Confirmed: New Zealand's Supercars event postponed amid coronavirus
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Following almost a week of speculation, it's been announced by the Supercars Championship that New Zealand's round of the series has been postponed.
Having been scheduled for next month, the Hampton Downs Motorsport Super400 is one of three events that have been postponed — the preceding round in Tasmania and the following round in Perth both also being postponed as part of the announcement.
The news was confirmed in a statement published by series CEO Sean Seamer.
“Today, on behalf of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, I want to provide an update on our plan for managing the 2020 Championship during the months ahead,” he said.
“Our sport is a visceral experience and rather than run without crowds, we have decided, along with our key broadcast and government partners, to delay any further racing until June. Tasmania, Auckland and Perth events will all be postponed until later in the year, not cancelled.
“Fortunately, our calendar this year enables us to do this. Supercars’ priority is to deliver the 14 round 2020 championship for our fans and partners, irrespective of the dates. Bathurst will obviously proceed on its scheduled date. We have a plan for how we can make that happen and will begin discussions with all of our stakeholders over the coming days to lock this in.”
Supercars finds itself following in the footsteps of most motorsport categories at a similar level, while simultaneously bucking the trend compared to some Australian sporting codes.
Nascar, IndyCar, and FIA Formula E are among the other racing series' that have announced postponed calendars for 2020. On the flipside, Australia's National Rugby League (NRL) and Hyundai A-League are pressing on through the challenging times.
The announcement comes as governments and airline companies on either side of the Tasman increase their Covid-19 measures. Earlier this morning, for example, Virgin Australia announced that it would ground all of its international flights from March 14 to June 30.
“In the meantime, we are unique and fortunate in that we are able to simulate our racing via eSports. So, between now and late June, Supercars will host, via Twitch, Fox Sports and Kayo, an eSeries Championship where fans will get to see our stars battle it out in a virtual world while we wait to go racing again for real.” added Seamer.
“Our new annual behind the scenes Docuseries, The Inside Line- A Season with Erebus Motorsport, will ensure that, in conjunction with our eSeries, Supercars and its stars stay in our fans’ living rooms over the coming days and weeks. We wish our fans, partners and people all the best through these challenging times.”
NZ Motorsport Events cancellation / postponement update
• Final round of theNew Zealand Drag Racing Championship at Masterton Motorplex (March 21-22) has been cancelled.
• Repco Beach Hop 2020 (March 25-29) at Whangamata has been postponed till November 25-29.
• South Island Secondary Schools Motocross Championship at Southland (March 28) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• Final round of the Speedworks Summer Motor Racing Series at Hampton Downs (March 28-29) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• North Island Secondary Schools Motocross Championship at Taupo (April 3) has been postponed. New date to be advised
• Fourth and final rounds of the New Zealand Superbike Championship at Manfeild (March 28-29) and Taupo (April 4-5) have been postponed. New dates to be advised.
• Bay Rodders Nostalgia Drags and NZ Club Champs at Meremere Dragway (April 4-5) have been cancelled.
• KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship at Christchurch (April 10-13) has been postponed. New date to be advised.
• New Zealand Junior Motocross Championship at TECT All Terrain Park, Tauranga (April 17-19) has been postponed until further notice.