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    The Tasmania SuperSprint (formally known as the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint) is an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held at Symmons Plains Raceway in Launceston, Tasmania. The event has been a regular part of the Supercars Championship—and its previous incarnations, the Australian Touring Car Championship, Shell Championship Series and V8 Supercars Championship—since 1969.

    Behind Sandown Raceway, which has most commonly hosted the Sandown 500 and Sandown SuperSprint, Symmons Plains has hosted the most events in championship history with 49 as of 2022.[1] Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only hiatus for the event was between 2000 and 2003 during which the circuit received a A$3 million upgrade.[2] The event is seen as one of Tasmania's largest sporting events, providing a variety of benefits to the local economy.[2]

    Format

    The event is staged over a two-day weekend, from Saturday to Sunday. Two thirty-minute practice sessions are held on Saturday, then a three-stage knockout qualifying session which decides the grid positions for the following 105 kilometre race. Two separated ten-minute qualifying sessions are held on Sunday, which decide the grid for the following 105 km races.[3]

    History

    When the Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC) was first held over a series of races in 1969, Symmons Plains was included on the calendar as the final race of the series. The race would decide the championship that year, as Alan Hamilton could take the title from Ian Geoghegan if he won the race and Geoghegan failed to score. Geoghegan's car failed to start at the one-minute signal and his pit crew push started the car. This was not allowed under the regulations of the time and Geoghegan was disqualified. Hamilton ended up finishing the race in second place behind Norm Beechey, losing the title to Geoghegan by a single point.[4] After again hosting the final round in 1970, Symmons Plains became the home of the opening round, hosting the first event of the ATCC every year from 1971 to 1981. Allan Moffat and Peter Brock were the most successful drivers at the event in this period, taking seven of the eleven possible victories between them. John Harvey also scored his only two ATCC victories at the event, winning in 1976 and 1979.[5]

    In 1985, Robbie Francevic won his and Volvo's first round victory, winning again in 1986.[6] Between 1988 and 1990, Dick Johnson joined Moffat as the only two drivers to win three consecutive rounds at the circuit. In 1993, 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones won his first ATCC round, despite a clash with Mark Skaife which led to a confrontation after the race.[7] In the late 1990s, Holden Racing Team dominated the event with four consecutive round wins from 1996 to 1999. During this period, the Symmons Plains event remained in the early part of the ATCC calendar until 1999, when it was moved to August. The Government of Tasmania didn't renew the event's contract after 1999 and the race dropped off the calendar in 2000.[2]

    Following the completion of a circuit upgrade in 2004, which included the construction of permanent pit lane facilities and a resurfacing of the track, a new deal was struck to bring the event back onto the calendar in November of the same year.[8] Tasmanian driver Marcos Ambrose went into the 2004 event attempting to seal a back-to-back championship victory, until an engine failure in the third and final race of the weekend delayed his coronation as champion. David Besnard and three other drivers benefited from a fortuitous late-race safety car to jump to the front of the field, before the four drivers were then demoted to the back of the field at a subsequent safety car due to confusion regarding the standings. Several days later, Besnard was credited with the win, the only win for WPS Racing.[9] Initially on its return, the event was generally held towards the end of the season, often as the penultimate event, until a move to the early stages of the championship calendar in 2012.

    Between 2007 and 2015, Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight Race Engineering dominated the event with six wins. This has seen Whincup surpass Brock as the most successful driver in the event's history. In 2013, Fabian Coulthard won Brad Jones Racing their first championship round, winning two races with team-mate Jason Bright winning the other. In 2017, the Saturday race was suspended after two laps due to a twelve car pile-up in wet conditions. While the race later briefly restarted under safety car, no championship points were awarded due to the short distance completed, however Shane van Gisbergen was still credited with a race victory.[10] In 2018, a three-stage knockout qualifying system was introduced to the championship at Symmons Plains to reduce the risks of traffic.[11] Craig Lowndes won the round, his last round win as a solo driver, and his first at the circuit since 1998.[12]

    The 2020 event was postponed until November to the COVID-19 pandemic, before later being cancelled altogether.[13][14][15][16]

    Winners

    Peter Brock at Symmons Plains in 1982. He would win the event that year.
    Year Driver[4] Team/Entrant Car Report
    1969 Australia Norm Beechey Norm Beechey Holden HK Monaro GTS327
    1970 Australia Jim McKeown Shell Racing Team Porsche 911
    1971 Canada Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Racing Ford Boss 302 Mustang
    1972 Canada Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Racing Ford Boss 302 Mustang
    1973 Canada Allan Moffat Ford Works Team Ford XY Falcon GTHO Phase III
    1974 Australia Peter Brock Holden Dealer Team Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1
    1975 Australia Colin Bond Holden Dealer Team Holden Torana L34
    1976 Australia John Harvey B&D Autos Holden Torana L34
    1977 Canada Allan Moffat Allan Moffat Racing Ford XB Falcon GT
    1978 Australia Peter Brock Holden Dealer Team Holden LX Torana SLR A9X
    1979 Australia John Harvey Holden Dealer Team Holden LX Torana SS A9X
    1980 Australia Peter Brock Holden Dealer Team Holden VB Commodore
    1981 Australia Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Racing Ford XD Falcon
    1982 Australia Peter Brock Holden Dealer Team Holden VC Commodore
    1983 Australia Allan Grice Roadways Racing Holden VH Commodore
    1984 Australia Peter Brock Holden Dealer Team Holden VH Commodore
    1985 New Zealand Robbie Francevic Mark Petch Motorsport Volvo 240T
    1986 New Zealand Robbie Francevic Volvo Dealer Team Volvo 240T
    1987 Australia George Fury Gibson Motorsport Nissan Skyline DR30
    1988 Australia Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Racing Ford Sierra RS500
    1989 Australia Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Racing Ford Sierra RS500
    1990 Australia Dick Johnson Dick Johnson Racing Ford Sierra RS500
    1991 New Zealand Jim Richards Gibson Motorsport Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R
    1992 Australia Glenn Seton Glenn Seton Racing Ford Sierra RS500
    1993 Australia Alan Jones Glenn Seton Racing Ford EB Falcon
    1994 Australia Mark Skaife Gibson Motorsport Holden VP Commodore Report
    1995 Australia John Bowe Dick Johnson Racing Ford EF Falcon Report
    1996 Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Racing Team Holden VR Commodore
    1997 New Zealand Greg Murphy Holden Racing Team Holden VS Commodore
    1998 Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Racing Team Holden VT Commodore
    1999 Australia Mark Skaife Holden Racing Team Holden VT Commodore Report
    2000

