Format changes for 2020 explained

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 28/08/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will feature an increase in racing kilometres for 2020, thanks to revised race formats.

While the number of events has been reduced by one to 14, all SuperSprint meetings have been expanded, with the Saturday races increased from 120km to 200km.

In 2020, the SuperSprint format will be used at Symmons Plains, Auckland, Winton, Darwin and Sandown, with all 200km races to retain the 120-litre fuel drop.

SuperNight rounds at Sydney and Perth will also feature twin 200km races, delivering more racing at the night meetings, while Townsville retains the format.

In total, there will be 6,700 racing kilometres in 2020.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer says the reason for changing the SuperSprint format is two-fold.

“If you’re someone who can only come on the Saturday versus the Sunday, you pay the same to be there,” he explained.

“We felt like we needed to make sure that we were delivering a better product on a Saturday at the sprint rounds.

“The other piece is that it capitalises on us being there all weekend anyway, so if we’re there we felt like we should be racing a little bit longer on Saturdays.”

ARMOR ALL Qualifying changes

The number of Top 10 Shootouts increases to 11 in 2020.

Tailem Bend will feature a Shootout as part of its move to the PIRTEK Enduro Cup, marking an end to the ‘Race to the Grid’ sprints previously seen at the Sandown 500.

The Gold Coast and Newcastle street races will now feature Top 10 Shootouts on Saturday and Sunday, as part of the push to add Saturday value.

Three-part, knockout qualifying will again feature at the SuperSprint and SuperNight rounds following its widespread introduction this year.

Two-part, 25-minute qualifying sessions meanwhile precede the Shootouts in Adelaide, Pukekohe, Townsville, Darwin, Tailem Bend, Gold Coast and Newcastle.

SuperNight Sundays

Barbagallo will be joined as a night event by Sydney and the Gold Coast 600 in 2020, with Barbagallo and Sydney running to a revised SuperNight format.

Instead of racing on Friday and Saturday nights, the now 2x200km heats will be spread across Saturday night and Sunday evening.

Friday night practice is slated for both events, with no running on Thursdays.

“We did Thursday, Friday, Saturday night at Perth this year. We don’t think that we maximised that,” said Seamer.

“The Saturday night was great but the Friday night and Thursday wasn’t as strong. 

“We’re looking at doing Friday and Saturday night and then Sunday as late as we can which will probably be a twilight format.

“It’s very difficult trying to balance Sunday night because you know fans and families want to get home, so we don’t want to run too late on a Sunday.

“But we don’t want to shift the whole schedule forward to a Thursday like when did in Perth.”

Multi--compound racing returns

The Melbourne 400 at Albert Park moves to a 4x100km format, and with a key new component.

In an effort to spice-up the event, drivers will have to use both the soft and hard compound tyre in each race.

Multi-compound races have not been seen for several years, having been commonplace in the seasons following the introduction of the soft tyre a decade ago.

Although full tyre format details are yet to be confirmed, used tyre banks are expected to be abolished, with new rubber issued for practice at each event.

Other confirmations include the use of parc ferme rules at Symmons Plains, Barbagallo, Winton, Sydney and Sandown, following a two-event trial this year.

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