Supercars drivers Jamie Whincup (left) and Chaz Mostert (2nd right) during a media call with Australian Wallabies players Bernard Foley (2nd left) and Rob Simmons (right) in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast 600 Supercars race and Bledisloe Cup rugby union match will be held this weekend.
Supercars drivers Jamie Whincup (left) and Chaz Mostert (2nd right) during a media call with Australian Wallabies players Bernard Foley (2nd left) and Rob Simmons (right) in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast 600 Supercars race and Bledisloe Cup rugby union match will be held this weekend. DAVE HUNT

Supercars needs more Asian flavour, says Whincup

VETERAN driver Jamie Whincup says races in Asia should be a priority for whoever replaces departing Supercars chief executive James Warburton.

Warburton announced on Monday he will stand down at season's end after four years in the job, with the former Ten Network boss not giving a reason for his departure.

While claiming he leaves the sport with increased crowd figures, racing in Asia was still on the to-do list.

Plans to introduce a Malaysian round were put on ice due to a legal battle late last year while there has been talk of races in Thailand and Indonesia, as part of Singapore's Formula 1 program Supercars events have been held in Texas, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and even Bahrain, where Whincup won in 2008 and 2010.

But, aside for the regular round in Auckland, none have cemented themselves as long-term international fixtures.

Whincup, who boasts more than 100 wins in more than a decade behind the wheel, said Warburton's replacement needed to focus on expanding Supercars' footprint.

"James has done an awesome job over the last couple of years, but those guys don't last forever," he said.

"Fingers crossed his replacement is someone just as influential.

"Absolutely we do need more international events on the calendar, we've put our toe in the water in the US and Abu Dhabi but we'd love to do some racing in Asia.

"It's relevant, it's in our time zone so anything north of here would be fantastic."

Warburton's efforts to widen the appeal of Supercars included dropping reference to V8s in the championship title to open the door to new manufacturers and different engine types.

He announced this month a long-planned night race in Sydney for the 2018 season, plus a new event at the $110-million Tailem Bend circuit in South Australia.

Warburton will call time after the Newcastle 500 on November 26, while also overseeing this weekend's Gold Coast 600 and Auckland SuperSprint from November 3-5.

"It is fair to say the sport is in great health. We have achieved so much with unity and, more importantly, the path is set to raise the sport to even greater heights," he said.

"Every single metric from EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), team distributions, crowd attendance to media numbers are well up and the fans continue to vote with their feet."

News Corp Australia

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