The 2013 V8 Supercars calendar has been cut to fourteen championship events after Formula One Management confirmed that Australia’s premier tin-top championship will not feature as a support-race category in November’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The announcement comes in the wake of FOM instead electing to bring its GP2 and GP3 Series championships into the Yas Marina Circuit schedule, leaving no room in the support program for the V8s.
The news will come as a relief to many of the teams, who faced the event being run the weekend immediately following the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600, a typically fender-bending affair that would have left many teams in a desperate rush to repair cars damaged from the Surfers Paradise round.
The new calendar now looks like this:
|16 FEB||Official Pre-Season Test Session||Sydney Motorsport Park, Sydney|
|01-03 MAR||Clipsal 500 Adelaide||Adelaide street circuit, Adelaide|
|14-17 MAR||Australian Grand Prix*||Albert Park, Melbourne|
|05-07 APR||Falken Tasmania Challenge||Symmons Plains, Launceston|
|12-14 APR||Auckland 400||Pukekohe Raceway, Auckland|
|03-05 MAY||Perth Challenge||Barbagallo Raceway, Perth|
|17-19 MAY||Texas 400||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|14-16 JUN||SkyCity Triple Crown||Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin|
|05-07 JUL||Sucrogen Townsville 400||Reid Park Circuit, Townsville|
|27-28 JUL||Coates Hire Ipswich 300||Queensland Raceway, Ipswich|
|23-25 AUG||Winton||Winton Motor Raceway, Winton|
|13-15 SEP||Sandown 500||Sandown Raceway, Melbourne|
|10-13 OCT||SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000||Mt Panorama, Bathurst|
|25-27 OCT||ArmorAll Gold Coast 600||Surfers Paradise street circuit|
|23-24 NOV||Phillip Island 400||Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit|
|29-01 DEC||Sydney 500||Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney|
* Currently scheduled as a non-championship round, but subject to change
The 2012 event at Abu Dhabi was the first time that the series had support the Formula 1 Grand Prix program at the venue, and despite the billing that the world’s greatest open-wheelers offered, the touring cars once again failed to attract the crowds in the grandstands, with its three sprint races over the weekend staged in a near-empty facility.
The move to Abu Dhabi came in 2010 following an equally-disastrous foray into Bahrain between 2006-10 in the event known as the Desert 400. At each of the four events held (2009 being cancelled), the V8 Supercars team crews outnumbered the pathetic attendance of racegoing fans.
In announcing the cancellation of the 2013 round at Abu Dhabi, V8 Supercars management was rather laughably at pains to stress that the decision was FOM’s, and adding that they would explore all avenues to attempt a return to the Middle East in 2014.
“It has always been clear that FOM ultimately decides, or approves, ‘support’ categories that run in conjunction with Formula One,” V8 Supercars CEO David Malone said.
“We were acutely aware of this when we announced the 2013 calendar, with FOM then making this decision in late December. We thoroughly enjoy competing alongside Formula One and are absolutely comfortable with this news.”
Malone confirmed that no replacement would be sought for the November 1-3 event.
But he did also add that the series would explore other options to return as a support category event elsewhere on the Formula 1 calendar, in addition to scoping out a return to Yas Marina.
Quite why the category would continue to bark up this tree remains to be seen…