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Winton misses out in Supercars calendar squeeze

Published at 11/23/2022

Due to the 2023 Supercars Championship calendar shrinking to 12 rounds, some of the most popular rounds have been squeezed out.

High profile casualties include New Zealand, which could not find a replacement for Pukekohe after failing to secure a resort consent for the preferred location of Hampton Downs and Winton.

The “action track” located in country Victoria has been a regular part of the Supercars season since 1985.

COVID-19 restrictions stopped racing at Winton in 2020 and 2021, but a grand return was made this year where strong crowds enjoyed some classic battles for the lead between Cameron Waters and Shane van Gisbergen.

Winton, Queensland Raceway and New Zealand all lost out to Tailem Bend in the fight to secure the last spot remaining on the 12-round Supercars calendar for 2023.

Cam Waters and Shane van Gisbergen raced a classic battle for the win at Winton in May this year.

Despite losing its place on the calendar, the circuit will play a valuable roll in the introduction of Gen3 hosting a key test prior to Newcastle.

Although it is a “disappointing” result for the owners of Winton Motor Raceway, Benalla Auto Club, general manager Stephen Whyte understood Supercars decision.

He said Winton was squeezed out due to the limited space on the calendar 

“It is obviously disappointing from the facilities perspective and the club,” he told AUTO ACTION.

“We had been in regular contact with Supercars over the journey and we were fully aware there was three or four of us vying for one last spot.

“But in fairness to Supercars, their communication has been second to none and we understand the reasons why. It is just a matter of numbers and the reality is not everyone would join the calendar.

“They are reducing the numbers back as far as rounds and the amount of venues they are dealing with is surpassing the number of venues they dealing with.”

Prior to COVID-19 Winton had only missed out on a Supercars round on three occasions in 1987, 1996 and 2005 since its introducing 37 years ago.

Fans brave the winter weather in the 2007 Supercars round at Winton. Image: Motorsport Images

Despite the disappointment of missing out, Whyte has remained positive and said discussions have already begun on bring Supercars back to the “action track” in 2024.

“We do not have any issues and we are looking forward to working with them with an opportunity to rejoin in 2024,” he said.

“2024 has already been spoken about, there are progressive talks with New Zealand and we hope we would be a party to talking with Supercars as well.

“We will continue on as a test track, which is great with the Supercars here on a regular basis.

“But and we will continue to work with Supercars to rejoin the calendar in 2024 and working on that as a matter of process and immediacy.”

Even though Supercars will not bring a national and international audience to the country Victorian track and a economical boost to the community, Whyte said the Winton region still has a huge 2023 lined up with “not a weekend free” on the calendar.

“The unfortunate thing will be the fan base in the North East and it is a blow to the region,” he said.

“Supercars is an important marquee event for any venue and track and in essence a great thing to have. 

“However, The Benalla Auto Club still has a busy year ahead. There is not a weekend free.

“We will provide a venue for Supercars testing, but not only that all the other events and series we are hosting next year like state and national series with other marquee events we are working on.

“It will still be a great year and busy year for Winton and the Benalla Auto Club.”

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