A return to twilight racing could be back on the cards for the V8 Supercars Championship, possibly as early as this year’s curtain-closing Sydney 500, according to today’s media reports.
That is the latest agenda of the series’ newly-appointed CEO – and ex-TV man – James Warburton, who is keen to move the series’ broadcasts into primetime television slots in 2014 and beyond.
According to reports in the News Limited press, Warburton is keen to accelerate the concept into this year’s penultimate race, with the Saturday’s 250-kilometre leg of the Sydney 500 to be staged at sunset.
“A twilight race in Sydney is a fantastic concept which we will push for very hard,” he is quoted as saying.
“The appeal of a late afternoon start, especially on a Saturday summer’s evening in Sydney, is one we believe will be highly successful.
“I’m very keen on innovation and looking at new and different ways to further grow the sport.”
The proposal to reschedule the Saturday race to the twilight comes amid ongoing negotiations between V8 Supercars and the New South Wales government to extend the event’s future beyond the end of this year, the last in its multi-year contract.
However, Warburton’s proposal has not factored in any associated costs to do so – which include floodlighting the circuit – that have typically meant previous initiatives for twilight and night races have fallen through.
The last twilight V8 Supercars races took place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit in 2011 (pictured above), while the last night race on Australian soil took place way back in 1997 at Calder Park Raceway.
The future of the Sydney 500 – the only V8 Supercars event in New South Wales – remains under a cloud after it emerged in a major corruption hearing that the disgraced former state minister who negotiated the deal, Ian MacDonald, took a large payment for himself as part of settling the terms of the contract.