The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will take to the Sydney Olympic Park street circuit for the last time this weekend. As the series farewell Sydney, it welcomes Newcastle from 2017 and beyond.
V8X Supercar Magazine issue #95 takes a detailed look at why Supercars is trading up in the move.
Issue #95 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.
CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #95.
The Sydney Olympic Park event started as a dream and soon turned into a nightmare for Supercars.
Supercars CEO James Warburton says it "was always a dud", a "poor choice of venue" that "worked the first year but it was dodgy from the start; crowd figures were bullshit, it never made money, it was such a blind obsession".
At the time of its launch, former chairman Tony Cochrane hailed the Sydney 500 as the key to the series' growth in the key Sydney market when launching the event for its debut in 2009.
But crowd figures tumbled, political machinations made running the event increasingly difficult and the date a source of frustration for Supercars. The event will be terminated after eight seasons in 2016.
Supercars will move onto Newcastle in 2017 with a street circuit in the harbor town on a five-year deal with an option to extend.
Issue #95 looks at the reasons why Newcastle is a better option than Sydney Olympic Park through location, date, market and political reasons.
For example, while Sydney Olympic Park delivered plenty of action over the course of eight years, the sparse nature of the facility meant it was hard to replicate the atmosphere generated in Adelaide, Townsville and Gold Coast.
In the first few seasons of the Sydney 500 there was plenty of activity in the pavilions and stadiums of Sydney Olympic Park, but it soon faded away over the following years as the costs of sustaining the event mounted.
With the event doing away with concerts and side attractions to cut costs, this left little in the way of atmosphere. Fans were also put off by poor vantage points around the Sydney Olympic Park precinct with limited visibility of the concrete-lined circuit.
In contrast, Newcastle's street circuit will take place in the east end of the town along Nobbys Beach and Fort Scratchley with the beachfront and town centre providing the backdrop.
The Newcastle layout takes its cues from the Adelaide Parklands Circuit by surrounding the town's parklands in addition to its waterfront location, which should open up better viewing options for fans. And in a more contained space, the atmosphere generated will also prove better than Sydney Olympic Park.
CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of V8X Supercar Magazine issue #95 to read the full analysis piece.