The Australian Supercars Championship will celebrate a milestone 1,000th national-level touring car race when the field grids up for the second round of the 2019 season at the Melbourne 400, which plays support billing at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The landmark race is the fourth of the season – the second of four races during the weekend – which will be Saturday’s 13-lap sprint race around the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit. The very first Australian Touring Car Championship race took place in February 1960 at the Gnoo Blas circuit in New South Wales, which was won by David McKay in a Jaguar.
This year’s Melbourne 400 will mark the second time in Australian touring car racing’s 22-year stint at Albert Park that the Grand Prix support races will count towards overall championship honours, following last year’s inaugural championship-level event.
The four-race format will be retained, with two 25-lap twilight races on Friday and Saturday – each with a compulsory pit stop – and two 13-lap sprint races on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
This year’s Melbourne 400 event has also secured naming rights sponsorship from tyre retailer Beaurepaires.
“The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is regarded as the best touring car championship in the world and it is a testament to this reputation that it now celebrates its 1000th race,” said Andrew Westacott, CEO of the event’s organising body, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.
“We are proud to be the host for this incredible milestone and delighted to have the support of Beaurepaires as naming-rights partner of our round of the Supercars championship.
“The Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 is a fitting stage to celebrate this milestone when the world’s attention is on Albert Park for the opening round of the Formula 1 season and we look forward to playing host for this historical moment in Australian motorsport.”
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer added: “Supercars has a very proud, 22-year history at the Australian Grand Prix, and it’s a great milestone to reach 1000 races this year. The Grand Prix is a wonderful international stage for our sport, our teams and our fans as we compete alongside Formula 1 at Albert Park.”
The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix and the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400 take place on 14-17 March.
Image via Keith McInnes Photography