V8 Supercars has released its 2014 Championship calendar with a shift towards prime time twilight racing, new standardised race formats and a temporary axing of the Austin event ringing the changes.
The 2014 schedule consists of 16 events, starting with a pre-season test day in Sydney. The Clipsal 500 Adelaide then kicks off the 14-round Championship in March, with a non-championship outing as support to the Australian Grand Prix to be held two weeks later.
A minimum of five Saturday twilight races are expected in 2014, with this year’s Sydney 500 in December the first event to move to the twilight schedule, the first 250km race running from 5.10pm to 7.30pm local time. Confirmation of which events will feature the format will be released in the New Year. This October’s Bathurst 1000 Top Ten Shootout will also be staged later on Saturday afternoon.
After the inaugural visit to the Circuit of the Americas in May 2013, the Austin event is on hold due to a scheduling conflict with the X Games festival allowing V8 Supercars to consolidate its Australian events and work on a new international push for 2015. V8 Supercars has had preliminary discussions with several venues in the US with a view to ‘twinning’ the Austin 400 in the future.
“The timing of COTA securing the X Games next year led to the mutual agreement of a gap-year before consolidating, planning and returning to Texas in 2015,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
“The first Austin 400 was an enormous success at all levels and a tremendous platform to build into the future; in conjunction with developing an extensive international strategy for 2015 and beyond.
“The prospects are virtually limitless; there is that much potential in the sport.”
In its place is a return to Sydney Motorsport Park. The Western Sydney circuit having missed out in 2013, will host the official pre-season test day on Saturday February 15, with the Championship returning for a points paying round in August.
There is only one international event scheduled for 2014, with a return to New Zealand’s Pukekohe Park Raceway in April, marking only the second time since 2004, that every V8 Supercars event will be held in Australasia.
As previously reported, V8 Supercars has simplified its race formats for 2014, with next year’s calendar comprising of just three different event types – Super Sprint, Super Street and Endurance Cup events – and refuelling included at every round.
The ‘Super Sprint’ format – two 100km races on Saturday, followed by a single 200km race on the Sunday that incorporates pitstops for tyres and fuel, will feature at Tasmania, Winton, Auckland, Perth, Darwin, Ipswich, Sydney (Motorsport Park) and Phillip Island. However, the Auckland event – the ITM500 – to be held in April, will include an additional 100km on the Friday to the Super Sprint format, as part of a four day meeting over the ANZAC Day weekend.
The Super Street format two 250km street circuit races over the Saturday and Sunday will form the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, Townsville 500 and the Sydney 500.
The Enduro Cup, which incorporates Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast, will be retained.
Unveiling the 2014 schedule, V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton emphasised that innovation is the key to further broadening the appeal of V8 Supercars and making it accessible to more people than ever.
“We have the opportunity to continue with an entrepreneurial approach, with high levels of innovation and commitment to our fans,” Warburton said.
“There is a chance to build on the energy and passion of the business created through the course of this year; taking it to the next level in 2014 and even further in 2015.
“We have had the period of consolidation, now is the time for innovation, growth and building for the next five to ten years.”
The 2014 V8 Supercars Calendar
Test day: Feb 15 – Sydney.com V8 Supercars test day, Sydney Motorsport Park
Round 1: Feb 27-Mar 2 – Clipsal 500 Adelaide, Adelaide Street Circuit (SuperStreet)
NC: Mar 13-16 – 2014 Formula 1 Aust Grand Prix, Albert Park
Round 2: Mar 28-30 – Tasmania 400, Symmons Plains Raceway (SuperSprint)
Round 3: Apr 4-6 – Winton 400, Winton Motor Raceway (SuperSprint)
Round 4: April 24-27 – ITM 500 Auckland, Pukekohe Park (SuperSprint)
Round 5: May 16-18 – Perth 400 Barbagallo Raceway (SuperSprint)
Round 6: June 20-22 – SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin 400, Hidden Valley (SuperSprint)
Round 7: July 4-6 – Townsville 500, Reid Park (SuperStreet)
Round 8: Aug 1-3 – Coates Hire Ipswich 400, Queensland Raceway (SuperSprint)
Round 9: Aug 22-24 – Sydney Motorsport Park 400, Sydney Motorsport Park (SuperSprint)
Round 10: Sept 12-14 – Wilson Security Sandown 500, Sandown Raceway (PIRTEK Enduro Cup)
Round 11: Oct 9-12 – Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, Mount Panorama (PIRTEK Enduro Cup)
Round 12: Oct 24-26 – ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600, Surfers Paradise (PIRTEK Enduro Cup)
Round 13: Nov 14-16 – Phillip Island 400, Phillip Island Circuit (SuperSprint)
Round 14: Dec 5-7 – Sydney 500, Sydney Olympic Park (SuperStreet)