Supercars says its Newcastle season opener is going ahead as planned in March after discussions with the state government and council over the impact of the omicron outbreak in the city.
Construction of the street circuit is due to start early next month ahead of the March 4-6 event. Organisers say they are "monitoring the situation in NSW", but that no changes have been confirmed at this stage.
A City of Newcastle spokesperson said it was possible for the event to go ahead safely, "given the outdoor nature of the Newcastle 500 and people's ability to safely spread out".
Motoring website Speed Cafe reported on Monday that the schedule for the Newcastle 500 and the Bathurst 12 hour could be changed as a result of the current COVID-19 situation.
If it is to go ahead, we need to be doing it in a way that puts the residents of Newcastle ahead of the profits of the Supercars corporation.Cr John Mackenzie
Newcastle Greens councillor John Mackenzie has called for an independent risk assessment and COVID safety plan of the race to mitigate the risks of the event becoming a super spreader.
Cr Mackenzie said the event being a street circuit posed a series of challenges regarding COVID safety, with residents mixing with attendees and hospitality and tourism providers in the race zone as well as for the set up and pack down of the track.
"It's absolutely vital we have comprehensive safety plan and risk assessment," he said. "To look at what the risks are and how they're being managed.
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"If it is to go ahead, we need to be doing it in a way that puts the residents of Newcastle ahead of the profits of the Supercars corporation."
Cr Mackenzie said he would advocate to council for such measures to take place. Council said it was"working to all NSW Health guidelines in response to the pandemic".
Supercars says it has and will comply with any direction given to it by authorities, but did not commit to any additional plans or assessments.
While the Newcastle race is still set to go ahead as planned at this stage, there are question marks over the Bathurst 12 Hour event which is set to go ahead at the end of February.
However that event holds additional challenges being an international race and attracting competitors from outside of the country.
Supercars has been in ongoing discussions with the NSW Government and City of Newcastle about the Newcastle 500, which are set to continue as the COVID situation develops.
It comes as case numbers in the Hunter region have remained above 1000 a day since the start of the year, with 1354 fresh infections added to the tally on Tuesday.
There are currently more than 24,000 active cases of the virus in the Hunter region.
The city hasn't hosted the Supercars since 2019, with COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the 2020 event followed by a change of the schedule meaning Newcastle would host the season opener in March 2022.