This year, the Dunlop Series will run one 250km race at the calendar’s biggest V8 Supercars event, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Rather than two 40-minute races, which the category has run consistently this season, the change means one feature race at the famous circuit and a greater opportunity for the stars of the burgeoning category to shine on the world stage.
The race will include pit stops for four tyres and fuel, and the option to take on a co-driver.
It will be run on Saturday October 11, before the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout, in the exciting lead-up to Sunday’s main 1000km race.
The change comes after a strong interest from Dunlop Series teams in entering the ‘Great Race’ as wild card entries when submissions opened in May – however, given the Championship now runs new generation V8 Supercars, that would have meant two technically different generation cars in the field.
Dunlop Series teams were almost unanimous in support of the one race, which if successful has potential to become a new tradition tied with the Bathurst event.
Many of the finer details are still to be confirmed by the V8 Supercars Commission, including the points allocation, eligibility of co-drivers and any further changes to the Dunlop Series format over the weekend.
Commission members, and team principals for both V8 Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series teams, Ford Performance Racing’s Tim Edwards and Brad Jones Racing’s Brad Jones were in support of the concept and the great boost it will give Saturday’s racing at Mount Panorama.
“This is the opportunity for Dunlop Series drivers to get a bigger taste of what it’s like to do the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000,” Jones told v8supercars.com.au.
“We were looking for a blockbuster on Saturday at Bathurst, and a Dunlop Series race fits the bill perfectly.
“It’s going to get great TV exposure, pit stops and the option to run two drivers are pretty exciting, and a longer race gives them the opportunity to get their eye in.”
Edwards said when he and Jones discussed the concept with Dunlop Series team owners at the Townsville event, the response was resoundingly positive.
He described the move to a 250km race at Mount Panorama as an extension of the move to increase race time for 2014.
“Quite often the jump from Dunlop Series to the main Championship is quite a big step – when they are doing shorter races, it’s an even bigger step – so the first thing was to increase the length of all their races this year,” Edwards told v8supercars.com.au.
“To give them their own showcase event this year on Saturday is fantastic.
“250km – for those who do it by themselves – is a fair odd challenge for them and they get to prove themselves. And there’s no better stage to do it on than Bathurst.
“I think it’s a great way to showcase their talent and their sponsors.”
Both Edwards and Jones said they were always on the lookout for the next up-and-comers – but this gave the wider community the chance to see how much talent there really is in the budding field.
Stay tuned to v8supercars.com.au for more information on the showcase Dunlop Series race as the Supercheap