For the first time ever, the Supercars support event races at next year’s Australian Grand Prix will count for points in the Supercars Championship.
As part of a new agreement that sees the Supercars locked into the Albert Park’s Formula 1 weekend until 2023, the Supercars races over the grand prix weekend will make up the second round of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The round will be known as the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400.
“We are delighted Supercars now enjoys the status as an official support category of Formula 1 here in Australia and internationally,” Supercars CEO James Warburton said.
“To participate fully as a round of our championship in Melbourne with 400km of racing including pitstops is a huge win for our fans, teams and our drivers.
“We thank and applaud the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and Formula One Management for making this happen for the first time in the 20 years we have featured at the event.”
Drivers will compete for across four races over the weekend for the Larry Perkins Trophy.
Five times Bathurst 1000 winner Perkins said it was an unexpected honour to have his name on the trophy.
“It’s only just starting to sink in, to be honest,” Perkins said. “I certainly thank everyone who supported me to put my name on it.
“To be honoured in this way is something you don’t plan for, so when it comes along it’s a bit of a shock, really.
“But having got over the shock I’m happy to take it and I hope I do it justice.”
The format for the Coates Hire Supercars Melbourne 400 will see 10-minute qualifying sessions on the Thursday and Friday that will set the grid for each of the four races.
Two races – one each on Friday and Saturday – will be contested across 60 minutes and 132km, with a compulsory pitstop for tyres and fuel.
The other Saturday race and Sunday’s final event, the last race before the 2018 F1 season opener, will be 30-minute, 69km sprints.