A snap lockdown in the state of Victoria has forced the postponement of the opening round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Phillip Island.
Phillip Island was due to host the ‘All Wheels Race Fest’ from Feb. 20-21 featuring the GTWC Australia curtain-raiser and rounds of TCR Australia and the S5000 Championship.
However, an outbreak of COVID-19 in Melbourne followed by subsequent government restrictions has forced Motorsport Australia to postpone the event.
In a best-case scenario, Victoria’s snap five-day lockdown could end on Wednesday however the uncertainty over restrictions and complications around inter-state borders leaves the event organizers dry on options.
“We’re all understandably disappointed with this outcome, given the significant planning already underway for this event,” said Michael Smith, Motorsport Australia director of motorsport and commercial operations.
“The health and safety of all those who would be part of the event has to be our priority and unfortunately race meetings like this cannot just be turned on and turned off in 24 hours.
“There would also be a significant cost for organizers, categories, teams, officials and spectators if there was a last-minute cancellation, so this decision provides some certainty for everyone who had planned to attend and makes sure that no competitors are disadvantaged in their respective series or Championship.”
GTWC Australia’s opening round is now scheduled to be the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour on April 2-4.
Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown, which was announced by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday (local time) goes into effect at 23:59 following an outbreak of COVID-19 from hotel quarantine.
At the time of publishing, every state except New South Wales has declared greater Melbourne a COVID-19 hotspot putting a halt on travel from Victoria.
Supercars’ pre-season test day at Winton Motor Raceway for southern-based teams which was due to take place on Tuesday has also been postponed as a result of the unfolding situation.