The V8 Supercars Championship organisers have announced a series of radical changes for next year’s championship.
Undoubtedly the biggest change is the introduction of NASCAR-style qualifying races, which will be run at at least six events next year.
When the field heads to Symmons Plains, Barbagallo, Hidden Valley, Queensland Raceway, Winton and Phillip Island, it will be faced with a conventional 20-minute qualifying session on Saturday, which will determine the grid for the first of what organisers have dubbed ‘60/60 Supersprint Races’.
The first race will be a non-points-paying 60-kilometre race, with its finishing result being used to determine the grid order for the second 60-kilometre race, which will give championship points and start just 15 minutes after the chequered flag is waved for the preceding race.
Sunday’s schedule will see a pair of 120-kilometre races being run – both of which will have their own 15-minute qualifying sessions – in which refuelling will be banned.
The events run at distances over 400 kilometres – those being the races at Adelaide, Townsville, Sandown, Bathurst, Surfers Paradise and Sydney – will be run under their traditional formats and feature refuelling.
The remaining events at Auckland, Texas and Abu Dhabi will have their race formats sorted out soon.
While the V8 Supercars Commission also announced changes to the Dunlop tyre compounds on offer at each event, the other major change is the introduction of double-file restarts – a feature of championships such as NASCAR and IndyCar Series championships – which will also be used to start the second of the 60/60 Supersprint races.
It will be interesting to see how the field and fans react to the rules changes, but we’ll leave the final word to Ford Performance Racing’s Mark Winterbottom:
“I’ll try before I comment to much but it’s pretty out there!! Thoughts?” he asked his Twitter followers.
“Who’s going to peel the oranges at half time?” he quipped.