The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has today announced a host of changes to manage the calendar of events to deliver a full 14 round 2020 championship in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The championship has been working diligently to assess all available options to ensure the continuity of the series based on information provided by government authorities and event promoters.
These decisions have resulted in any further racing delayed until June, resulting in the postponement of the next three rounds of the championship originally scheduled for Tasmania, Auckland (New Zealand) and Perth.
These events will fit in a revised calendar that is planned to contain a full 14 round championship that will be released in due course.
In a statement issued to teams, fans and media this morning, the Supercars organisation reiterated its commitment to deliver the full 14 round championship to fans and partners, irrespective of the dates.
“Our sport is a visceral experience and rather than run without crowds, we have decided, along with our key broadcast and government partners, to delay any further racing until June,” the statement read.
“Bathurst will obviously proceed on its scheduled date. We have a plan for how we can make that happen and will begin discussions with all of our stakeholders over the coming days to lock this in.”
In the meantime, the series will focus its efforts on eSports with the championship to host an eSeries championship hosted on Twitch, Fox Sports and Kayo where fans will get to see the full field of Supercars stars, including IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom battle it out in the virtual world before racing resumes in real life.
See below for words from IRWIN Racing/Team 18 Owner and an official statement from Supercars CEO Sean Seamer.
Charlie Schwerkolt – Owner, IRWIN Racing/Team 18
“This is one of the most incredible situations I’ve ever seen in my whole working career or for anyone at the moment, these are certainly uncharted waters,” said Charlie Schwerkolt.
“First and foremost we have to look after all our staff and the team. It’s a family here and we are going to look after them as best as we possibly can.
“The most exciting thing is we are going to go back racing and we can’t wait for that to happen.
“I can’t believe we’re not going to race for three months, but we have a big gap now so we just have to work out how we logistically manage the remainder of the year.
“We’ll still go over to Auckland, we’ll still go Tasmania, Perth and Bathurst and all of those rounds but it’s going to be a massive back end of the year.
“With the potential of back-to-back races we’ll be doubling-up truck drivers and changing how we go about our regular processes to make sure we make these events happen and put our best foot forward in every race.
“We have an incredible fanbase and I appreciate all the messages of support from all of our partners and sponsors that are involved with the team.
“We are all so thankful for everyone’s support going through this period but we’ll do our best to look after everyone and come back firing when the cars roll out again.”
Sean Seamer – CEO Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Today, on behalf of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, I want to provide an update on our plan for managing the 2020 Championship during the months ahead.
We have been working diligently to assess all available options to ensure continuity of the Series.
Obviously, the situation is evolving, but we acknowledge the need to act decisively with the information we have at hand.
Our sport is a visceral experience and rather than run without crowds, we have decided, along with our key broadcast and government partners, to delay any further racing until June.
Tasmania, Auckland and Perth events will all be postponed until later in the year, not cancelled.
Fortunately, our calendar this year enables us to do this.
Supercars’ priority is to deliver the 14 round 2020 championship for our fans and partners, irrespective of the dates. Bathurst will obviously proceed on its scheduled date. We have a plan for how we can make that happen and will begin discussions with all of our stakeholders over the coming days to lock this in.
We anticipate that we will be able to formalise and communicate this plan within the next few weeks. In the meantime, we are unique and fortunate in that we are able to simulate our racing via eSports.
So, between now and late June, Supercars will host, via Twitch, Fox Sports and Kayo, an eSeries Championship where fans will get to see our stars battle it out in a virtual world while we wait to go racing again for real.
We wish our fans, partners and people all the best through these challenging times.