Newcastle council will "finalise" talks for a "longer-term arrangement" for the city's Supercars race after next year's season-opener in March.
A council spokesperson said the city's current agreement with Supercars and Destination NSW would expire in 2022, though Newcastle will have hosted only four of a scheduled five races by then.
"Negotiations between City of Newcastle, Supercars Australia and Destination NSW around a longer-term arrangement for the Newcastle 500 event will be finalised following the March 2022 event," the spokesperson said.
Supercars said negotiations with the council were "commercial in confidence", and Destination NSW said discussions were ongoing.
"The NSW government is committed to hosting the season opener of the Supercars Australia championship, the Newcastle 500, in 2022," a Destination NSW spokesperson said.
"The future of the Newcastle 500 is a decision for all event partners, being the NSW government, City of Newcastle and Supercars Australia."
The Newcastle Herald has been told it is unlikely Supercars would have handed Newcastle the opening round of next year's series if it was contemplating pulling out of the city.
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The investment the series has made in infrastructure for Newcastle also suggests it is planning a longer stay.
The make-up of Newcastle council after September's local government elections could have some bearing on how much the council wants the series to stick around.
The existing Labor majority has supported the race as an important marketing tool for the city which brings in visitors and spending.
The previous council voted in 2016 to bring the race to Newcastle for five years. Only Greens councillors Therese Doyle and Michael Osborne voted against the race.
Newcastle dropped off the race calendar this year over uncertainty about social distancing restrictions on a street circuit, though recent relaxations of crowd rules suggest the December event could have gone ahead.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground will host 75,000 fans on Thursday night for an AFL game between Carlton and Collingwood after Victoria raised stadium capacity from 50 to 75 per cent.
Newcastle also fell off the 2020 Supercars schedule due to coronavirus fears, meaning the city has held only three of the five race weekends in its contract, in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Chevrolet Camaros will replace Holden Commodores on the grid at the Newcastle 500 in March next year.
The NSW government announced in October that the state would host next year's opening round under a new five-year deal with Supercars.
The announcement locked in Bathurst and Sydney races until 2025 but did not mention Newcastle.
The timing of next year's Newcastle 500 is expected to cause less trading disruption in the city's east than the pre-Christmas events from 2017 to 2019.
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