The Newcastle 500 Supercars has officially been postponed over growing Covid-19 concerns.
Fears the race weekend scheduled for 4 – 6 March would become a super spreader event have prompted Supercars to re-evaluate.
Supercars CEO Shane Howard confirmed today the event would not go ahead as the opening race of the season, and would instead be rescheduled for later in the 2022 calendar.
“Given the growing and unpredictable Covid situation, it has become too challenging to stage a complex multi-faceted event on the streets of Newcastle for tens of thousands of race fans in March,” Mr Howard said.
The decision was made in consultation with Newcastle Council and stakeholders.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said while the Newcastle 500 would have been subject to a strict Covid-Safe plan, it was agreed postponing was the right decision given community concern remained high
“[Council] have been in regular contact with Supercars regarding the local situation. We all agreed that right now, and regardless of the additional precautions taken to run the Newcastle 500 safely, the community would feel more confident about the race proceeding later in the year,” Cr Nelmes.
As many in the community engage in a ‘shadow lockdown’ by limiting their movement and not attending large, crowded areas or events, there is also hope waiting will net a bigger economic benefit.
“With people still hesitant to travel due to the high number of Covid cases across NSW and the New Zealand border remaining closed, the right decision was to postpone the race and wait for visitor confidence to rebound over the coming months,” Cr Nelmes said.
This was echoed by Supercars CEO Shane Howard, who confirmed they fully intend to stage the Newcastle event in trademark style later this year.
“As a street circuit built in the heart of the CBD, the event provides enormous economic benefits to the region, and we want to ensure that happens again in 2022. We are working to confirm the rescheduled date as soon as practicable.”
Sydney Motorsport Park will instead host the 2022 season opener in just over a month’s time.