FRIDAY, MAY 25: The Australian Super Touring Championship is moving to a full Summer season for the first time under the provisional calendar for the 2001-2002 series announced today. When the championship began in 1994 it was contested entirely...
FRIDAY, MAY 25: The Australian Super Touring Championship is moving to a full Summer season for the first time under the provisional calendar for the 2001-2002 series announced today.
When the championship began in 1994 it was contested entirely in Winter, and continued with that format up to and including the 1999 series. The 2000-01 championship had four rounds in Winter, and then the final four rounds in Summer.
Championship organisers TOCA Australia announced today the 2001-02 series would begin at Queensland's Lakeside circuit on September 9, and finish at Oran Park in Sydney on March 3 or 10.
TOCA Australia Chief Executive Kelvin O'Reilly said the championship would again comprise eight rounds, and that dates and venues for seven of them had been finalised. He said the negotiations were continuing for the remaining round, which would be held between the September-March period.
O'Reilly said all eight rounds would be televised over a total of 16 hours by the Seven Network, as in the past two seasons.
Notable features of the new calendar, compared to the 2000-01 championship, include an additional round at Lakeside to replace the Mallala track near Adelaide. There will also be two rounds at Oran Park in Sydney, one less than in the previous championship.
Goulburn's Wakefield Park has retained two championship rounds, after a successful debut as a venue in the series in 2001-02. Symmons Plains Raceway near Launceston in Tasmania also remains on the calendar after returning to the championship in 2000-01 after an absence of five years.
O'Reilly said the calendar had been planned to maximise the strong Super Touring support base for the championship down the East Coast and in Tasmania.
"In Queensland, for example, we've always been well supported at Lakeside so we've allocated a second round there," he said.
"We have retained our presence in New South Wales, where many teams and fans of the championship are based, and we're delighted to be going back to Tasmania because the round at Symmons Plains was very successful and has the potential to grow in the future."
<pre> The provisional 2001-02 championship calendar dates are:
ROUND DATE CIRCUIT STATE 1. September 23 Lakeside Queensland 2. October 14 Oran Park NSW 3. November 4 Symmons Plains Tasmania 4. November 18 Wakefield Park NSW 5. January 27 Lakeside Queensland 6. February 17 Wakefield Park NSW 7. March 3 or 10 Oran Park NSW NOTE: Round 8 date & venue to be announced when finalised
</pre> O'Reilly said both the Super Touring and V8 TOCA Touring Cars (previously known as V8 Future Tourers) which contested the 2000-01 championship would again race in separate classes in the same event at all rounds.
However, in the coming season the V8 TOCA Touring cars will also be eligible for outright championship points.
O'Reilly said plans were also underway for the further development of the TOCA Touring Cars class, featuring cost-saving standard components including the engine, gearbox, and drivetrain.
He said a standard four-cam V8 engine was being considered which, with appropriate modifications, was expected to generate around 460-horsepower.
O'Reilly said the championship calendar and regulations had been submitted to CAMS, the national controlling body of motorsport, for approval.