THE non-championship Supercars outing at the Australian Grand Prix is no more, with the Grand Prix Corporation giving the category the green light to race for points from next year.
The highly anticipated and welcome move comes as the Australian Grand Prix and Supercars announce a new six-year deal for the category to appear at Albert Park until at least 2023.
Supercars boss James Warburton says the move has been years in the making.
“I am delighted to say that thanks to the hard work and perseverance of the AGPC, and the foresight of Formula 1, it is now a reality,” he said.
“A Championship round and the six-year contract extension through to 2023 will be warmly received by our fans and add a new dimension to the event. This fantastic opportunity to host championship races at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit will further showcase Supercars on the world-stage.”
Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott admits there has been overwhelming demand for the move.
“We continually listen to our fans and there has been a strong appetite for a Supercars Championship round, so we see the partnership as a highly beneficial one and we are excited to bring this opportunity to fruition,” Westacott said.
“It has also been great to have the support of Formula 1 and the can-do attitude of Supercars to help bring it all together and work towards creating an even better event for 2018 and beyond.”
While formats are yet to be confirmed, Exhaust Notes Australia is of the belief Supercars will have less races over the course of the Grand Prix weekend than years prior but have lengthened durations.
Teams and fans are already praising the move on social media while many drivers say it will make an already enjoyable event much more rewarding.
“We’ve had some success at Albert Park over the years but victory will be even sweeter with Championship points on the line,” said reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen.
“The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has always been one of my favourite events and it’s a great track at Albert Park. With the race being for points next season, it will definitely step up the competitiveness and put the pressure on,” added Mark Winterbottom.