New S5000 series reveals radical Speedway-inspired qualifying

The new S5000 series will feature a radical qualifying system inspired by Speedway in its first two events, with drivers picking their own starting positions as part of the format

New S5000 series reveals radical Speedway-inspired qualifying

For the first two events of the season, at Sandown and The Bend, the Australian V8-powered series' main-race grid will be determined by a qualifying session and two qualifying heats.

The fastest driver in the original qualifying session will get to choose where they want to start the first heat race from.

Second fastest will choose next, and so on until the top 75% of the grid has been set.

Those starting positions will then be reversed for the second heat race, with the grid for the feature race determined by points amassed across the two races.

Drivers outside the top 75% in qualifying will simply start heat one from the position they qualified, and heat two from the positions they finished heat one in.

The heat races will last 20 minutes, and will be followed by a 30-minute final.

"We want entertaining racing all weekend, so the idea is that for the main race, the person on pole has to earn it - by racing and passing other cars," said category manager Chris Lambden.

"This will certainly mix things up during the two qualifying heats - much like the top-eight reversals in international Formula 2 and Formula 3 do [the second race at each round has a partially reversed-grid race] - and the reward for qualifying fastest is the right to pick first.

"I'm a fan of World Speedway, where the riders get to select their starting gates for the finals based on their performance in the heats.

"It adds a bit of theatre to it all and is a reward for performance.

"It should provide some action and excitement on the way to Sunday's main race.

"It's a great opportunity to try it out."

The Sandown season opener will get underway on September 20, where ex-Ferrari Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello will be part of the inaugural grid.

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