S5000 makes summer series move
S5000 will run a shortened 2021 campaign ahead of a summer series switch for 2021/2022.
The V8-powered open-wheeler series has locked in a four-round 2021 season, which will kick off in January and be finished by early May.
Three of those four rounds will be alongside TCR Australia – Symmons Plains (January 24-26), Phillip Island (February TBA) and Sydney Motorsport Park (April 30-May 2).
The trip to Tasmania in January will mark the first competitive running for the series since the Thursday of this year's Australian Grand Prix back in March.
The third round is listed as a TBA venue in a TBA March date, which is highly likely to be a return to Albert Park for the AGP.
The Symmons, Phillip Island and SMP rounds will be shown live and free on the Seven Network as part of the Australian Racing Group/Motorsport Australia broadcast deal.
There will only be a short off-season following the SMP finale, with the 2021/2022 season expected to kick off at Sandown in September.
It will also take in Mount Panorama for the Bathurst International later in the year, before running over the summer and concluding in April 2022.
Both seasons will count towards the prestigious Motorsport Australia Gold Star.
“After the frustration of last March’s Grand Prix cancellation, where S5000 was poised to make a serious statement, and the extended COVID-19 shut-down since, it really is exciting to confirm the re-launch of the S5000 Australian Drivers Championship Gold Star series, across the upcoming summer," said category manager Chris Lambden.
“It was always my view that S5000 should avoid the downsides of racing across winter in the southern states, and that’s exactly what we will now be doing.
"This series, slimmed back to four championship rounds in four months due to the delayed start and aimed at keeping series entrant costs down while the country gets back on its feet, will decide the first S5000 Gold Star Champion.
"We will then take a winter ‘off-season’ break and kick off a full six or seven round 2021/22 championship in September, at Sandown, running through to April again.
“Firming up the calendar allows our existing, and new, competitors the certainty they need to prepare well for the first Gold Star championship for several years.
"The four rounds are at four of the very best race tracks in the country, and S5000 will provide a spectacular contest. There are some strong combinations coming together, and so, at last, we will be able to put on the show that was so close to kicking off last March.
“In these still tricky times, with team economics likely being stressed for a little while yet, S5000 offers up-and-coming drivers what was intended from the start – the fastest and most spectacular race cars in the country, but at race budget levels way below many other national racing formulae.
"The grid is taking shape again, teams will be starting pre-season testing shortly, and we’re ready to provide real motorsport fans with something spectacular over the summer. It’s just so good to be able to go racing again."
2021 S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship calendar
|1||Symmons Plains (TAS)||January 24-26|
|2||Phillip Island (VIC)||February TBA|
|4||Sydney Motorsport Park (NSW)||April 30-May 2|