Australia's biggest drag racing event is set to get even bigger with the 2020 running of the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals expanded to five days.
Taking place from Wednesday, June 3 to Sunday, June 7, the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals provides the ultimate showcase of Australian drag racing as the finale to the 400 Thunder Championship season.
Willowbank Raceway President Tony Wedlock said with ever-growing numbers of competitors, the venue needed to find a way to make sure all could be a part of Australia's premier drag racing festival.
"The Winternationals is the marquee event for Australia’s top competitors, and regularly attracts over 500 competitors competing at the 400 Thunder championship decider,” Wedlock said. “The number of competitors wanting to compete at Australia’s premier drag racing event, and the largest event held outside of the USA, has meant changes need to be made moving forward. Moving to five days allows us additional flexibility in scheduling and the ability to provide competitors and spectators alike with an unparalleled drag racing experience.
“The event in its current format has reached a critical mass. The Willowbank Raceway board and management team debated the options and we had two directions we could go in. One was to cap entries, and possibly deny racers the opportunity to compete at the largest drag racing event outside of the USA, the other was to expand to a fifth day. We decided expansion was the best option so we could continue to welcome everybody who wants to be a part of this fantastic event.”
The added Wednesday will be dedicated to sportsman racers, who will be taking advantage of the prime June weather conditions for the first two days, before the 400 Thunder pros make their first qualifying runs on Friday. The additional day of qualifying will also see Professional qualifying extended to four sessions. Professional qualifying will continue to commence on Friday with an additional optional session added into Friday’s program to provide competitors with four opportunities at qualifying. This will ensure that all competitors receive a better opportunity to qualify in the likelihood that the event becomes weather effected.
The naming rights sponsor, Gulf Western Oils, who have continued to be impressed by the turn out of Australian drag racers and fans at the event, remain as the iconic event naming rights sponsor, extending their current association with the event.
“Gulf Western Oil have re-signed for the Winternationals, furthering the long-term relationship forged with Willowbank Raceway and showing their belief in the strength of the event and what it delivers for their brand,” Wedlock said.
The Winters Warm Up test weekend will also be growing to accommodate the increased demand from racers. The 2020 version will begin on Friday, May 29 and conclude on Sunday, May 31.
Willowbank Raceway will be further innovating at the Gulf Western Oil Winternationals with added off-track entertainment to deliver an improved event experience for spectators and racers alike.
“The 2020 Gulf Western Oil Winternationals is already known as a must-see event, but I think the Willowbank Raceway team are going to set new standards for what a drag racing event can deliver in terms of entertainment, we will hopefully be able to provide some more information very soon on a number of new and innovative additions to the event,” Wedlock said.
- Willowbank Raceway Media Release