400 Thunder has announced plans for its post COVID-19 return, with a proposal to merge the current season with the 2020/2021 season as well as making Sydney Dragway's East Coast Thunder event compulsory.
In a Facebook post, 400 Thunder management said that they wanted to release some early plans despite the sporting landscape remaining in flux as government regulations adapt to what happens next following the pandemic. The plans were as follows:
1. The current 2019/2020 400 Thunder Professional and Sportsman Series will be extended into a “Super Season” that will culminate at the Gulf Western Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway in June 2021.
2. All of the current 2019/2020 Series points will be rolled over into the extended “Super Season” for 400 Thunder professional and sportsman categories.
3. The 400 Thunder Sportsman Series points cap will be increased accordingly to cater for the additional events.
4. The extended “Super Season” is planned to resume at Springmount Raceway on August 21/22, 2020 for the 400 Thunder Sportsman Series. All competitors at this event will receive a 50% points bonus.
5. The postponed 2020 Gulf Western Winternationals is planned for September 17-20, 2020 at Willowbank Raceway and will become a round of the “Super Season” for all 400 Thunder Professional and Sportsman categories, and will NOT be the final round of the 2019/2020 Series.
6. The 2020 Atlantic Oil East Coast Thunder event at Sydney Dragway on November 6/7 will follow on as the next round of the “Super Season” and it will be double points round for all 400 Thunder professional and sportsman categories. To be eligible to win the 400 Thunder Professional or Sportsman Series in the “Super Season”, it will be compulsory that you attend this event.
7. The full details on the rest of the events for the 400 Thunder Professional and Sportsman Series “Super Season” will be announced in approximately six weeks, following the announcement of the government's COVID-19 exit strategy.
8. Please note that the above events are subject to confirmation, pending on the government relaxation of social distancing regulations at outdoor events.
A number of sportsman classes, including Pro Radial, Modified, Modified Bike and Super Gas, had only the Winternationals left to complete the previously scheduled season. Some racers on social media were concerned about making a compulsory trip to Sydney to remain in the running.
Under the previous 400 Thunder schedule, only the season-ending Winternationals and one round of the racers' choice at a track other than Willowbank required compulsory attendance in order to win a championship. The new plans also grant double points to East Coast Thunder, giving it a heavy weighting in the championship.
400 Thunder manager Steve Bettes said on the Facebook post that the changes were intended to turn East Coast Thunder into a Winternationals-like event.
"We are looking to build the East Coast Thunder event into a very strong event for the series and the plan is to create an incentive for competitors to attend," he said.