Next year's Newcastle 500 race has a 50-50 chance, at best, of going ahead.
Speculation is mounting the city could lose its season-ending Supercars round for the second year running when the series announces its 2021 calendar in the next two months.
A Supercars spokesperson told the Newcastle Herald on Friday that the decision rested on advice from the state government's Destination NSW tourism body.
"The reality is it's 50-50. It's absolutely not off and it's absolutely not on," he said.
He said the racing series would likely complete the last two years of its five-race deal with Newcastle whenever the pandemic allowed.
"It's not like no one wants to go to Newcastle. We want to go to Newcastle, Destination NSW wants to go.
"But, if the chief health officer says street circuits aren't a good idea, then we'll amend the contract however we have to.
"It's not a case of we'll never go back to Newcastle, even if we're not there in 2021. It's not like Newcastle would be scrapped forever."
Supercars officials are locked in talks with DNSW this weekend at Bathurst.
"There'll be versions of the calendar which have street circuits included and there'll be others that don't," the spokesperson said.
"From our point of view we've definitely discussed whether street circuits are viable if COVID restrictions continue next year."
He said Supercars wanted to announce a schedule which was not likely to change, but this did not necessarily count Newcastle out.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on this year's series as teams, sponsors, fans and broadcasters have adjusted to ever-changing border restrictions and crowd guidelines.
The spokesperson said that if Destination NSW wanted to "start driving people back to regional areas like Newcastle", Supercars would examine ways of achieving that, possibly without erecting grandstands.
"It's impossible to socially distance a street circuit. We all know that.
"The chances of running Newcastle and Gold Coast under the current NSW and Queensland situation is 10 to none.
"When DNSW give us their forecast of what they're going to do with major events in 2021, we'll be able to see if it's possible."
A DNSW spokesperson said: "Discussions between Destination NSW, Supercars Australia and City of Newcastle regarding the future of the Newcastle 500 are ongoing."
Motor racing website motorsport.com reported this week, without quoting sources, that the Newcastle 500 was likely to be dropped off next year's schedule.
Supercars cancelled this year's Newcastle round in May.
Newcastle deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said on Friday that he was not aware of the council being briefed on whether the city's race would get to the starting line in December 2021.
"Clearly there is some uncertainty about whether an event could continue next year and what crowd numbers could be, but as far as I'm aware we haven't heard anything formal," he said.
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