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Supercars Pause Supports

The plans of Carrera Cup and Toyota 86 racers have been thrown into turmoil by the latest COVID-19 clamp-down in Victoria.

The one-make championships were both set to start their delayed seasons at Winton in Victoria, a plan then revised and rescheduled for the second meeting at Sydney Motorsport Park in just over a week, before the NSW-Victoria border closure put the brakes on all racing.

Although combined races for Super2 and Super2 cars will still be run on the Supercars program at SMP 2.0, the Porsche and Toyota racers are staying at home.

There is currently no confirmed start date for either the Carrera Cup or Toyota 86 championships, although the earliest potential meeting is the Townsville street race in late August.

The reason for the no-go decision for Sydney is the number of amateur teams and drivers from Victoria who are involved in the two championships.

They could not afford to join the Supercars exodus by Melbourne teams at the start of the week, or take the risk on an extended time away from their homes and businesses.

“It’s not possible. It’s not viable. A lot of guys in the championship have their own businesses and could not take the risk,” the Carrera Cup spokesman, Angus Thompson, tells Race News.

“We spoke to the teams and Supercars about the decision. We’re in constant communication with both sides throughout the process.”

According to the head of Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia, Neal Bates, the decision to cancel Sydney was not easy.

“It’s a national championship. It’s not fair when some people cannot come,” Bates tells Race News.

“It’s not just the Victorians, either. The teams from Tasmania and South Australia also couldn’t have made it.

“A lot of the teams are amateurs and families, who cannot drop everything or go into quarantine to go racing.”

The situation for Super2 and Super3 is different because more of the teams are based in Sydney and run at least semi-professionally, while some Super2 squads are linked to main game teams including Tickford Racing and were able to relocate from Victoria.

Bates says Toyota is already looking ahead and the next planned stop on the 86 championship is Townsville.

“We’re hoping that one will go ahead. But at the moment we really have no idea.”

Bates, who handles logistics and the technical side of the championship, also has to organised the professional guest drivers for the series.

“We were going to have Warren Luff and Harry Bates in Sydney, but that’s obviously not happening. In Townsville it would be Tim Slade and Michael Caruso, if it happens.”

The Carrera Cup calendar has already slipped from eight to seven events, and Thompson says there is no certainty going forward.

“We just don’t know at this stage. Everyone was excited to get back to start the season in Sydney, but obviously we now have to work with Supercars and the relevant government authorities to make it happen at some time in the future.”

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