Albert Park, Gold Coast added to S5000 schedule
The Australian Grand Prix and the Supercars finale on the Gold Coast have been added to the 2021/22 S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship schedule.
The V8-powered open-wheeler series is set to host a series-within-a-series later this year, with a Triple Crown to be contested over three high-profile events in three weeks.
The first is the rescheduled Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on November 18-21, followed by the Bathurst International on November 26-28 and the Gold Coast 500 on December 3-5.
S5000 has already made a half-appearance on the AGP undercard, a 16-car grid that included superstars like Rubens Barrichello and Giancarlo Fisichella having been set to race there last March before the event was infamously cancelled on the Friday morning.
The Bathurst International will mark the first appearance at the Mount Panorama circuit for the series, while the slot on the Gold Coast undercard will see top-level open-wheelers return to the Surfers Paradise circuit for the first time since the IndyCar era.
The idea of the Triple Crown is to attract overseas drivers, with New Zealand the first port of call for talent thanks to the recently-established travel bubble, and perhaps even scope to look farther afield if Australia's borders begin to open later in the year.
“The stars have certainly aligned for us to be able to take this next small step and include an attractive string of three events within what will be S5000’s first full, seven-round season,” said category development manager Chris Lambden.
“[The Australian]Grand Prix, Bathurst, Gold Coast – can you think of a more attractive and exciting trifecta?
“The timing, in late November, is ideal in terms of attracting overseas drivers to race and it also doesn’t clash with the Toyota Racing Series, which opens up the potential for Trans-Tasman competition as well.
“Getting through our first, Covid-affected series has been important in establishing the bona fides of S5000.
“Excitement is already high for season two and there are already several new teams looking to join the fray in September, when Season 2 kicks off, and we have already had strong, legitimate interest from overseas in the Triple Crown.
“Obviously, we’re hoping this all provides the next step in the growth of Australia’s premier single-seater category.”
The Triple Crown will cover Rounds 2-4 of the seven-round 2021/22 S5000 summer series, which will kick off at Sandown in September.
Rounds 5-7 are yet to be formally confirmed.
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