Supercars calendar shake-up beckons

A shake-up to the back end of the 2021 Supercars schedule beckons as potential border restrictions threaten a number of events.

There is fevered speculation that a number of contingencies are being put in place as Supercars looks to shore up the second half of its schedule.

It's imperative that the series stages 12 events to satisfy the broadcast agreement with Fox Sports and the Seven Network.

The first of those contingencies is already in play through the last-minute scramble to turn this week's trip to Townsville into a double-header across the next two weekends.

The Auckland SuperSprint and the Perth SuperNight are the most at risk due to the high likelihood of border closures should there be COVID-19 outbreaks elsewhere.

The New Zealand travel bubble has consistently been suspended to deal with recent outbreaks in places like Melbourne and Sydney, while Western Australia keeps its border closed to any state that has recorded less than 14 straight days of no community transmission.

According to Motorsport.com sources both could be dropped as part of a revamped run home that would start with a second trip to the The Bend after the winter break.

The Sydney SuperNight would then be put back to give the New South Wales capital time to get on top of the current COVID-19 outbreak that has seen the entire city plunged into lockdown.

That would be followed by the Bathurst 1000 in October, while the postponed Winton round could effectively replace Auckland on either the initial NZ date (November 6-7) or what was going to be the Australian Grand Prix date (November 20-21).

The Gold Coast 500 is still set to close out the season on December 3-5.

Should the rumours ring true, dropping events early would mark a change of philosophy for Supercars as it deals with the pandemic and Australia's ultra-conservative approach to dealing with positive case number.

Speaking to media last month series COO Shane Howard said: "With COVID, you can't jump at shadows. You've got a plan, you stick to it until, basically, you can't stick to it.

"You can have a thousand different scenarios that you start looking at, but you've just got to deal with official government information that determines the outcome.

"We lock in a date, we work to that date, monitor the situation on a daily basis and, depending on the outcomes of those health restrictions and border restrictions, you may need to change.

"We work to the date that we've nominated and then we monitor on the way through, but the aim is always to deliver it on that date."

That's certainly been the case so far this year. Supercars only postponed its Winton round amid the Melbourne outbreak in late May on the Thursday before the event.

The Townsville event also seemed hugely unlikely early last week when the city went into lockdown due to a positive case, but Supercars held firm and instead enacted the bold double-header plan.

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