Newcastle 500 to return as Supercars season opener in March
Newcastle’s economy and COVID-hit tourism industry is set to benefit from the season opener of the 2022 Supercars Championship series converging in the city for the Newcastle 500 on 4-6 March.
The flagship event was rescheduled from the final event of the season to the first race of the 2022 season, following a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the confirmation of the event date provides certainty to local residents and businesses and is a welcome boost to the economy and racing fans' spirits following prolonged COVID-19 restrictions.
“Newcastle and the Hunter enjoy a huge racing supporter base and I’m confident they will love to attend the season opener," Cr Nelmes said.
“This is a welcome announcement for our residents and businesses which confirms that the Christmas and January holidays will be unaffected by the track set-up.
“Newcastle's beaches will remain accessible to the public during the track installation period in February through the usual road connections, and during the three-day event by following Bathers Way from King Edward Park.
“Businesses can also now prepare for the post lockdown busy trading period over the summer and hopefully enjoy the extra visitation and economic benefit that Supercars brings.
“Event organisers will work with NSW Health to deliver a robust COVID-safe event that adheres to Public Health Orders to ensure the safety of our community."
The five-year agreement to host the Newcastle 500 concludes with the 2022 event, which was discussed at last night’s Ordinary Council Meeting.
City of Newcastle will undertake a full analysis of the event, including economic benefits to the region and impacts on residents.
A report will come back to the elected council to determine any extension beyond 2022.
Like with previous events access to the beach and facilities will remain open both during a shorter bump-in and during the event. Council’s expectation is that the event organisers will minimise disruptions to residents and beachgoers in the lead up to the event.
City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath said talks are ongoing with Destination NSW and Supercars Australia regarding the future of the event in Newcastle.
“We look forward to reviewing the outcomes of the new time slot and Newcastle being host of the first race of the season,” Mr Bath said.
“Newcastle has cemented its rightful place as a premier events destination and we have our eyes set on an event-led economic recovery, with an impressive line-up of potential major events being planned for 2022."