Shane van Gisbergen from Team Triple Eight during the Superloop Adelaide 500 at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Adelaide, Sunday, February 23, 2020. (AAP Image/David Mariuz) NO ARCHIVING
Shane van Gisbergen from Team Triple Eight during the Superloop Adelaide 500 at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Adelaide, Sunday, February 23, 2020. (AAP Image/David Mariuz) NO ARCHIVING

Skaife reveals biggest threat to Supercars’ future

Racing legend Mark Skaife has warned Supercars has been engrossed in a "mad technical race" and needs to undergo a significant cost recalibration to avoid ending up with an unbalanced grid like Formula One.

Outlining his top priorities for the post COVID-19 racing world, Skaife said it was also time for the sport's biggest event - the iconic Bathurst 1000 - was installed as the championship finale after this year's rebooted season.

Skaife said resetting the sport's costs to level the playing field needed to be the top priority for the series ahead of the introduction of its new Gen 3 regulations from 2022.

"You have to have more than two teams winning," Skaife said.

"If you did a synopsis of the last three years … I reckon it won't be far away from roughly 85 per cent of the races have been won by two teams (DJR Team Penske and Red Bull Holden Racing Team).

"That's a precedence that is based around the haves versus the have nots … I am a prescriber of trying to apply good regulations to level the playing field and reduce the cost.

Scott McLaughlin has donimated the Supercars series in recent years. Picture: Brenton Edwards
Scott McLaughlin has donimated the Supercars series in recent years. Picture: Brenton Edwards

"If you can go and buy a new widget that will gain you two-tenths of a second and the team at the back can't afford it, that engineering race doesn't make any difference to the person who has bought a ticket at Sandown, or wants to buy a campsite at Bathurst … they don't care about.

"We are engrossed in some mad technical race. If you just compare where we are to Formula One, Formula One is where we are on steroids. The disparity between a good car and a bad car in Formula One is exaggerated massively and that's wrong.

"We need to drag back our regulations, decrease our big cost bases and recalibrate post-COVID … we take for granted how entertaining our show is compared to other series and we need to maintain that."

Skaife was not a fan of a second Bathurst race on the revamped calendar for this season, describing it as like having "two Christmases".

But he wanted to see the famous Bathurst 1000, traditionally held in October, become the official Supercars finale in the future.

"It is deemed to be our Grand Final, our jewel in the crown," the Fox Sports commentator said.

Shane van Gisbergen powers around the street circuit at the Adelaide 500.
Shane van Gisbergen powers around the street circuit at the Adelaide 500.

"If it was me, I would make Bathurst - not this year but for the future - I would move Bathurst to a later time slot and make it the last race meeting.

"The overriding thing Australians think is that Bathurst is our Grand Final … I would take the mask off the lone ranger and make it the last race."

Supercars has yet to confirm its formats for its revamped season but is considering a range of options, including reverse grids, which has been used in the Eseries.

But Skaife cautioned against a move back to the reverse grids, which last featured in 2006.

"I caution the industry to go back to things that we moved away from for a reason," Skaife said.

"I understand that we are looking for a lack of predictability … but whatever we do it can't be a gimmick and it's got to be authentic.

"I think in a post-COVID period cost containment is going to be critical … and a full field reverse grid will increase the amount of vehicle damage - there is no argument about that."

rebecca.williams@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Skaife reveals biggest threat to Supercars' future


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