The Newcastle 500 (known for sponsorship reasons as the Coates Hire Newcastle 500) is an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held at the Newcastle Street Circuit in Newcastle, New South Wales since 2017. The event was cancelled in 2020 Supercars Championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is not due to return to the calendar until the first round of the 2022 season.[1]

Format

The event is staged over a three-day weekend, from Friday to Sunday. Two forty-minute practice sessions are held on Friday. Saturday features a twenty-minute qualifying session which decides the grid positions for the following 250 kilometre race. A twenty-minute qualifying session is held on Sunday, succeeded by a top ten shootout, the combined results of which decide the grid for the following 250 km race.[2]

History

From 2009 until 2016, the final event on the Supercars calendar was the Sydney 500 at the Sydney Olympic Park Street Circuit. Following the demise of the event, Supercars opened discussions with Destination NSW for a replacement event in the state.[3] Initial plans for a race at Gosford on the state's Central Coast fell through after several months of negotiations, leaving Newcastle as the leading alternative.[4] In September 2016, Newcastle's place as the final event of the 2017 season was confirmed in an announcement made by Supercars CEO James Warburton and Premier Mike Baird.[5] In December 2016, the track layout and a November 2017 date for the inaugural event were confirmed.[6]

The first two events in 2017 and 2018 both saw close championship deciders involving Scott McLaughlin. The inaugural event culminated in the 2017 championship being decided in the final minutes of the Sunday race with McLaughlin requiring no worse than an 11th-place finish to win the championship over Jamie Whincup after winning the Saturday race with Whincup 21st. McLaughlin was running in 11th on the penultimate lap of the final race before an incident with Craig Lowndes exiting the first corner. Following an immediate stewards review, McLaughlin was given a time penalty for the contact with Lowndes, which awarded a record seventh championship to Whincup.[7]

McLaughlin again entered the 2018 event in championship contention, this time against Whincup's team-mate Shane van Gisbergen. In the Saturday race, van Gisbergen overtook McLaughlin on the final lap as McLaughlin ran low on fuel. Van Gisbergen was then given a post-race penalty for a pitlane infringement which pushed him to fifth in the final results.[8] McLaughlin then finished second in the Sunday race to secure his first championship title, only conceding the race lead in the late stages to David Reynolds, who scored the most points at the event for the second consecutive year.[9][10] The result meant that the Ford Falcon won the championship in its final scheduled championship entry and the event was also the final drive of Craig Lowndes' full-time career.

The planned 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and was again excluded from the 2021 calendar. It was confirmed in December 2020 that the event would be the opening round of the 2022 Supercars Championship in early 2022.[1]

Winners

David Reynolds scored the most points in the 2017 and 2018 events.
Year Event title Race Driver Team Car
2017 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 1 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin DJR Team Penske Ford FG X Falcon
2 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden VF Commodore
2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 1 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin DJR Team Penske Ford FG X Falcon
2 Australia David Reynolds Erebus Motorsport Holden ZB Commodore
2019 1 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore
2 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore
2020 Cancelled on grounds of COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 Cancelled on grounds of COVID-19 pandemic.

Multiple winners

By driver

Race Wins Driver
2 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin
Australia Jamie Whincup

By team

Race Wins Team
3 Triple Eight Race Engineering
2 DJR Team Penske

By manufacturer

Race Wins Manufacturer
4 Holden
2 Ford

Criticism

Before the first running of the event, many East End residents raised concerns about the implications of the event's running in this area of the city. Up to 140 residents staged a protest resulting in clashes against Supercars fans, among concerns about noise restrictions and lack of access during the race weekend.[11] During the inaugural race weekend, NSW Police were called to a trackside unit following reports that a support category was egged.[12]

Concerts

The Newcastle 500 event and circuit precinct has and will play host to various music acts as part of the "Rock and Race" format. In 2017 the concerts were held in Foreshore Park within the confines of the circuit, while from 2018 onwards concerts have been scheduled to be held at Newcastle Number 1 Sports Ground, 3.5 km away.[13] Bands and band tours to have been conducted in tandem with the event include:

In 2019, Kiss were scheduled to headline a concert including The Screaming Jets as part of their End of the Road World Tour before it was cancelled along with the other Australian and New Zealand tour dates.[16]

Event sponsors

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Newcastle to host 2022 Supercars season opener". Supercars. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Supercars Operations Manual 2018 - Division "A" - Administration Rules" (PDF). Supercars. 23 February 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Axe falls on Sydney Olympic Park street race". Speedcafe. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Gosford withdraws from Supercars race". Speedcafe. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  5. ^ van Leeuwen, Andrew (27 September 2016). "Five-year, $57 million Newcastle Supercars deal confirmed". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Date and layout locked in for Newcastle Supercars race". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  7. ^ Howard, Tom (26 November 2017). "Whincup secures title after McLaughlin cops late penalty". Speedcafe. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  8. ^ Howard, Tom (25 November 2018). "Stewards issue time penalty to SVG, McLaughlin wins Race 30". Speedcafe. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  9. ^ Herrero, Daniel (25 November 2018). "McLaughlin wins title after handing Race 31 to Reynolds". Speedcafe. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  10. ^ O'Brien, Connor (14 August 2019). "Newcastle conqueror's 2019 mission". Supercars. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Newcastle V8 Supercar race draws protests in East End". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Newcastle 500: police responding to reports eggs thrown at cars on Parnell Place". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  13. ^ Herrero, Daniel (31 October 2018). "Kiss to play at 2019 Newcastle 500". Speedcafe. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  14. ^ Leeson, Josh (24 November 2017). "All the photos from Delta Goodrem and the Veronicas at the Newcastle Supercars". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  15. ^ Parris, Michael (3 October 2018). "Supercars locks in Simple Minds to play Newcastle 500 concert". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Kiss cancels Newcastle Supercars appearance". Speedcafe. 14 November 2019.