What's new in Supercars' 2020 schedule changes

Supercars has announced its 2020 calendar, featuring multiple format adjustments and some notable innovations

What's new in Supercars' 2020 schedule changes

Here is the rundown of the main changes the series is making for next season.

First night time street race

The Gold Coast 600 at former CART IndyCar venue Surfers Paradise is set to take place under floodlights.

As part of a new five-year deal with the Queensland government, which also includes securing the future of the Townsville 400, Supercars' management has been given the green light to discuss a night race switch with local stakeholders.

"By upgrading lighting along the course, we can make the GC600 one of the most iconic motorsport events on the planet," said tourism industry development minister Kate Jones.

"Our economic modelling shows this would boost revenue by more than $25million - cash that will go straight back to local businesses and support local jobs.

"The GC600 is a great national event. But by racing under lights, we can tap into a new global motorsport market that could have huge benefits for tourism on the Coast."

The Bend gets new enduro slot

The long-mooted shake-up in the endurance section of the calendar was confirmed earlier this week.

Sandown has lost its slot in that line-up, with The Bend instead holding a 500km two-driver race.

Traditionally a rehearsal for the Bathurst 1000, the Sandown 500 has this year moved to the end of the endurance swing in November. The track will keep that slot for 2020, but become a single-driver event with a regular championship round format.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said there had been consideration to giving Sandown a pair of 250km races so its Sandown 500 name could be kept even after it lost endurance status, but it will instead be two 200km races.

"We had a lot of debate about that but it would have just put us too far over on the kilometres," said Seamer.

The 2020 season is set to include 6700km of racing in total, 40km more than this year thanks to a beefed up SuperSprint format (see below).

Sandown will keep its status as the 'Retro Round', with teams running classic liveries.

Phillip Island and Queensland out - for now

With the series slimming back to 14 rounds for its 2020 season, Phillip Island and Queensland Raceway both missed out on a spot, while Sydney Motorsports Park's night race returns as expected after a one-year break.

Neither axing comes as a complete shock; Phillip Island has struggled to attract crowds over the past few years, despite being the most picturesque circuit in the country and hosting Australia's MotoGP Grand Prix.

Ipswich venue QR, meanwhile, is understood to be a profitable event for Supercars, but the new five-year Queensland government deal is focused on the glamourous Townsville and Gold Coast races.

Seamer said neither of the dropped circuits is permanently out of favour so they could return in future years.

Short Saturday races dropped

The SuperSprint format used for much of the season this year involved a 120km Saturday race in a late afternoon/early evening slot, then a 200km race earlier in the day on the Sunday.

For 2020, that will become a pair of 200km races with a minimum of two pitstops.

The format will be used at Symmons Plains, Pukekohe, Perth, Winton, Hidden Valley, Sydney and Sandown.

Seamer said the primary idea is to avoid short-changing fans that have Saturday-only tickets.

"If you're someone who can only come on the Saturday versus the Sunday, you pay the same to be here," he said.

"We felt like we needed to make sure that we were delivering a better product on a Saturday at the sprint rounds."

Another key format change for 2020 is the timing of the SuperNight rounds in Perth and Sydney.

After trialling both a two-day Friday/Saturday format at Sydney last season, and a Thursday-to-Saturday schedule in Perth this year, the series will incorporate a Sunday race to both events next season.

There will be track action under lights on the Friday and Saturday nights, followed by a Sunday twilight race to round out the weekend.

"It's very difficult trying to balance Sunday night because you know fans and families want to get home, so we don't want to run too late," said Seamer.

"But we don't want to shift the whole schedule forward to a Thursday like when did in Perth."

2020 Supercars calendar

Date Event Circuit
February 20-23 Adelaide 500 Adelaide Parklands
March 12-15 Australian Grand Prix Albert Park
April 3-5 Tasmania SuperSprint Symmons Plains
April 24-26 Auckland SuperSprint Pukekohe
May 15-17 Perth SuperNight Barbagallo Wanneroo Racewa
June 5-7 Winton SuperSprint Winton Raceway
June 26-28 Townsville 400 Townsville Street Circuit
July 17-19 Darwin Triple Crown Hidden Valley
August 28-30 Sydney SuperNight Sydney Motorsport Park
September 18-20 The Bend 500 The Bend Motorsport Park
October 8-11 Bathurst 1000 Mount Panorama
Oct 30-Nov 1 Gold Coast 600 Surfers Paradise
November 20-22 Sandown 400 Sandown Raceway
December 4-6 Newcastle 500 Newcastle Street Circuit
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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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