The Bend Motorsport Park could return to the 2020 Supercars schedule as a replacement for Sandown, despite the circuit’s owners reacting angrily when it was originally dropped from the calendar.
Autosport understands another swap between The Bend and Sandown is on the table as Melbourne finds itself back in lockdown due to an outbreak of coronavirus cases.
Should the latest swap go ahead it would complete a dramatic on-again, off-again saga for the South Australian venue.
It was initially named as the opening endurance race of the season – scheduled for the second-last weekend of September – on the original, pre-pandemic calendar.
That date was retained on the first revised calendar too, although the event was expected to be scaled back to a two-day sprint round.
However, The Bend was dumped from the second revised schedule altogether, with Sandown moved forward to the September date.
That prompted a scathing open letter to Supercars penned by circuit owner Sam Shahin, in which he claimed the series owed the state of South Australia a “big apology”.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said it was a “challenge” compiling the revised calendar but did not give a reason why The Bend was left out.
But, thanks to the escalating coronavirus situation in Melbourne, a third revision to the calendar now seems inevitable.
Part of this reshuffle is likely to include The Bend returning to its original date – as a sprint round – in place of Sandown, which is located in a Melbourne suburb.
Melbourne will begin a six-week return to Stage 3 restrictions, limiting people to leaving the house for just four reasons: medical, food, exercise or work/education.
The lockdown follows the closure of the New South Wales/Victoria border, which sparked a frantic border run for the five Melbourne-based teams on Monday.
Most are now set up at Sydney Motorsport Park ahead of next weekend’s round, and may not return to Victoria until September.