The Olympic Games and Covid have delivered a double punch to the running of this year’s SuperCheap Auto TCR Australia Series, with a delay and a gap in the calendar before a packed run to the end to the season.
The Pandemic has also delivered another kick to the Australian Rally Championship.
A planned trip north to Queensland to race TCR in June with Motorsport Australia has been postponed until August while the annual ARC trip across Bass Straight has also been delayed.
“We thought we would have a smoother run this year after the Covid situation last year. But the current Victorian situation has shown us how quickly things can change,” the head of the Australian Racing Group, Matt Braid, told Race News.
“We were hoping to fill the gap in the middle of the year with a new event in a warm environment, but now we’ll be looking at building momentum through the back end of the year.”
So the TCR title fight will now resume at Morgan Park on August 13-15 while Rally Tasmania has been moved back all the way from July 2-4 to September 10-12.
“It may have been possible to hold the event on its original date if the situation in Victoria improved, however … the risk of any extended border closures means we were eager to make a decision now,” said Michael Smith of Motorsport Australia, talking about Rally Tasmania.
According to Braid, TCR scheduling – which also includes the Trans Am and Touring Car Masters categories that top its supporting bill – has been made tougher because of the 7 Network’s broadcasting commitments around the Olympic Games in Japan.
“We knew, off the back of the Olympics, that we would have to work around those dates for Queensland. Supercars also had to adjust their postponed date for Winton,” said Braid.
But he said there is no possibility of the all-new event at Morgan Park, in regional Queensland near Warwick, would be cancelled.
“This event was kicked-off by Motorsport Australia and the Warwick Council is very much behind it. So we are doing everything possible to avoid a cancellation.
“It is in everybody’s interests to keep the event going.”
He said ARG always knew that S5000 single-seaters would not be making the trip, even with a break before the category’s new summer season begins in November, because the circuit does not have the necessary safety rating for the high-powered V8 racers.
“We knew the likelihood of S5000 being able to race at the circuit was limited. So we never anticipated S5000 going to Morgan Park.”
With the latest calendar changes complete, “based on what we currently know”, Braid said the focus for TCR racing is on the Bathurst International meeting that will cap the season in late November.
“There is lots of discussion happening at the moment. We’re probably a couple of weeks away from confirming some details around race formats for that event.”