Critical 24 hours for Winton Supercars event

Supercars and its teams face a nervous 24 hours as Melbourne teeters on the verge of lockdown due to a growing COVID-19 cluster.

Critical 24 hours for Winton Supercars event

The Aussie series is set to race at Winton in northern Victoria this weekend, however the Melbourne outbreak has cast significant doubt over the event.

As it stands there are no restrictions that impact Winton, with the measures limited to mandatory mask wearing indoors and limits on private gatherings.

Sporting events in Melbourne can, based on the current advice, have crowds as long as spectators are wearing masks.

However with the cluster quickly growing, a further five cases late yesterday pushing the total out to 15, there is no guarantee the restrictions won't change quickly and drastically.

Acting Victorian premier James Merlino today wouldn't rule out a lockdown.

"The next 24 hours will be critical," he said. "We are not going to foreshadow what those changes may or may not be. It will be dependent on what happens over the next 24 hours and advice from the public health team."

Based on the current situation the Winton SuperSprint is going ahead, circuit owner and operator the Benalla Auto Club confirming as much on its Facebook page earlier today.

"Our advice this morning from the Victorian Government Regional Events Team is that the Winton SuperSprint can proceed as normal as a Tier 1-approved public event," read the post.

"The restrictions announced for Melbourne yesterday apply to public gatherings, which is different to a public event.

"Once inside the Winton Raceway precinct, our approved COVID plan is in effect with QR codes and tracing data available should it be required."

But that too may change.

Should there be a statewide lockdown, a real possibility now exposure sites from outside Greater Melbourne have been discovered, the event would likely not go ahead.

Even a lockdown for Greater Melbourne would be problematic as six teams are based in the state capital and may not be able to cross the regional borders to get to Benalla.

The Queensland and New South Wales teams are also directly affected by the threat of border measures in their home states.

Queensland Health has already declared the City of Whittlesea a hot spot and anybody entering the state has to go into hotel quarantine for two weeks.

There is no guarantee that won't be extended to all of Victoria if the cluster continues to grow, which could leave team staff and drivers unable to return home.

Motorsport.com understands that Queensland teams are deferring their travel south to see how the situation develops.

New South Wales is also on edge with two close contacts from the Melbourne cluster known to have crossed the border. However the only border restriction is for anybody who has been to an exposure site to isolate on arrival.

Supercars isn't on track until Saturday, which means teams could bump in as late as Friday. But the support categories, including Super2 and Super3, SuperUtes, and Toyota 86s, are on track Friday – which means interstate teams will need to be on the road today.

shares
comments

Related video

Dakar winner Price lands top Supercars recruit
Previous article

Dakar winner Price lands top Supercars recruit

Next article

Supercars teams poised to leave Victoria

Supercars teams poised to leave Victoria
Load comments
Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match Prime

Why Courtney and Tickford are a dream match

James Courtney has been around the block in his motorsport career it's fair to say. After a single-seater career cut short, he's won everything there is to win in Supercars. Following a rocky ride recently in the Australian category, he's found a happy hunting ground with Tickford Racing.

Supercars
Oct 21, 2021
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020