2011 V8 Supercar Series: The 2011 V8 Supercar calendar has been released (see full calendar below) with some major changes.
Bahrain is off the calendar, with the statement from V8 Supercars Australia indicating the decision to not stage the event was driven by congestion of the circuit's international racing calendar.
Martin Whitaker, Chief Executive Officer of V8 Supercars Australia said: “Bahrain was the pioneer of V8 Supercars racing in the Middle East.
"The success of the race was the catalyst for developing the double-header with Abu Dhabi but we fully understand the challenges that Bahrain is now facing with the proximity of the Desert 400 to the opening round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
“There will always be a really strong affinity and friendship between the Kingdom of Bahrain, Bahrain International Circuit and V8 Supercars and we wish them luck in the future as the circuit continues to lead the development of motorsport and corporate hospitality in the region”.
Its absence means the Middle Eastern tour is reduced to one event, with the season beginning at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for the second consecutive year.
V8 Supercars will return to Western Australia on May 6-8 after a year’s absence, with the WA government committing approximately $5 million to redevelop the circuit and its pit facilities.
After much speculation about its future, Queensland Raceway retains its spot on the calendar, but moves to the later August date – the final event before the enduros.
“V8 Supercars looks forward to the new facilities that will be in place in Perth by the time of the 2012 Championship event,” Whitaker said.
“In the case of Queensland Raceway we thank both the Queensland Government and the Ipswich City Council for their efforts and assistance getting this venue locked into the Championship.
“The support that we have received from both the Government and the Council gives us the opportunity of creating a real differentiator for the Championship at Queensland Raceway. Our plans are to announce an exciting new development in late November.”
Despite speculation linking V8 Supercars to an event on the streets of Singapore as part of the Formula One round, there’s no Singapore event in 2011.
“We came to the decision, due to commercial and logistical reasons, to concentrate on the new permanent circuit at Changi which opens in early 2012 rather than the Grand Prix event in September,” said Whitaker.
“The close proximity to the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and our objective of trying to accommodate Singapore as a full Championship round made it very difficult for all parties, particularly our teams, to come to an agreement.
“We look forward to including Singapore in the March/April period of 2012. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who assisted us in Singapore , particularly the organizing committee and Formula One Management, and would also add what a stunning event the Singapore GP has become.”
The mid-season break has been condensed drastically when compared to this season’s nine-week hiatus, with approximately month-long breaks between events from Winton in May to Bathurst in October.
With Bahrain’s exclusion and Perth’s inclusion, the 2011 season remains at 14 Championship events with the non-Championship Australian Grand Prix event in March.
A pre-season test day and season launch will be held at Eastern Creek in Sydney on January 29.
The makeup of the calendar has been a point of contention in recent weeks as the announcement was delayed twice.
It was originally to be announced in mid-September but that was pushed back to Bathurst, with further delays at Armor All Gold Coast 600.
V8 Supercars Chairman Tony Cochrane said he did not want to inconvenience fans’ travel plans by releasing a calendar that would be changed at a later date.
||Yas V8 400, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi |
||Clipsal 500, Adelaide Parklands|
||Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne (non-championship)|
||ITM 400 Hamilton, New Zealand|
||Barbagallo, Western Australia|
||Winton Raceway, Victoria|
||SKYCITY Triple Crown, Hidden Valley|
||Sucrogen Townsville 400, Queensland|
||Queensland Raceway, Ipswich|
||L&H 500, Phillip Island|
||Supercheap Auto 1000, Bathurst|
||Falken Tasmania Challenge, Symmons Plains|
||Norton 360 Sandown Challenge, Victoria|
||Sydney Telstra 500, Homebush|