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Date approved for 2023 Supercars season opener

The Newcastle City Council has approved the proposed date for the opening round of the 2023 Supercars season.

Cameron Waters, Tickford Racing Ford

Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

The Newcastle street event is set to return to the calendar for the first time since 2019 next year after the last three events were called off due to the pandemic.

It has been moved from the season finale slot, which it held for three years from 2017, to the season opener, with Supercars recently applying for a March 10-12 date.

That date is now a step closer to be locked in after gaining approval from the Newcastle City Council.

However it's not yet a lock, with sign-off from Heritage New South Wales still required, after the existing heritage approval lapsed in April this year.

"Clarifying these new dates in March provides a good alternative to the previous season-closing events in terms of maximising the potential of the event from an economic perspective while also minimising disruption to the community and business operators," said Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

"The most recent economic assessment report by Ernst and Young found that on average, the Newcastle 500 delivered $36.2 million annually in total economic impact, which when compared with the $1.6 million cost of council supporting the race, equates to $22.60 being returned to the local economy for every [one dollar] council invested in the race.

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"Local tourism and accommodation providers that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 will be looking forward to benefiting from the economic stimulus provided by the Newcastle 500's likely return in March next year."

Should the approval be granted by Heritage NSW, Newcastle will host the very first race of the new Gen3 era.

Heritage sign-off would also open the door for Supercars to begin negotiating a new deal for the race beyond 2022.

The 2023 Newcastle 500, should it go ahead, will effectively be the final of the existing agreement that was put on hold during the pandemic.

That means a new deal needs to be struck between Supercars, the NSW state government and the Newcastle council ahead of a 2024 return.

"The future of the Newcastle 500 beyond the final race is a decision of the NSW Government in the first instance as the consent authority for the race," added Nelmes.

"Any inclusion of Newcastle as a potential host city for another five years will be subject to broad community and stakeholder consultation, and a decision of the elected council after the proposed event mid-to-late 2023."

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