ASTC: 2000-2001 Super Touring Calendar Announced

2000-2001 SUPER TOURING CALENDAR ANNOUNCED BOC GASES CHAMPIONSHIP MOVING TO SUMMER FORMAT TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16: The BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship has moved into line with motor racing worldwide and switched toward a Summer ...


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16: The BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship has moved into line with motor racing worldwide and switched toward a Summer format with its eight-round calendar for 2000-2001 announced today.

The final four rounds of the championship, announced by organisers TOCA Australia, will be held during the Summer months from November, 2000, to February, 2001.

Since the championship began in 1994 it has been predominantly held in the Winter months, and in the past two years was contested between April and August.

TOCA Australia Chief Executive Kelvin O'Reilly said the move to Summer would take advantage of optimum weather and longer daylight hours, and would maximise the confirmed 16 hours of television on the Seven Network, which was heavily committed to the Australian Football League in Winter.

"Motor racing in Summer has obvious advantages with warmer conditions," said O'Reilly. "This is not a new concept - the rest of the world has been doing it for decades, at international level with Formula One, NASCAR in the United States, and in the major touring car championships in Britain and Europe. We view the move to Summer as a crucial step forward."

"There is also more scope to explore new avenues with our television arrangements in Summer because the Seven Network has a big commitment to AFL in Winter. This is another major plus."

The opening four rounds of the 2000-2001 championship will be held during Winter from May to August, but O'Reilly said that was to ensure teams and competitors were not left idle for a lengthy period after this year's Bob Jane T-Marts Bathurst '99 meeting in October.

"We couldn't start next year's championship in September otherwise there would have been no racing for almost 11 months," he said. "The interruption to all sports caused by the 2000 Olympic Games gave us an opportunity to move to Summer in this transition season."

However, O'Reilly said the following championship (2001-2002) would begin in September, 2001, and would be a full Summer series.

The 2000-2001 championship starts on May 28 at Oran Park's South Circuit (1.9km) in Sydney, followed by Lakeside in Queensland on June 16. Round three is at Oran Park's Grand Prix circuit (2.6km) on July 9, and round four is at Mallala near Adelaide on August 13.

The championship's Summer section begins with round five in Queensland on November 12, followed by Symmons Plains or Baskerville in Tasmania on December 10, Sandown in Melbourne on January 7, and Oran Park's South Circuit on February 11.

Tasmania returns to the championship calendar for the first time since 1995 when Queenslanders Paul Morris and Geoff Brabham each won races in works BMWs at Symmons Plains, near Launceston.

O'Reilly said he was negotiating with Motor Racing Tasmania about whether the best venue for the round would be at Symmons Plains, or the Baskerville circuit near Hobart.

Sandown is on the championship schedule for the first time, and O'Reilly believes the Super Touring cars will be suited to the 3.1km layout, which features two long straights and hard-braking sections.

"Race fans can expect to see a lot of passing under brakes at the end of the straights, and the Super Tourers will be exceptionally quick through the tight parts of the track," he said.

O'Reilly said the Sandown date was subject to final approval from the Victorian Amateur Turf Club, which had not yet finalised its horse racing calender for 2001.

The venue for the second Queensland round on November 12 has not been finalised. Queensland Raceway, near Ipswich, is being considered pending the outcome of its future by receiver-managers, and Lakeside is an alternative.

Circuits which hosted championship rounds in 1999 not included on the calender are Winton Raceway near Benalla, and Calder Park on the outskirts of Melbourne.

O'Reilly said the move to racing in Summer months, the return to Tasmania, and the introduction of Sandown on the calender were all part of sweeping changes and a new-look championship.

Next year's championship also includes two new classes, for British Touring Car Championship 2001 cars and the international Super Production category. They will join the existing Super Touring cars that have previously contested the series.

"It's a fresh look for the New Millennium, and I'm confident the changes and improvements we have made will result in an ever better championship for the future," said O'Reilly.

O'Reilly said the race formats, and points scoring systems for the championship would be announced in the near future. Draft regulations had been submitted to CAMS.

2000/2001 CALENDAR

1.  May 28,  Oran Park (South Circuit),  New South Wales
2.  June 18,  Lakeside,  Queensland
3.  July 9,  Oran Park (Grand Prix Circuit),  New South Wales
4.  August 13,  Mallala,  South Australia
5.  November 12,  Queensland Raceway or Lakeside,  Queensland
6.  December 10,  Symmons Plains or Baskerville,  Tasmania
7.  January 7, 2001,  Sandown,  Victoria
8.  February 11, 2001,  Oran Park (South Circuit),  New South Wales

NOTE: All rounds will be televised by the Seven Network - 16 hours of coverage in total.

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Series General
Drivers Paul Morris , Geoff Brabham