S5000 has announced the introduction of a Pro-Am class to the category.
The class will cater for non-professional drivers and will feature in both the two-round S5000 Tasman Series and the 2023 S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship.
Its introduction follows another season of low grid numbers, with the field in the double digits only at the Australian Grand Prix and Darwin Supercars event.
Class winners will be recognised along with the overall race and round winners, as ‘S5000 Pro-Am' in the Tasman Series and ‘Silver Star' in the Australian Drivers' Championship.
The latter is not only a reference to the Gold Star on offer to the outright winner of the championship, but also harks back to a prize on offer in its Formula Holden/Brabham era.
Class-based competition is the norm in categories designed with gentleman drivers at heart, such as one of S5000's Australian Racing Group stablemates, Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, although less common in open-wheelers.
Nevertheless, S5000 Category Administrator Ben McMellan described a Pro-Am class as its “logical next step”, with one of GTWC's incumbent gentleman drivers, Mark Rosser, the first confirmed participant.
“S5000 has to this point operated as one of the few major national categories without a defined category or class for semi-professional drivers to compete against each other,” observed McMellan.
“It was the logical next step in the evolution in the category and comes off the back of feedback from our teams and potential competitors in a Pro-Am category.
“It's a tough ask for someone like Mark Rosser, for example, to compete for trophies with a young star like Joey Mawson – but they still have the drive to race open wheelers at a high level.
“The Pro-Am class, and the Silver Star award in the 2023 championship, gives them an opportunity to compete for their own awards while continuing to benchmark themselves on the outstanding professional talent racing at the front of the field.
“We have had positive early interest for both the 2022 Tasman Series and the 2023 Championship and we're looking forward to seeing it evolve.”
The first round of the 2022 S5000 Tasman Series will take place at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500, October 28-30.