Supercars will not return to Newcastle next year but the touring car series will be back for the opening round of 2022.

The 2021 draft calendar released this morning, confirmed speculation that the Newcastle 500 would not feature in next year’s championship due to uncertainty over COVID-19 restrictions.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the decision to promote Newcastle to the opening race of the 2022 season was recognition of the City’s popularity with race fans.

“No city anywhere in Australia offers what Newcastle does in terms of providing stunning aerial pictures of some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. The Newcastle 500 street circuit traces both the City’s coastline as well as its working harbour. In recent years the shots of Supercars racing in the foreground while coal ships sail in the background are images that are embedded into the minds of tens of millions of motor racing fans around the world,” Cr Nelmes said.”

“In just three years, Newcastle has established itself as one of the most popular stops on the Supercars calendar with both fans and drivers. Newcastle and the Hunter enjoy a huge racing supporter base and I’m confident they will love the promotion to the season opener and will continue to pour into the city for the three days in massive numbers.

“For visitors keen to linger beyond the Newcastle 500, the city becomes the perfect base from which to explore the attractions of wider Hunter region such as the world-famous wineries of the Hunter, located just 40 minutes away. It’s everything a Supercars fan could wish for.”