The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship calendar has been released today, with a return to Australasia the main theme.

Here is the Official V8 Supercars press release:

V8 Supercars has announced ground-breaking changes for 2014, building on a year which has featured multiple race and rookie winners, captivating racing and new generation V8 Supercars.

Innovation is the key to further broadening the appeal of V8 Supercars and making it accessible to more people than ever.

Key initiatives for 2014 include a shift towards prime time twilight racing and new standardised race formats; and an exciting new ANZAC Day weekend in New Zealand. Sydney will host three events in 2015.

“We have the opportunity to continue with an entrepreneurial approach, with high levels of innovation and commitment to our fans,” V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said.

“There is a chance to build on the energy and passion of the business created through the course of this year; taking it to the next level in 2014 and even further in 2015.

“We have had the period of consolidation, now is the time for innovation, growth and building for the next five to ten years.”

A minimum of five Saturday twilight races are possible in 2014. V8 Supercars will announce timings of all races early in the New Year in consultation with host broadcaster Seven.

As a precursor the first 250km race at the Sydney 500 this December will run from 5.10pm to 7.30pm. The ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 next month will also be staged later on Saturday afternoon.

The prospect of racing at twilight has received unanimous support from fans with 85 per cent supporting a Saturday evening race and almost 50 per cent more people would attend or watch a twilight race.

V8 Supercars also announced a move to three categories of events – SuperSprint, SuperStreet and the PIRTEK Enduro Cup – to standardise and simplify race formats into a consistent package. The 60/60 format of this year has been scrapped.

All SuperSprint races will count towards the Championship.

The 2014 V8 Supercar calendar consists of 16 events including the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne and the hugely popular V8 Supercars Test Day at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The Sydney 500 was locked in for a further three years earlier this month by the New South Wales Government, with an option for a further two years. This followed the recent the extension of the three Queensland events, also for a further three years.

Additionally, V8 Supercars will return to Sydney Motorsport Park for a Championship event in 2014 in August, meaning Sydney will host three events in 2014.

In New Zealand the ITM500 Auckland will be held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the ANZAC weekend. In New Zealand a single 100km race will be held on Friday followed by the SuperSprint format for the remainder of the weekend.

V8 Supercars believes racing on ANZAC weekend in New Zealand is a huge drawcard for the event that will encourage fans to travel to Auckland on the long weekend.

The blockbuster Clipsal 500 in Adelaide kicks off the Championship year once again.

V8 Supercars will delay a return to Texas until 2015 because of a clash of dates with the recently signed X Games and the composition of the V8 Supercar and COTA calendars.

“The timing of COTA securing the X Games next year led to the mutual agreement of a gap-year before consolidating, planning and returning to Texas in 2015,” Warburton said.

“The first Austin 400 was an enormous success at all levels and a tremendous platform to build into the future; in conjunction with developing an extensive international strategy for 2015 and beyond.

“The prospects are virtually limitless; there is that much potential in the sport.”

COTA President Steve Sexton said he was looking forward to V8 Supercars return in 2015 after a highly successful North American debut in May.

“Circuit of The Americas is quickly becoming a year-round destination for a variety of large-scale sports and entertainment properties, and with our packed schedule, we were not able to find mutually workable dates to facilitate a return of V8 Supercars to Austin in 2014,” Circuit Chief Executive Officer Steve Sexton said.

“V8 Supercars continues to be one of the most exciting shows in world motorsports. We know our US and international fans really enjoyed the Austin 400 event this year, and we are very excited to have V8 Supercars return to the United States in 2015.”

V8 Supercars has had preliminary discussions with several venues in the US with a view to ‘twinning’ the Austin 400 in the future.

The 2014 V8 Supercars calendar:

Feb 15 V8 Supercars Test Day Sydney MSP Test Day
Feb 27-Mar 2 Clipsal 500 Adelaide Adelaide Street Circuit SuperStreet DS
Mar 13-16 2014 Formula 1 Aust Grand Prix Albert Park TBC
Mar 28-30 Tasmania 400 Symmons Plains Raceway SuperSprint
Apr 4-6 Winton 400 Winton Motor Raceway SuperSprint DS
April 24-27 ITM 500 Auckland Pukekohe Park Raceway SuperSprint
May 16-18 TBC Perth 400 Barbagallo Raceway SuperSprint DS
June 20-22 SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin 400 Hidden Valley Raceway SuperSprint
July 4-6 Townsville 500 Reid Park SuperStreet DS
Aug 1-3 TBC Coates Hire Ipswich 400 Queensland Raceway SuperSprint DS
Aug 22-24 Sydney Motorsport Park 400 Sydney Motorsport Park SuperSprint
Sept 12-14 Wilson Security Sandown 500 Sandown Raceway PIRTEK Enduro Cup
Oct 9-12 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Mount Panorama PIRTEK Enduro Cup DS
Oct 24-26 ARMOR ALL Gold Coast 600 Surfers Paradise PIRTEK Enduro Cup
Nov 14-16 Phillip Island 400 Phillip Island Circuit SuperSprint
Dec 5-7 Sydney 500 Sydney Olympic Park SuperStreet DS

Note: DS denotes Dunlop Series