Supercars poised for Australian GT Championship takeover
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
Is it desperate times, desperate measures? Only those at the core will know, but what can be safely said is that the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship's decision to take over management of the Australian GT Championship is going to be a good thing for all parties.
Things are still to come out in the wash, and the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) is yet to supply its seal of approval but, as it stands, Australia's home to four-wheeled car porn GT3 exotica is set to be run by Supercars management from next year onwards.
This is a bit of a change of pace for the AGT category, which has long had a somewhat unconventional relationship with the Supercars. For a while it even looked like it was shaping up to cut itself loose from the established hierarchy to take the tin-top series on as a direct rival, but that's fallen by the wayside.
At least for now anyway.
So, what do we know. Well, the series is likely to get a new name, with SuperGT touted as the replacement in the announcement. Of course, regular followers of Kiwis Nick Cassidy and Jono Lester will be well aware that a series called Super GT already exists in Japan (with an all-important "space" the only distinction in name).
A SuperGT Commission is also being put together; constructed from the most influential and knowledgeable in the AGT's competitor sphere, along with Supercars CEO James Warburton, technical expert David Stuart, and consultant John Casey.
Beyond that, the cause and subsequent impact of this new relationship is up for debate and speculation.
The AGT grid shrank to 19 cars for their Endurance Championship opener at Phillip Island, then lost another two for round two at Sydney Motorsport Park (by the final flag, just 13 cars remained).
Paddock scuttlebutt says that the numbers drop-off comes partially from teams being unhappy with rising costs -- particularly regarding the expense of the two New Zealand events still to come at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and Highlands Motorsport Park. This could well have contributed to the demise of the AGT Highlands 501 -- the category confirming on Monday that 2017's event would be the last for the foreseeable future.
The marriage with Supercars, it's hoped, will help cease the rot and grow the grid once again through an increased amount of resources and spend.
And although some of the Australian GT Championship's biggest fans might be ruing the news, they should take note of the last time a championship tried to take on the Supercars juggernaut.
In that case, it was the Australian Super Touring Championship. In 1995 they had factory support from four manufacturers, incredible cars, and a promising 20-car grid at most events.
By 2002, they were gone.