For the first time in Supercars history, championship points will be on offer at the Australian Grand Prix event in March, after the sport signed a new deal to extend its partnership with Formula One.
Since 1996, the Supercars series has raced as a support category at Albert Park with no championship points on offer. However, on Tuesday Supercars boss James Warburton revealed that will no longer be the case in the wake of a six-year contract extension.
"This fantastic opportunity to host championship races at the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit will further showcase Supercars on the world stage," Warburton said. "A championship round and the six-year contract extension through to 2023 will be warmly received by our fans and add a new dimension to the event."
In previous years, Supercars have run 30 minute sprint races across the four days of the event. While the format of the new race weekend is yet to be determined, Warburton confirmed it would be difficult to make them that much longer as it would conflict with Formula One's schedule.
"The Formula One sessions are locked, so we have to work around them and we can't do anything to delay an international broadcast," he said. "I think somewhere between 30 minute and 60 minute races. They will be substantial races and Supercars will be across four days of the event.
"The race formats will be determined and finalised in the coming months."
The move has been fully backed by drivers who have long pushed for the event to be recognised on the championship calendar. 2017 series leader Fabian Coulthard told Supercars.com.au it was a great step for the series.
"I've wanted this for a long time," Coulthard said. "It's too good of a race for it to be a demonstration and not for points.
"It's cool to be able to race alongside Formula One and for it to be a championship event, I'm very happy."