The Townsville 500 (formally known as the NTI Townsville 500) is an annual motor racing event for Supercars, held on the Reid Park Street Circuit in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The event has been held since 2009.
The event was known as the Townsville 400, based on a 400 kilometre format, in ten of the first eleven years of the event. In 2021, the event returned to the 500 kilometre format first used in 2014, while in both 2020 and 2021, two Townsville events were held under the Townsville SuperSprint banner due to calendar changes and shorter races caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is staged over a three-day weekend, from Friday to Sunday. Three thirty-minute practice sessions are held, two on Friday and one on Saturday. 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.
The event was announced in late 2007, following the allocation of funding from both the federal and the Queensland state government. The event became the third Queensland event on the calendar, joining Queensland Raceway in Ipswich and the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit on the Gold Coast. However, Townsville did become the first major motor racing event to be held in the North Queensland region. The event is generally held in early July each year, which aligns with the school holidays of the Townsville State High School which borders the track.
Jamie Whincup won the first race on the circuit in 2009, a race which was later reduced by one lap after it was discovered it had extended beyond the time certain finish without being noticed. James Courtney won the Sunday race, his first victory for Dick Johnson Racing. Whincup would go on to win the Saturday race again in 2010 with Mark Winterbottom this time winning the second race. 2011 and 2012 saw four consecutive wins for Holden, with Whincup winning three more races at the circuit. In 2013, Russell Ingall broke the all time championship event starts record at the event, while Will Davison hit the fence as part of his post-race victory celebrations in the first race of the weekend. In the Sunday race, the Holden Racing Team scored a one-two finish with Tander leading home Courtney. The team would repeat the one-two finish in the second Saturday race of the 500 kilometre 2014 event, with Tander winning from 11th on the grid in the one-off dual-race Saturday format.
Winterbottom won both races in 2015 to become the only driver other than Whincup, who achieved the feat in 2012, to achieve a clean sweep of the event. In the first ten years of the event, Whincup's record was unsurpassed, winning ten of the twenty-one races held at the track. Only Tander and Winterbottom (three each) and van Gisbergen (two) won multiple races at the circuit up to 2018. 2019 saw the first wet race in the event's history on the Sunday, beginning with Scott McLaughlin and David Reynolds clashing on Lap 1 which led to tensions between the drivers and teams involved extending for over a year. The race eventually saw van Gisbergen prevail after a chaotic race featuring several incidents and a pit lane fire at Brad Jones Racing.
The 2020 event was initially delayed to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before a second Townsville event was announced to be held one week later in early September. Both 2020 events, the only Queensland events on the final calendar, used a three-race sprint format under the Townsville SuperSprint event name. 2021 again saw a double-header as the impacts of COVID-19 in Australia persisted, with the first of the two a return to a 500 kilometre event distance last used in 2014. Triple Eight Race Engineering dominated the Townsville 500, leading all but one of the 176 laps, with van Gisbergen prevailing over Whincup in both races.
- ^1 – In 2020 and 2021, Townsville hosted two consecutive rounds of the Supercars Championship
|10||Shane van Gisbergen|
|22||Triple Eight Race Engineering|
|5||DJR Team Penske3|
|3||Holden Racing Team|
- ^2 – Tickford Racing was known as Ford Performance Racing from 2003 to 2014 and as Prodrive Racing Australia from 2015 to 2017, hence their statistics are combined.
- ^3 – DJR Team Penske was known as Dick Johnson Racing from 1980 to 2014, hence their statistics are combined.
Event names and sponsors
- 2009: Dunlop Townsville 400
- 2010–13: Sucrogen Townsville 400
- 2014: Castrol Townsville 500 – Driven by TAFE Queensland
- 2015–16: Castrol Edge Townsville 400
- 2017–19: Watpac Townsville 400
- 2020: NTI Townsville SuperSprint1
- 2020: Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint1
- 2021–22: NTI Townsville 5001
- 2021: WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint1
- Allan Edwards (29 September 2008). "2009 V8 Supercar calendar released". Official site of the Australian V8 Supercar Championship Series. Archived from the original on 27 August 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Vandersyde, Rhys (15 December 2020). "SUPERCARS CONFIRM 2021 RACE FORMATS". Auto Action. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
- O'Brien, Connor (7 August 2020). "Doubleheader confirmed for Townsville". Supercars. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
- "Supercars Operations Manual 2019 - Division "A" - Administration Rules" (PDF). Supercars. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- Peskett, Karl (14 November 2007). "Townsville to get V8 Supercars street race". Car Advice. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Herrero, Daniel (13 May 2020). "Townsville willing to host Supercars without crowds". Speedcafe. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- Dale, Will (28 August 2020). "Strange But True: The Year Townsville's Last Lap Didn't Count". V8 Sleuth. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- 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.
- "Commemorative number for Ingall in Townsville". Speedcafe. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Walker, Mark (27 August 2020). "CROCS, CARNAGE & COVID IN TOWNSVILLE – The Race Torque". The Race Torque. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (7 July 2013). "HRT emphatically breaks victory drought". Speedcafe. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (5 July 2014). "Tander leads HRT one-two in Race 21". Speedcafe. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Bartholomaeus, Stefan (12 July 2015). "Mark Winterbottom takes Townsville double". Speedcafe. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- Jackson, Ed (7 July 2018). "Whincup reignites title defence after storming to victory in Townsville 400". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
- Phelps, James (21 August 2020). "Supercars war of words stokes bitter bosses feud". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- Herrero, Daniel (7 July 2019). "Van Gisbergen wins under Safety Car in Townsville chaos". Speedcafe. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
- McCarthy, Dan (19 August 2020). "DARWIN AND TOWNSVILLE FORMATS CONFIRMED". Auto Action. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- van Leeuwen, Andrew (6 July 2021). "Townsville double-header finally confirmed". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
- Dale, Will (12 July 2021). "HOW REYNOLDS STOPPED TRIPLE EIGHT FROM ACHIEVING RARE FEAT | V8 Sleuth". V8 Sleuth. Retrieved 12 July 2021.