The Supercars Championship’s highly publicised desire to push into Asia is on ice until at least 2018.
Series officials are set to unveil the 2017 calendar in the lead up to the SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in October, with the only major change expected is the announcement that Newcastle will replace Sydney Olympic Park as the season finale. It is expected that an official announcement about this will be made next week.
The other earmarked events in Thailand and Indonesia, both slated for 2017 calendar slots, look set to be on hold until 2018 at the earliest.
While deals have been struck for championship rounds at Sentul (pictured above) in Indonesia and a street circuit round on the outskirts of the Thai capital Bangkok, their respective promoters have both elected to delay their events’ debuts.
Their respective delays come in the wake of the cancellation of this year’s inaugural KL City round in Malaysia, where the series was set to race in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It was cancelled following a still-ongoing legal dispute over the rights to promote the event.
Speaking on Melbourne’s SEN radio station, Supercars CEO James Warburton – who has vocally championed the addition of Asian rounds on the championship calendar – conceded that neither the Thailand nor Indonesian rounds will take place next year.
“I don’t think there are any guarantees for 2017, but certainly ’18 and beyond,” he said, when asked about both events.
“We’ve got contracts in Thailand and Indonesia. Most likely (it will be) 2018 for both. It’s still an outside chance [next year], maybe, but ultimately the hold-up with the calendar has been a number of announcements we’ve made in the last week or so.”
The Supercars calendar is expected to be finalised once the FIA World Motor Sport Council ratifies the 2017 Formula 1 calendar, which sees the touring car series hold a non-championship round at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
Image via Mapio