The V8 Supercars Championship organisers have earned themselves some unwanted attention following last night’s launch of the 2014 season-opener, the Clipsal 500.
While the move to a twilight timing for Saturday’s format was widely expected (and welcomed), the decision to split the Saturday race into two 125-kilometre legs has triggered a backlash from fans.
The announcement will mark the event’s first major change in format in its fifteen-year history.
Next year’s event will see Saturday’s traditional 250-kilometre opener split into two 39-lap, 125-kilometre, races. The opening race will kick off at 3:30pm local time and finishing at 5:00pm, while the second leg will kick off at 6:30pm and finish as the sun sets over the parkland circuit.
The switch to twilight-timed races is no great surprise, with the series targeting a move to primetime TV viewing hours for as many races as possible next year under the direction of its new CEO James Warburton.
However, the format change – which is the latest in a string of
stupid format changes made to the 2013 schedule, such as the addition of the unpopular 60/60 SuperSprint format, which are dumped for 2014 – was a big surprise.
After announcing the format change online, fans were quick to criticise the decision to split the opening race, with many arguing that the shortened format is purely a gimmick which ruins the tradition of a perfectly format.
Many took to Facebook to question the dismantling of the traditional format, which has historically provided entertaining and tactical races in years past.
We couldn’t agree more.
Mercifully, Sunday’s format will remain unchanged, with qualifying, the Top-10 Shootout and its 250-kilometre race closing out the season-opener.