The inaugural Coates Hire Newcastle 500 will be contested on the layout announced with Council and the New South Wales Government in December, Supercars has confirmed. A mooted move to an alternate route along Shortland Esplanade just eight months out from the November 24-26 event has been deemed unviable. Confirmation from Supercars that the circuit will not be altered comes alongside the Newcastle City Council’s decision to fast-track a planned $8.8 million public works program for the area. It will include the renewal of roads, footpaths and kerbs throughout the precinct, while additional roadworks will also be funded and undertaken by Supercars in the lead-up to the event. A Supercars statement stressed engineering and safety concerns would prevent moving part of the circuit to Shortland Esplanade.
“Supercars Australia welcomes Newcastle City Council’s decision to bring forward its scheduled maintenance works to deliver with the inaugural Newcastle 500 in November,” it read. “The comprehensive upgrades will be conducted in conjunction with the Newcastle 500 civil works program by advancing key projects and bringing significant benefits to the entire Newcastle community. “Council’s commitment means the event will proceed in 2017 on the agreed circuit, delivering the City’s largest event and $57 million in projected economic benefit over the next five years. “There are, however, serious engineering and safety concerns with the Shortland Esplanade layout. “These are based on previous advice citing engineering concerns, insufficient timing and track safety. On this basis the Shortland Esplanade configuration may not be an option in future. “This decision has been taken after consultation with Newcastle Council engineers and officers undertaken prior to last night’s meeting. “We will continue to work with Newcastle Council to ensure the 2017 Newcastle 500 is a great success for the region.”