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Newcastle 500 postponed

It has been confirmed the opening round of the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship will be held at Sydney Motorsport Park under lights instead of the Newcastle streets.

The decision was made to postpone the return of Supercars to Newcastle amid the current concern surrounding the number of COVID-19 cases in the locality and the continuing uncertainty the virus is causing in the community.

The Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight will instead open the season on March 4-6, but the Repco Newcastle 500 will be scheduled later in the season albeit where is yet to be defined.

“Given the continuing evolving and unpredictable COVID situation, it has become too challenging to stage a complex multi-faceted event on the streets of Newcastle for tens of thousands of race fans in March,” Supercars CEO Shane Howard explained.

“Putting on an event of the scale of Newcastle, in the middle of its CBD, requires an enormous amount of work to ensure it runs to a world-class standard.

“We have been in consultation with the City of Newcastle throughout January and understand that constructing and operating an event of this size during the current COVID period has caused concern in parts of the community.

“As a street circuit built in the heart of the CBD, the event provides enormous economic benefits to the region, and we want to ensure that happens again in 2022. We are working to confirm the rescheduled date as soon as practicable.

“We thank our fans, volunteers, local businesses, Destination NSW, the NSW Office of Sport and City of Newcastle for their ongoing support.

“We fully intend to stage this year’s Repco Newcastle 500 in Supercars’ trademark style, and we are confident that we will be able to successfully do this later in the year.”

Sydney Motorsport Park held four Repco Supercars rounds last year following two in 2020 as the extent of the global pandemic interrupted the season.

Opening the season under lights at Sydney Motorsport Park was done in 1996 when then Holden Racing Team young gun Craig Lowndes took two out of three wins on championship debut.

Minister for Tourism and Sport, and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres emphasised the Government’s dedication to hosting events like the Repco Newcastle 500.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting these important events for our state,” Ayres said.

“We commend the determination and resilience of Supercars and will continue to support their efforts to deliver safe, successful and spectacular motorsport events in NSW.

“These events deliver adrenalin-packed motor racing, economic and social benefits for the community and expose NSW to millions around the world.

“We look forward to the Sydney SuperNight Race opening the Supercars 2022 season at Sydney Motorsport Park and announcing a new date for the Newcastle 500 as soon as possible.”