The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is often referred to as Supercars’ own ‘grand final’. But what if it actually was and ended the Supercars championship season? We debate that prospect in V8X Supercar Magazine issue #102.
Issue #102 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
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An average audience of 1.897 million watched the 2017 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 across seven hours and 20 minutes, peaking at 2.746 million across Fox Sports, Network Ten and WIN TV.
It’s little wonder the Bathurst 1000 is often referred to as Supercars’ ‘grand final’, even though the season continues on after Bathurst with a few more events.
However, there’s an inevitable lull after Bathurst and little evidence suggesting the momentum generated from Mount Panorama carries on into the Gold Coast, Pukekohe and Newcastle. The news cycle moves on quickly as the summer sports kick into gear.
So would it be such a bad idea for Supercars to revert back to ending its season with the Bathurst 1000, pushing back the event to the end of the championship as it was in 1999 and 2000?
Supercars has long since lost the traditional Bathurst 1000 date on the Labour Day long weekend in New South Wales, meaning the event isn’t necessarily locked in to October.
The development of the calendar in September could also pave the way for a change to the Bathurst date.
Supercars remains in ongoing discussions with Formula 1 owners Liberty Media to race at the Singapore Grand Prix, which is typically held in mid- September on the Sandown 500 weekend.
Racing in Singapore is likely to be paired with another Asian event to justify the cost of freighting the series overseas.
And the Sepang Circuit in Kuala Lumpur is leading the way with negotiations at an advanced stage.
The Malaysian capital hosted Formula 1 a fortnight after Singapore, a double header in Asia that Supercars could replicate.
Any deal to race in Singapore would, therefore, force a change in the schedule for the Pirtek Endurance Cup events at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast.
With Sandown facing closure in the coming years and Supercars needing to find a new home for the 500km endurance event, there’s another break from tradition that could see the Bathurst precursor event move away from its September date.
If indeed the Asian races do take up the final weeks of September, Pukekohe and Newcastle could be moved into October before the Pirtek Endurance Cup.
The Gold Coast 600 could launch the Pirtek Endurance Cup in late October before the stakes and kilometres are increased at the 500km enduro event and then the Bathurst 1000 in November.
Rather than Bathurst coming one week after the AFL and NRL grand finals, Supercars has an opportunity to build up to it with a condensed schedule of marquee events leading into the real ‘grand final’. And with both the Bathurst 1000 and championship on the line, there’s additional weight to the importance of the event.
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