Fans of the Newcastle 500 have rallied to an online petition calling on Supercars to commit to extending the race until 2025.
The petition, which was published via change.org on Sunday, calls on Supercars CEO Sean Seamer, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes and NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres to support the return of the race in 2021 pending COVID-19 restrictions, and to commit to an extension of the event until at least 2025.
Supercars equivocated on the likelihood the street race returning to Newcastle next year, with one spokesperson describing on Friday a "50-50" chance the race would return, depending on the prevailing COVID-19 public health orders of the day.
"The reality is it's 50-50. It's absolutely not off and it's absolutely not on," the spokesperson said, adding that the decision rested on advice from the state government's Destination NSW tourism body.
The racing series would likely complete the last two years of its five-race deal with Newcastle whenever the pandemic allowed, the spokesperson said.
"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."
On Monday evening, the petition showed just shy of 1000 signatures.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on this year's Supercars series as teams, sponsors, fans and broadcasters have adjusted to ever-changing border restrictions and crowd guidelines.
A DNSW spokesperson said: "Discussions between Destination NSW, Supercars Australia and City of Newcastle regarding the future of the Newcastle 500 are ongoing."
Supercars is expected to announce its 2021 series calendar in coming months.