Supercars in talks for more Formula 1 grand prix support slots

Supercars is set to pick up talks regarding the expansion of its relationship with Formula 1 during the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne later this month

Supercars in talks for more Formula 1 grand prix support slots

Despite a change in CEO at Supercars over the off-season, James Warburton replaced by Sean Seamer, expansion into Asia continues to be a hot topic for the Australian series.

Like his predecessor Seamer sees an increased involvement with F1 as the best way into the Asian market, building on the precedent set by F1 chiefs allowing Supercars to race for points at the Australian GP for the very first time this year.

That potentially opens the doors for the series to hold championship rounds at other F1 races in the region, with the primary target the Singapore GP.

Seamer is also focused on longer-term deals, looking to avoid a repeat of the shortlived venture in Malaysia back in 2015.

"I see Asia as viable for a few reasons; the timezone works for us with our existing delivery of digital and traditional media to our fanbase here in Australia, it's also a fantastic opportunity for sponsors and manufacturers involved to broaden their reach beyond Australia and New Zealand," said Seamer.

"Obviously it needs to be sustainable; we don't want to be going there and doing one-off races. It needs to be at least three years.

"And it makes the most sense to use Formula 1, in terms of racing with those guys, depending on what their calendar looks like.

"We will be picking up those conversations with FOM at the AGP in a couple of weeks."

Seamer says a push into regional centres is likely to be an ongoing focus for domestic calendar expansion.

In recent years Supercars has found more traction in regional centres than it has in the larger, more congested markets, prime examples being the success of the street races in Townsville and Newcastle (pictured below) compared to the demise of the Sydney 500.

"I think Newcastle last year shows how strong the sport is when you go into a new market and you do it right, you get 192,000 people through the place," he said.

"It's pretty special."

The sticking point is space on the calendar, with the Asian plans in the works and Tailem Bend in South Australia joining the schedule this season.

"We've got to be careful - we can't race every week of the year," Seamer added.

"But obviously discussions have been going on around Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Geelong, so all of those opportunities are on the table.

"That's something we'll work through with the teams, the shareholders, all of our partners, and local governments.

"I think Newcastle was a signal to a lot of cities and regions that we can do something pretty special when we come together with them."

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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