Motorsport: New race format for Supercars at Pukekohe

By Dale Budge

Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye lead the pack at Pukekohe. Photo / Getty Images
Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye lead the pack at Pukekohe. Photo / Getty Images

Organisers have axed the short sprint race format that produced significant criticism at the ITM Auckland SuperSprint at Pukekohe last year.

The 2017 race meeting will instead feature two 200km races - one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday - with compulsory pit stops scheduled for both races.

That format will allow strategy to become more of a factor and should lead to more exciting racing.

Four 100km sprint races failed to capture the imagination in the penultimate round of the championship in November and prompted ATEED, whose investment has made the Pukekohe event possible, to question whether they would renew the partnership after the final year of the current agreement this year.

Fans and drivers also complained about the lack of excitement the shorter races used last year while crowd numbers were down on 2015.

"The Supercars Commission is extremely focused on the quality of our racing and continues to make positive improvements to formats," Supercars chief executive James Warburton told the Supercars website.

The format changes were one of three race meetings to have tweaks made to their 2017 schedules. The Clipsal 500 on the streets of Adelaide will feature two 250km races - one on each day - with a top 10 shootout for qualifying used on both days as well.

The Phillip Island round will now feature two 250km races as well - also with a compulsory pit stop.

The season begins in early March.

- NZ Herald

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