In a bid to add a ‘pure racing’ element to the sport, V8 Supercars has announced a number of extensive changes to its sprint race formats for the 2013 season with a move away from fuel and tyre strategy races.
Six of next year’s events will feature a “60/60 Super Sprint” format on the Saturday – a 120km race split into two 60km halves and separated by a 15-minute ‘half time’ break and two independent 120km races on the Sunday, all with no refuelling.
A regular qualifying session for the six events at Tasmania, Perth, Darwin, Ipswich, Winton and Phillip Island will determine the starting grid for the first 60km sprint, with the results setting the grid for the second half. A top-ten shootout will also feature in the Darwin race. Championship points and podium results will only be awarded at the end of the second half. A pair of 15-minute qualifying sessions will set the grid for the two Sunday 120-km races.
Another major change is the introduction of a side-by-side rolling start for the second 60km race. Already common practice in NASCAR and IndyCar, the lead drivers must only accelerate in a designated zone past the start-finish line.
The V8 Supercars Commission has also changed the tyre compound rules for each event to ensure they are best suited to the best racing at each individual circuit.
Three sprint rounds – the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, the Townsville 400 and the Sydney 500 will retain their race formats and tyre compounds.These events plus the Sandown 500, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Armor All Gold Coast 600 endurance races will be the only ones to feature refuelling during races.
The formats for next year’s ITM400 Auckland at Pukekohe, Abu Dhabi and the inaugural event at the Circuit of the Americas will be announced in the New Year.
V8 Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard said the changes were made to coincide with the introduction of Nissan and AMG and were designed to further enhance the category.
“These are the most significant changes we have made to our formats in the history of the sport,” said Howard.
“With the new marques joining Ford and Holden in 2013 it was an opportunity for a change across the board while continuing the great traditions of our signature events.
“These changes are purely designed for the teams and drivers to race hard and have a real go.”
The 2013 V8 Supercars Championship Series season gets underway in March with the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.