S5000 granted Gold Star status
The winner of the 2020 Australian S5000 Championship will be awarded Australia's prestigious Gold Star.
The Gold Star, the top achievement in Australian open-wheeler racing, has laid dormant since 2014 when it was stripped from the struggling Australian Formula 3 Championship.
It's set to return this year, though, with Motorsport Australia electing to revive the prize for the new V8-powered S5000 series.
“We are immensely proud to reinstate the Motorsport Australia Gold Star to the S5000 Championship as our premier open-wheel category,” said Motorsport Australia president Andrew Papadopoulos.
“The success of S5000 in its first year proved to the Motorsport Australia board that it is worthy of this significant honour, that has a rich history dating back to 1957.
“The Gold Star is one of the highest honours for any driver to win here in Australia, and when you look at the calibre of names that have won in the past, there is no doubt that Gold Star recipients are clearly some of the best drivers in this country."
Previous winners of the Gold Star include Lex Davison, Kevin Bartlett, John Bowe, Mark Skaife, Rick Kelly and Will Power.
There will also be two dual Gold Star winner on the S5000 grid this weekend in Tim Macrow.
"The Gold Star is Motorsport Australia's most prestigious drivers award, and the Australian Racing Group is honoured to have it bestowed on our category," said Matt Braid, head of promoter Australian Racing Group.
"It was always our aim to have S5000 recognised with the Drivers' Championship and the Gold Star. It was never a given, so we are proud of the work that has been done to have this new class endorsed with the ultimate driving honour in Australia.
"To have former world champion Alan Jones suggest that Australia's next Formula 1 champion will come from S5000 is an unbelievable endorsement.
"The Gold Star highlights the talent required to drive these cars, and with the field that we have seen sign up for the first season, we know the champion is going to truly deserve this award."
The first full S5000 season formally kicks off at Albert Park today.
Fisichella, Aitken turn first S5000 laps
Full 2020 Australian Grand Prix weekend schedule