V8 Supercars has released its calendar for the 2016 season, with the addition of a championship event in Malaysia and a more compact schedule described by the category’s CEO as “the most exciting the sport had seen and a major win for fans”.
The 16-event schedule, which gets underway with the Clipsal 500 on March 3-6, sees the season compressed to a period of 38 weeks but features more regular racing with several events separated by just two weeks.
Along with the category’s first international event since 2013, the other significant change sees the Phillip Island event move to April from its traditional spot in November, and the Sydney 500 finale brought forward a week to the last weekend in November. A four-week winter break will take place between the Winton SuperSprint on May 21-22 and the Darwin Triple Crown on June 18-19.
“We have a taken a close look at the calendar and come up with something that will be great for the teams, drivers and fans across Australia,” said CEO James Warburton.
“This more compact calendar delivers consistent and regular events throughout the season and expands the championship into Asia in what is a truly exciting development for the sport.
“We believe it will result in an even bigger following for our sport both locally and overseas with bigger crowds and our expanded television coverage on Fox Sports and Network Ten.
“A more condensed calendar will help build even more momentum and still provide adequate breaks for the teams and drivers.
“We have also moved the Coates Hire Sydney 500 forward to the end of November in what we expect will be a massive grand finale to the season.”
After a successful demonstration event in Kuala Lumpur last month, V8 Supercars will return to the Malaysian capital in August making a headline appearance at the KL City Grand Prix on the city centre street circuit.
“Malaysians were genuinely excited to see our five cars race through the streets of KL and we can only imagine their reaction when the full field is on the grid next year,” Warburton said.
“We expect up to 10,000 Australians to travel to Kuala Lumpur for the event which will also build exposure for V8 Supercars across Asia.”
With the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix pushed back by two weeks, the Albert Park event will switch places with the Tasmania Super Sprint. The support card event presently remains a non points-paying event, although it’s understood the event could still gain championship status.
The two-day pre-season test in February has also been scrapped in favour of a static season launch event, with teams to be allowed to do more testing during the season.
With Perth dates scheduled for May 6 to 8 next year, the future of the Barbagallo event has been secured with confirmation of a new three-year deal with the West Australian Government.
Minor changes to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 schedule have also been announced with amendments to the race’s start time and practice session lengths. Pushed back by 30 minutes, the race will now start at 11:00am local time, with the warm-up starting 30 minutes later than previously at 8:20am in line with the start time change. The four full field practice sessions will also be reduced from 50 to 45 minutes.
“Whether they be sprint races or endurance events, we are committed to delivering first class entertainment and unprecedented access for fans to their heroes,” said Warburton.
V8 Supercars 2016 Calendar
|Clipsal 500||Adelaide Parklands Circuit, SA||March 3-6||Super Street|
|Tyrepower Tasmania Super Sprint||Symmons Plains Raceway, TAS||March 18-20||Super Sprint|
|Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park, VIC||March 31- April 3||International Super Sprint|
|WD-40 Phillip Island Super Sprint||Phillip Island Circuit, VIC||April 15-17||Super Sprint|
|Perth Super Sprint||Barbagallo Raceway, WA||May 6-8||Super Sprint|
|Winton Super Sprint||Winton Motor Raceway, VIC||May 20-22||Super Sprint|
|Skycity Triple Crown Darwin||Hidden Valley Raceway, NT||June 17-19||Super Sprint|
|Castrol Edge Townsville 400||Reid Park, QLD||July 8-10||Super Street|
|Coates Hire Ipswich Super Sprint||Queensland Raceway, QLD||July 22-24||Super Sprint|
|KL City Grand Prix||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia||August 12-14||International Super Sprint|
|Sydney Motorsport Park Super Sprint||Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW||August 26-28||Super Sprint|
|Wilson Security Sandown 500||Sandown Raceway, VIC||September 16-18||Pirtek Enduro Cup|
|Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000||Mount Panorama, NSW||October 6-9||Pirtek Enduro Cup|
|Castrol Gold Coast 600||Surfers Paradise, QLD||October 21-23||Pirtek Enduro Cup|
|ITM Auckland Super Sprint||Pukekohe Raceway, NZ||November 4-6||Super Sprint|
|Coates Hire Sydney 500||Sydney Olympic Park, NSW||November 25-27||Super Street|