The Darwin Supercars double-header is set to go ahead despite the Northern Territory adding Brisbane and some surrounding areas to its COVID-19 hot spot list.
News of the fresh hot spot decelerations, which came into effect at 12:01am local time, cast significant doubt over the future of the two Darwin rounds, with a number of personnel based in the Brisbane area – including series points leader Scott McLaughlin.
Supercars asked any affected team personnel to leave Brisbane last night, before crunch talks with NT government officials took place today.
The result of those talks is that teams will be able to leave Queensland and enter the Territory on Monday as planned.
The only exceptions are any personnel that have visited a specific list of locations around the Brisbane area linked to cases.
Transporters are set to leave the Queensland bases over this weekend, with a Supercars charter flight expected to transport team personnel on Monday.
The Darwin rounds will be held over the 8-9 and 15-16 August and weekends.
Personnel from various Supercars teams, including McLaughlin, have since fled Brisbane following the recent hot spot declaration from the Northern Territory.
Nine of the 10 Supercars teams are currently in south east Queensland preparing to head to the Territory, with Monday marking the 14-day mark since leaving the Sydney hotspot.
While the majority are based around the Gold Coast and therefore aren’t directly affected by the new directive, there are some key exceptions.
Should the Darwin double-header not have been able to take place, races at Queensland Raceway could have been brought forward to fill the gap.
That would require the Ipswich venue installing the additional safety measures Supercars uses for temporary approval from Motorsport Australia, as the track isn’t permanently licensed by the primary governing body.
A Motorsport Australia spokesperson told Autosport last week that, despite some key staff including Supercars race director Tim Schenken being stuck in locked down Melbourne, getting the necessary approvals for QR would unlikely have posed a problem.
“Alterations will need to be made in order for the track licence to be valid,” said the spokesperson.
“As per previous years, the circuit safety installations will need to comply with the FIA circuit licence requirements.”