Supercars has confirmed that Queensland will be used as a hub of sorts for teams from next week onwards to ensure access to the Northern Territory next month.
Having already fled Victoria due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Melbourne teams were expected to be mostly based out of Sydney for the upcoming weeks and months to keep the season going.
However there have been concerns that Sydney could be facing its own outbreak of COVID-19 with the Northern Territory already declaring the New South Wales capital as a virus hot spot.
As exclusively revealed by Motorsport.com yesterday, Supercars has devised a new plan to base teams in Queensland for the next two weeks, which will then allow a quarantine-free crossing into the Territory for at least one, and perhaps two, rounds in Darwin.
The same Queensland base can then be used for the Townsville event at the end of next round.
While the announcement from Supercars teams says all 10 teams will be heading north next week, both Kelly Racing and Brad Jones Racing may still opt to use their respective Mildura and Albury bases, which currently fall outside the NT’s hot spot.
News of the mass Queensland relocation comes after the Australian Football League yesterday outlined plans to the use the north-eastern state as a base for its Victorian teams, as Melbourne continues through its second lockdown.
According to tourism minister Kate Jones, it’s all good news when it comes to the state’s economic recovery.
“Because Queenslanders have done such a great job fighting COVID-19, we can now focus on our economic recovery,” she said.
“Before COVID-19, major events pumped more than $800 million a year into our economy. These events will be crucial to rebuilding our economy and our tourism industry in months and years to come.
“Having every Supercars team from around the country relocate to Queensland is even more great exposure for our state at a time we need it most.
“Supercars has a huge following throughout Australia. We know that thousands of Aussies are planning their first holidays out of isolation. Having images of the Gold Coast and Townsville beamed into their living rooms this winter is a great win for our tourism sector.”
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer added that the support of the Queensland government is vital to the northern swing in Darwin and Townsville going ahead.
“I want to thank the Queensland and Northern Territory Governments for their support to continue our 2020 Championship at this time,” Seamer said.
“Being able to prepare and operate out of Queensland enables us to lock in the key Northern legs of our championship and give the teams and TV crew the best access to resources for preparation.
“I would like to thank all of our Victorian and New South Wales people, teams, drivers and of course their families for their continued support, flexibility and resilience.
“We’ve already seen numerous offers of support from Queensland teams for their interstate competitors, from unlimited access to workshops to accommodation and transport support.
“It’s been an overwhelmingly positive response from within the category to ensure our season perseveres in a year that will continue to challenge us all.”
According to the announcement, the Queensland-based teams – Triple Eight, DJR Team Penske and Matt Stone Racing – will open the doors of their facilities to rival teams to help bring the hub concept to life.
“South-east Queensland is a fantastic part of the world. Dick Johnson Racing celebrates 40 years this year of calling this area home,” said DJR Team Penske boss Ryan Story.
“We welcome the support of the Queensland state government in creating a Supercars hub in this region. It allows us to keep going racing and entertaining our fantastic supporters right across the country, New Zealand and the world.
“We’ve heard local tourism operators and small businesses saying that it’s like Christmas in July with the state reopening and there’s nothing surer that Queensland is open for business.”
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