Supercars planning combined Super2/Super3 series for 2020
Supercars is looking to revamp its second tier ahead of the 2020 season, with a combined Super2/Super3 field and a cash prize pool.
The category's lower tiers are currently split between the Supercars-run Super2, for homologated Car of the Future-spec cars, and the independent Super3 series, catering for pre-COTF cars that have been de-registered from the Supercars system.
However a bold plan by Supercars could see the top portion of the Super3 field merged into Super2 from next year onwards, with just the oldest-spec cars left in the standalone independent series.
There would still be a Super3 class within the combined field, however teams would need to switch from Kumho to Dunlop rubber and have their cars re-registered under Supercars rules.
According to Supercars CEO Sean Seamer the desired outcome is both a healthier second-tier competition, amid stagnating numbers in Super2, as well as a better "pathway" to help keep young talent in Australia.
“We're in discussion with the competitors at the moment around what the best way to bolster Super2 is, and make sure that we've got the maximum number of entries,” said Seamer.
“The primary focus for us, really, is around the driver pathway.
“We see good talent going overseas, particularly the likes of Matt Campbell, Jaxon Evans has just gone… Porsche’s doing a really, really good job, we need to lift our game, so we're looking at different ways that we can improve Super2, look at Super3 to improve that pathway, and obviously we're in discussions with Toyota as well about what role they might want to play in the 86 series.
“It's still a work in progress. We've obviously got to make sure that all the parties, particularly Toyota and the teams, are happy with it.
“We had a conversation with the teams about it at [last week's] AGM. Even competitors in Super2 now, or Super3 now, tell us ‘well, what next? How do I get there?’. So that's a part of the process that we're going through.”
The move isn't universally popular, with concerns reportedly coming from parts of the competitor base, the current Super3 management, and even the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.
But Seamer is adamant that the deal will go ahead, and that it will benefit the sport when it does.
"It's good for the sport, it's good for the drivers," he said.
"It's a very strong pathway. I'll be very surprised if it doesn't get up. None of the discontent that's been raised is not addressable.
“From our point of view, [the competitors are] keen to get onto our tyre package and work with Dunlop. At least they've said they are.
“That helps the drivers get more familiar with the package that we are running. It [also] gives them the opportunity to rub shoulders with guys that are running in Super2 and develop their racecraft with more experienced drivers, which is a lot of positives.”
Seamer added that cost containment will be part of the plan, current Super2 budgets often attributed to the stall in competitor numbers.
"That needs to be addressed at the same time," he said.
“So we're looking at, do we need to consider a reduction in rounds next year? And what other technical constraints do we need to put into that category, so that you can still develop drivers without spending unnecessary money? We are looking at [costs] as part of it as well.”
Money could also be used to lure drivers into the series, with plans for a cash prize pool.
“We're currently looking at a laddered system of cash prizes for each of the categories, winning each of the categories within that pathway as a further incentive to be used to run in the category above in the subsequent year," Seamer said.
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