The S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship will switch to a summer series from September 2021 after a four-round season in the first half of the year.
Next year heralds the first running of an S5000 season as a formal championship after the category debuted with two non-championship rounds in the latter half of 2019 but only saw practice and qualifying at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix this year, due to COVID-19.
The 2021 season will therefore also mark the belated return of the Motorsport Australia Gold Star which was to have been awarded for the first time in six years in 2020.
A more conventional length six- to seven-round campaign is then in store when the category moves to a summer calendar.
That 2021/22 season is likely to kick off at Sandown, and will include racing for championship points at Mount Panorama as part of the Bathurst International event, which is slated to be held in November or December.
Before then, the 2021 campaign will kick off at Symmons Plains in January as part of Race Tasmania, followed by Phillip Island in February, an as yet unconfirmed venue in March, and the finale in May at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“After the frustration of last March's Grand Prix cancellation, where S5000 was poised to make a serious statement, and the extended COVID-19 shut-down since, it really is exciting to confirm the re-launch of the S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship (Gold Star) series, across the upcoming summer,” said Category Manager, Chris Lambden.
“It was always my view that S5000 should avoid the downsides of racing across winter in the southern states, and that's exactly what we will now be doing.
“This series, slimmed back to four championship rounds in four months due to the delayed start and aimed at keeping series entrant costs down while the country gets back on its feet, will decide the first S5000 Gold Star Champion.
“We will then take a winter ‘off-season' break and kick off a full six- or seven-round 2021/22 championship in September, at Sandown, running through to April again.
“Firming up the calendar allows our existing, and new, competitors the certainty they need to prepare well for the first Gold Star Championship for several years.
“The four rounds are at four of the very best race tracks in the country, and S5000 will provide a spectacular contest.
“There are some strong combinations coming together, and so, at last, we will be able to put on the show that was so close to kicking off last March.
“In these still tricky times, with team economics likely being stressed for a little while yet, S5000 offers up-and-coming drivers what was intended from the start – the fastest and most spectacular race cars in the country, but at race budget levels way below many other national racing formulae.
“The grid is taking shape again, teams will be starting pre-season testing shortly, and we're ready to provide real motorsport fans with something spectacular over the summer. It's just so good to be able to go racing again.”
S5000 will also appear at the second Race Tasmania event in late-January, at Baskerville Raceway, for demonstrations.
TCR Australia's 2021 calendar was released last week and Touring Car Masters', earlier this week.
S5000 Australian Drivers' Championship 2021 calendar
|Sydney Motorsport Park
|Apr 30-May 2