A PAIR of twilight races will headline Supercars’ first points-paying trip to the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
2018 marks the first time the Albert Park event will hold an official championship round, with drivers racing at the Coates Hire Melbourne 4000 for the inaugural Larry Perkins Trophy.
The cars will hit the track for four separate races, a pair of 13-lap sprints and a pair of 25-lap races featuring a compulsory pit stop.
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The latter races, both expected to run around an hour in duration, will both be held at twilight.
“The twilight timeslot works well for our television audience as well as fans at the track, who will get to see our first points races at Albert Park in perfect conditions,” acting Supercars CEO Shane Howard said.
“To participate fully as a round of our Championship in Melbourne with 400km of racing across three days which includes pitstops, is a huge win for our fans, teams and our drivers.
“It is an honour to be alongside Formula One at Albert Park and as an official support category to the world’s premiere form of motorsport.”
In the past, Supercars’ qualifying and races have fit into 40-minute slots around Formula 1’s track schedule, often off the back of their practice or qualifying sessions.
This has seen several Supercars sessions run in the early evening, the second race of the 2015 event getting underway at 6:25pm local time, while qualifying has previously began as late as 6:30pm.
The Melbourne 400 will be the second round of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Provisional Schedule: Coates Hire Melbourne 400 (all times AEDT)
12:50pm — 1:20pm: Practice 1
2:40pm — 3:10pm: Practice 2
4:20pm — 4:30pm: Qualifying 1 (sets grid of Race 1)
4:40pm — 4:50pm: Qualifying 2 (sets grid of Race 2)
1:50pm — 2:00pm: Qualifying 3 (sets grid of Race 3)
2:10pm — 2:20pm: Qualifying 4 (sets grid of Race 4)
5:50pm — 6:50pm: Race 1 — 25 laps/132km with compulsory pit stop for tyre change and fuel
12:40pm — 1:10pm: Race 2 — 13 laps/69km
6:20pm — 7:20pm: Race 3 — 25 laps/132km with compulsory pit stop for tyre change and fuel
1:45pm — 2:15pm: Race 4 — 13 laps/69km
* Dates and times are subject to change.