    2003
    not held
    2004 Australia Russell Ingall Stone Brothers Racing Ford BA Falcon
    2005 Australia Garth Tander HSV Dealer Team Holden VZ Commodore
    2006 Australia Garth Tander HSV Dealer Team Holden VZ Commodore
    2007 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford BF Falcon Report
    2008 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Ford BF Falcon Report
    2009 Australia Will Davison Holden Racing Team Holden VE Commodore Report
    2010 Australia Mark Winterbottom Ford Performance Racing Ford FG Falcon
    2011 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden VE Commodore
    2012 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden VE Commodore Report
    2013 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard Brad Jones Racing Holden VF Commodore Report
    2014 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden VF Commodore Report
    2015 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden VF Commodore Report
    2016 Australia Will Davison Tekno Autosports Holden VF Commodore Report
    2017 New Zealand Fabian Coulthard DJR Team Penske Ford FG X Falcon Report
    2018 Australia Craig Lowndes Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report
    2019 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report
    2020 not held due to COVID-19 pandemic
    2021 Australia Jamie Whincup Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report
    2022 New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden ZB Commodore Report

    Multiple winners

    By driver

    Wins Driver Years
    7 Australia Jamie Whincup 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2021
    5 Australia Peter Brock 1974, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984
    4 Canada Allan Moffat 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977
    Australia Dick Johnson 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990
    3 Australia Craig Lowndes 1996, 1998, 2018
    2 Australia John Harvey 1976, 1979
    New Zealand Robbie Francevic 1985, 1986
    Australia Mark Skaife 1994, 1999
    Australia Garth Tander 2005, 2006
    Australia Will Davison 2009, 2016
    New Zealand Fabian Coulthard 2013, 2017
    New Zealand Shane van Gisbergen 2019, 2022

    By team

    Wins Team
    10 Triple Eight Race Engineering
    7 Holden Dealer Team
    6 DJR Team Penske1
    5 Holden Racing Team
    3 Allan Moffat Racing
    Gibson Motorsport
    2 Glenn Seton Racing
    HSV Dealer Team

    By manufacturer

    Wins Manufacturer
    28 Holden
    16 Ford
    2 Volvo
    Nissan
    Notes
    • ^1 – DJR Team Penske was known as Dick Johnson Racing from 1980 to 2014, hence their statistics are combined.

    Event names and sponsors

    • 1969–85, 1987–99, 2004: Symmons Plains
    • 1986: A.N.L. Cup
    • 2005–06: Ferodo Triple Challenge
    • 2006: Ferodo Tasmania Challenge
    • 2007–12: Falken Tasmania Challenge
    • 2013: Tasmania Microsoft Office 365
    • 2014: Tyrepower Tasmania 400
    • 2015–19: Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint
    • 2021: Beaurepaires Tasmania SuperSprint
    • 2022–: NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint

    See also

    References

    1. ^ "Fast Facts: Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint". V8 Supercars. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
    2. ^ a b c Bresnehan, James (28 March 2014). "Supercars boss gives rev-up on new deal with Tasmanian Government". The Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
    3. ^ Longer qualifying sessions for Tasmania Supercars event Speedcafe.com 26 February 2022
    4. ^ a b Greenhalgh, David; Howard, Graham; Wilson, Stewart (2011). The official history: Australian Touring Car Championship - 50 Years. St Leonards, New South Wales: Chevron Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-9805912-2-4.
    5. ^ Adam, Mitchell (3 April 2019). "Symmons Plains through 50 years". Supercars. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
    6. ^ "Saturday Sleuthing: Francevic's Volvo Title-Winner!". Supercars.com. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
    7. ^ Phelps, James; Dale, William (9 August 2013). "The 25 biggest V8 blues". The Advertiser (Adelaide). Retrieved 23 March 2019.
    8. ^ "Symmons Plains". RacingCircuits.info. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
    9. ^ Bartholomaeus, Stefan (4 April 2018). "Flashback: Symmons Plains' unlikeliest winner". Supercars. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
    10. ^ van Leeuwen, Andrew (8 April 2017). "Massive shunt halts Supercars race in Tasmania". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
    11. ^ "Supercars Revise Qualifying Format for Short Tracks". Auto Action. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
    12. ^ Geale, Hamish (8 April 2018). "Lowndes breaks drought with Symmons Plains domination". The Examiner (Tasmania). Retrieved 23 March 2019.
    13. ^ "Supercars postpones three events, launches Eseries". Supercars. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
    14. ^ Chapman, Simon (17 May 2020). "Supercars releases revised 13-round 2020/21 calendar". Speedcafe. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
    15. ^ Chapman, Simon (30 August 2020). "Supercars confirms double-header at The Bend". Speedcafe. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
    16. ^ Chapman, Simon (2 December 2020). "Supercars reveals long awaited 2021 calendar". Speedcafe. Retrieved 3 December 2020.

    External links