No threat to Clipsal 500 despite night push

clipsal500future
Clipsal 500 race organisers suggest they have the rights to the first Australian event on the V8 Supercars calendar, amid concerns they could lose the season opening slot if unable to stage a night event.

{div width:280|height:280|float:right}{module Banner Ads in article|xhtml}{/div}V8 Supercars supremo Tony Cochrane confirmed over the weekend that he is pushing for the Clipsal 500 to stage Friday qualifying and Saturday’s race under lights, in order to telecast the season opening race into the valuable prime-time slot for the series’ new television deal from 2013.

In a press conference at the event he said, “We would like to do a night race at the opening round, whether the opening round is here or somewhere else,” prompting some to query whether the Clipsal 500’s recently reinstated spot at that the start of the season was under threat.

In response, Clipsal 500 Publicity Manager Mike Drewer says, “For the position of the first race, V8 Supercars tried it overseas and decided to change their mind and are back where most people believe it should be, so I think it will work out.”

On whether the Clipsal 500 was guaranteed the season opening slot, he says, “I won’t share the full content of the contract, but let’s say it’s a matter of whether a race is offshore or onshore.

“Tony (Cochrane) made some remarks in the media conference but we don’t do our business in media conferences; we do our business in meetings and I’m sure Tony will have a meeting with us at the appropriate time where all those matters will be discussed.

“Even Tony admits it’s the race that’s put V8 Supercars on the platform it’s on at the moment, so I’m sure we will be able to reach an amicable agreement.”

The event’s current contracts with V8 Supercars and naming-rights sponsor Clipsal both end in 2015 with all parties set to discuss the night racing proposal, with Cochrane stressing that the cost of lighting the precinct would fall on the promoters, the South Australian Motor Sport Board and state government.

The South Australian Motor Sport Board chairman Andy Ford told the local newspaper, The Advertiser, “Adelaide can have this race as long as it wants.”

This season’s Clipsal 500 crowd totaled 263,400 over four days, 7400 down on 2011 despite returning to the season opening slot, resulting in a controversial clash with the local Festival and Fringe arts festivals and the Soundwave music festival.

“This is a brilliant result,” says South Australian Motor Sport Board Chief Executive Mark Warren on the crowd figure. “We have held the attendance within three percent of last year’s total and in the current economic climate that is an outstanding success.

“While we are the first round of the 2012 V8 Supercars Championship I have no doubt that we will maintain our position as the biggest national motor sport event in Australia and South Australia’s largest annual ticketed sporting event,” he says.

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Event Date
Superloop Adelaide 500 February 28-March 3
Melbourne 400 March 14-17
Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint April 5-7
WD-40 Phillip Island SuperSprint April 12-14
Perth SuperNight May 2-4
Winton SuperSprint May 24-26
BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown June 14-16
Watpac Townsville 400 July 5-7
Ipswich SuperSprint July 26-28
The Bend SuperSprint August 23-25
ITM Auckland SuperSprint September 13-15
Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 October 10-13
Vodafone Gold Coast 600 October 25-27
Sandown 500 November 8-10
Coates Hire Newcastle 500 November 22-24
   

 

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Pos

 Driver

 Points

 1

 Scott McLaughlin

3944

 2

 Shane van Gisbergen

3873

 3

 Jamie Whincup 

3433

 4

 Craig Lowndes

3153

 5

 David Reynolds

3225

 6

 Chaz Mostert

2807

 7

 Scott Pye

2608

 8

 Rick Kelly

2515

 9

 Fabian Coulthard

2477

 10

 Nick Percat

2290

 Full points table