The V8 Supercars series has relaxed its co-driver rules and created a new Endurance Cup covering the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 600.
Previously, the international guest drivers teams brought in for the Gold Coast doubleheader on the Surfers Paradise street circuit were not allowed to take part in the preceding enduros. This rule has been dropped, opening up the possibility of the Surfers guests also contesting Sandown and the Bathurst classic.
V8 Supercar commission chairman Mark Skaife said the regulation change will allow guest drivers to get properly up to speed.
"The Endurance Cup means that teams can choose one driver as their co-driver for all three events which allows them to train and plan for the longer stints," said Skaife. "These cars are not easy to drive on a one-off basis. While the Car of the Future will be more driver-friendly, it's very difficult to transition into a race mode V8 Supercar with limited preparation. This way teams can spend the next eight months choosing and preparing the drivers they believe are best equipped across all three races."
Four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais and former Ferrari Formula 1 racer Mika Salo have been part of Surfers winning lineups since the event took on its international flavor.