Sydney 500 should stay: Winterbottom

Newly crowned V8 Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom has called on the sport’s governing body to add events to the calendar rather than replace them.

There’s some speculation that the season-ending Sydney 500 at Olympic Park – which was run over the weekend – could be replaced by an event in either Newcastle or on the Central Coast from as early as 2017.

“Sydney is huge, so who knows what is going to happen,” Ford driver Winterbottom told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast program on Monday.

“I hope they can do both, that would be awesome to go up in that region because it is awesome, Newcastle and the Central Coast, and then have Sydney (at Olympic Park), Sydney Motorsport Park (at Eastern Creek in August) and Bathurst as well.

“The more the better, we need to keep the rounds going, it would be good if we can have all of them combined, and not lose one.”

A crowd of 129,000 turned up at Homebush across the three-day event, and the meet is set to be moved two weeks earlier in 2016 in an effort to attract more fans.

“This weekend is too late in the cycle of peoples lives,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton told News Corp Australia.

“You’re coming into Christmas and battling with things like holidays, school functions, the heat etc.

“So the middle of November is the date we really want.”

Warburton also indicated he was keen on taking more races overseas by 2017.

In June, a four-year deal was announced which will see a championship round held on the streets of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur from next year.

“We’ve also got a heads of agreement for another one in Asia,” Warburton said. “And there are other parts of the world interested.

“We also have a whole range of options here in Australia in terms of long-term planning.

“We’re looking at places like Newcastle and the Central Coast, there is also the potential for a street race in Geelong.”

Another option could possibly be see the event as Sydney Motorsport Park shifted to become the season finale.

The current contract at Sydney Olympic Park ends after the 2016 race.

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