THE race format for the first Supercars event at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix to count for championship points has been revealed.
Four races will constitute the inaugural Coates Hire Melbourne 400, two longer races featuring pit stops and two shorter sprint races like those of recent years.
Here’s how it will work across the four days of the 2018 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix:
Practice 1 — 30min
Practice 2 — 30min
Qualifying for Race 1 — 10min
Qualifying for Race 2 — 10min
Qualifying for Race 3 — 10min
Qualifying for Race 4 — 10min
Race 1 — 60min (25 laps, 132km), compulsory pit stop/tyre change and fuel top up
Race 2 — 30min (13 laps, 69km)
Race 3 — 60min (25 laps, 132km), compulsory pit stop/tyre change and fuel top up
Race 4 — 30min (13 laps, 69km), last race before Formula 1 Grand Prix
The overall Event winner will receive the Larry Perkins Trophy, named in honour of the six-time Bathurst 1000-winning Supercars legend who also raced in Formula 1 from 1974-77.
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The race’s points-paying status comes at the end of a long campaign from Supercars and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation to gain permission from F1 bosses to hold a championship round as a support event.
Part of that sees a relaxation on the strict time windows on the support category schedule that limited Supercars to half-hour sprint races in the past.
“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 pit stops 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.”
The Supercars round headlines a strong undercard at Albert Park, with the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, Australian GT Championship, and the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli — Asia Pacific set to feature.
“With a bumper line-up of entertaining and competitive racing, it will be an incredibly unique experience for fans as they enjoy the spectacle of these action-packed support categories,” AGP Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott said.
“Fans will be spoilt for choice across the four-day event, with an array of on-track action racing for championship points in all categories.”
The 2018 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix is on at Melbourne’s Albert Park from March 22-25.