired vaccination target of roughly 90 per cent.
The latest Ministry of Health update says 44 per cent of the country’s population are fully vaccinated.
Quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will also have to be restored for events like Supercars to go ahead.
Pukekohe and Hampton Downs are the two circuits mooted as possible venues for next year’s Supercars round.
In April, Auckland Unlimited told Velocity News they are pushing to keep Auckland on the calendar for 2022.
Supercars are also analysing an expansion of their New Zealand package, which may include two rounds in the future.