S5000 to revive the Tasman Series
S5000 will revive the famous Tasman Series name later this year, although the category won't actually race in New Zealand for the time being.
The V8-powered open-wheeler series has confirmed that it will stage a seven-race Tasman Series across two separate meetings at what will be the beginning of its 2021/2022 season.
The Tasman Series will replace what was meant to be the Triple Crown, taking in the Australian Grand Prix, the Bathurst International and the Gold Coast 500, until the AGP was cancelled.
It will now only include the Bathurst International (November 26-28) and the Gold Coast 500 (December 3-5), with four races at the former and three at the latter.
As part of the reshuffle in the S5000 schedule, the Bathurst International will now be the first race of the new S5000 season rather than the Motorsport Australia Championships at Sandown in September as first planned.
The winner of the series-within-a-series will join the likes of Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart as recipients of the Tasman Cup.
It will mark the first time the Tasman Series has been run since 1975, and the first time the Tasman Cup has been awarded since a brief comeback in 1999 and 2000.
There will also be a 'substantial prize money fund', according to the announcement, with details to be confirmed later.
The Tasman Series concept has the blessing of the relevant governing bodies on both sides of the ditch, with plans for New Zealand events to be incorporated in the future, once international travel restrictions are lifted.
“When the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled it forced us into looking into different ways to stage a prestigious S5000 competition that included the Bathurst International and Gold Coast events,” said Matt Braid, CEO of S5000 promoter the Australian Racing Group.
“With growing New Zealand interest in S5000 and two high-profile events that serve as a launching pad, bringing back the Tasman Series title was a no-brainer.
“Introducing an international component to S5000 has always been in the plan, but the changing landscape this year has encouraged us to do something different and innovate, and it comes with significant investment from ARG and buy-in from our existing teams and competitors.
“The awarding of the Tasman Cup for the first time in two decades comes with the full blessing of Motorsport Australia and Motorsport New Zealand and it is absolutely our plan to build this into a full trans-Tasman series for S5000 in the future.
“This announcement gives S5000 two distinct opportunities to grow, via the Tasman Series over summer and the Australian Drivers’ Championship across a regular calendar season.”
Both Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca and MotorSport New Zealand CEO Elton Goonan welcomed the return of the iconic series.
“S5000 has already proven to be a real fan favourite, and a category that is certainly turning heads as it grows in stature," said Arocca. "It is a worthy recipient of the Motorsport Australia Gold Star and this rebooted Tasman Series is a terrific addition to the calendar.
“There are so many motorsport legends who have made a name for themselves in previous Tasman Series from years ago. We have no doubt there are plenty more talented individuals ready to etch their own name in Australian motorsport history in the months ahead.
“Motorsport Australia looks forward to the first ever Tasman Cup being awarded later this year and we wish all competitors and teams the very best as they look to create more open-wheel history to round out 2021.”
Goonan added: “It’s great to see the revival of such an iconic series after 20 years and MotorSport New Zealand fully supports the return of a series that has so much history between our two nations.
"With some many Kiwi names adorning this trophy already, it’s great to enable the stars of today from NZ and Australia to do battle is these new cars which have created such a stir with the fans as they battle to join such a prestigious list.
"MotorSport New Zealand look forward to seeing the series taking to the track and look forward to hosting some rounds in New Zealand in the future."
There will be an all-in twilight test at Sydney Motorsport Park on the Wednesday before the Bathurst International.
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