Motorsport: Winton assured of place on calender for 2017

Tim Slade during the V8 Supercars Winton round. Photo / Getty Images
Tim Slade during the V8 Supercars Winton round. Photo / Getty Images

Winton has saved its place on the Supercars calender for 2017 after fears the event could be lost due to costs.

The Benalla Auto Club, which owns the Winton Motor Raceway and promotes the event, was last month forced to lobby the Victorian government for financial assistance to help keep the race meeting in country Victoria alive after struggling to raise the capital for Supercars' appearance fee.

But financial wrangling has secured the event's place in the championship for next year with an agreement also in place for 2018 and 2019, subject to funding.

The government has come to the aid of the event with support via its tourism arm, while the club and Supercars were able to reach a "compromise that works for both of us".

"We've got some funding for 2017, which came out of Tourism (Victoria) ... but we really wanted a three-year deal and we were able to get that with some help from (Supercars chief executive) James Warburton," Benalla Auto Club chief executive Chris Lewis-Williams said.

"We are definite for 2017 and we've got an agreement for 2018 and 2019, but we've got to do some work on funding.

"It's a good result and it's nice to lock it in for 2017, but we've still got to put our sales hat on and convince the government that we are worthy of some more.

"You can't sell enough tickets to pay for a V8 Supercar event, it's just not physically possible."

Supercars is expected to formally announce its calendar for next year after this week's round at Sandown, which marks the start of the series' endurance season.

The result for Winton means Victoria looks set to keep its full quota of events on the calendar for next year with Supercars also close to finalising a new deal at Sandown.

Warburton said Supercars was eager to retain its presence in country Victoria.

"This is a great win for fans in regional Victoria who enjoy coming to this iconic venue," Warburton said.

"We look forward to returning next year and ensuring Winton can receive the necessary support for the event for 2018 and beyond."

Winton has hosted a Supercars event every year except two since 1985 and provides a significant boost to the region's economy.

The venue, which recently underwent a $1 million surface upgrade, is also used as the test track for all the Victorian-based Supercars teams.

"For testing, the Supercars teams need a circuit that has a variety of different corners, through which they can gather data that correlates with other tracks on the calendar, and Winton offers that," Lewis-Williams said.

"The local teams will be relieved they will still be racing at the track where they test."

- news.com.au

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