Supercars Join Footy In QLD

Supercars Join Footy In QLD

Queensland will become Supercars central as the touring car circus sets up camp to avoid the spread of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In a move that mirrors the AFL and NRL football codes, the Gold Coast is turning into a home-away-from-home for southern squads to protect events in the northern swing from NSW to the Northern Territory and back into Queensland.

The decision to establish a ‘hub’ for travelling teams should ensure a definite go-ahead for the Townsville street race, which has a deadline next week to begin construction work, and could see Queensland Raceway returning to the Supercars calendar if any more southern events are victims of the coronavirus.

The hub move comes after more than a fortnight of crisis meetings at Supercars, working on various plans to offset – and pre-empt – state government decisions on lock-downs.

The first casualty is the intended ‘park-and-view’ spectator plan for Sydney Motorsport Park, which was binned and leaves only 1000 public seats in the socially-distanced grandstand on the main straight.

Immediately after the SMP wrap on Sunday night another road train of teams will head north, much as the Melbourne teams did as they fled Victoria, with workshops and storage space being organised by Supercars.

“Everyone has a home,” Supercars technical chief, Adrian Burgess, tells Race News.

“The exact details are still a work-in-progress. We’re working through it. Everything is changing daily.”

Queensland teams have offered any support and the deserted Tekno workshop at Yatala is expected to house three southern teams.

“We’re happy to help where we can. There is no shortages of places around here for teams and trucks,” says Triple Eight supremo, Roland Dane, whose team operates from the Brisbane suburb of Banyo.

“We’ve offered to help and we’ve organised two potential sites if they are needed,” the CEO of DJR Team Penske, Ryan Story, tells Race News.

Team 18 should make an easy transition as team owner, Charlie Schwerkolt, operates on branch of his giant Waverley Forklifts business from Yatala.

“ We’ve got somewhere to go. We’re just not ready yet to confirm the details,” Schwerkolt tells Race News.

More than 200 people will be involved in the northern migration, including television crews who will join the five Victorian teams, two from NSW, broadcasters and officials.

“I want to thank the Queensland and Northern Territory Governments for their support to continue our 2020 Championship at this time,” says Sean Seamer, CEO of Supercars.

“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive response from within the category to ensure our season perseveres in a year that will continue to challenge us all.”

The move has the backing of the Queensland government, with Tourism Minister Kate Jones identifying the economic benefit that comes from Supercars.

“Before COVID-19, major events pumped more than $800 million a year into our economy. Having every Supercars team from around the country relocate to Queensland is even more great exposure for our state at a time we need it most,” she says.

“Supercars has a huge following throughout Australia. We know that thousands of Aussies are planning their first holidays out of isolation. Having images of the Gold Coast and Townsville beamed into their living rooms this winter is a great win for our tourism sector.”