Cars Insight Motorsport News

COMING SOON: 21 NEW RACE TRACKS PLANNED FOR AUSTRALIA

FOR the low, low price of only $1.8 BILLION, Australia could have the following 21 new race tracks or renovations completed. Seems like good value, right?

WORDS: Mark Walker

While clearly some of the below won’t necessarily be happening, others are a long way along the road to becoming a reality.

Some are not for profit, others private enterprise, while most seek government funding.

Some parked forever, others have their foundations carved into the earth.

Let’s take a tour around Australia, and check out the new tracks in the pipelines, and those that didn’t quite make it.

We’ve tried our best to capture all of the recent announcements from the past decade or so, but there would be others out there – hit us up on the socials @theracetorque with your stories for a future edition!

Also, check out our previous story – Australia’s Race Track Pipe Dreams – which covers the period of 1983 to 2000!

Just down the road from Townsville sits this layout, waiting for tarmac.

DriveIt NQ

Location: Calcium, 40km south of Townsville, adjacent to Woodstock, QLD.

Target market: Circuit racing, quarter mile drags, off road and rally, RC cars, karts, driver training.

Driving force: Not for profit association of local enthusiasts.

First mentioned: 2006

Dollars: Federal Government have committed $12million, with State Government chipping in $5million for local infrastructure upgrades, $21.5million still required.

Status: Site office now in place, $2.6million contract signed to build the access roads and skid pan for driving training in stage one of the project. In 2019, the base track designed was carved into the above paddock.

Rockhampton streets: not going to happen.

Rockhampton

Location: Rockhampton, QLD.

Target market: Supercars, with a quasi-street circuit.

Driving force: Rockhampton Regional Council

First mentioned: 2017

Dollars: $20million

Status: Project parked in February 2019, with the council and Supercars ultimately not coming to an agreement.

Wide Bay Motor Complex

Location: Five minutes east of Maryborough, QLD.

Target market: Multi-purpose driver training and motorsport facility, drag strip and circuit, jet sprint boats, 4x4s.

Driving force: Not for profit, club based.

First mentioned: 2010

Dollars: $30million

Status: Currently seeking assistance in building a business plan to progress the project.

Toowoomba has produced some great racing talent over the years…

Wellcamp Entertainment Centre and Motorsport Complex

Location: Attached to the new Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, QLD

Target market: FIA Category 2 standard 4.35km track, go karts, rally cross, training facility, driver training academy, concert amphitheater, camping grounds for 30,000 people. Motorsport was a feature of opening day at the adjacent airport.

Driving force: The Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise, designed by Mark Skaife and Mick Doohan

First mentioned: Approximately 2015

Dollars: Originally estimated at $40million.

Status: Still in the news, with a push for $100 million in funding to kick start the local economy post-COVID 19.

Not a thing that is happening

Queensland Raceway Redevelopment

Location: Willowbank, QLD.

Target market: Massive extension to the raceway, with big investment into the whole area of motorsport activity.

Driving force: Ipswich Motorsport Precinct, set up by the Ipswich City Council

First mentioned: 2016, with multiple designs surfacing.

Dollars: $220million in total for the precinct, $52million for Queensland Raceway.

Status: Canned in 2017, as the Ipswich City Council thoroughly unraveled itself.

IMETT

Location: Northern Gold Coast, QLD

Target market: In order per website: botanic park, 6.5km motor racing circuit, museum, exhibition hall and arts centre, education institute and centre of excellence, television/telecommunications control centre, tourist village and accommodation, theme park.

Driving force: IMETT

First mentioned: 2007

Dollars: Somewhere between $650million and $2.5billion.

Status: Last website update was in 2015, but it now has a memorial page on Facebook.

The area north of Sydney is screaming out for a track, like this one at Wyong

Central Coast Motorsport Park

Location: Wyong, NSW.

Target market: 3.5km race track, driver training facilities, speedway, go kart track.

Driving force: Originally a social enterprise, now aiming at a commercial model.

First mentioned: 2010

Dollars: $18million

Status: Seeking funds to continue as a commercial venture.

Gosford Street Track

Location: Gosford, NSW

Target market: Supercars, 3.5km street circuit

Driving force: Gosford City Council/Supercars

First mentioned: 2015

Dollars: Irrelevant

Status: Shut down by the Central Coast Council due to traffic management issues. Ultimately the event was hosted in Newcastle.

The waiting game continues at Circuit Italia

Circuit Italia

Location: Balickera, 37km north of Newcastle.

Target market: 2.9km circuit

Driving force: Matthew Higgins, a local businessman.

First mentioned: The Ringwood Park Motor Sport Complex was originally constructed by the Newcastle Motor Racing Club in 2009 as a hillclimb course, the current custodian of the facility is the MG Car Club. A previous plan by Motorplex Australia to build on the site with drag racing and speedway was knocked back in 2003.

Dollars: $12million

Status: Clearing on the site was apparently carried out, construction was due to commence in the second quarter of 2017.

Private country clubs have worked elsewhere, this is Black Rock’s attempt

Black Rock Motor Park

Location: Wakefield, 30km west of Newcastle, NSW, based in an old mine site.

Target market: 5.58km track day circuit, rather than competition race track, with adjoining accommodation.

Driving force: The Formula Company

First mentioned: 2015

Dollars: $77million

Status: Conditionally approved by the local council, subject to noise regulations.

While it’s not Mount Panorama, it could be used 365 days a year

Second Bathurst Circuit

Location: West of Mount Panorama, NSW.

Target market: 4.5km FIA Grade 2 race track, rallycross and supporting infrastructure, with access available from the highway, as well as McPhillamy Park.

Driving force: Bathurst Regional Council

First mentioned: 2017 in its current location, after earlier plans to incorporate a permanent race track into the existing circuit were benched due to noise issues. Initial plans utilised the existing pit lane, with circuit running behind the paddock camp ground, to a loop up Conrod and through the Chase camp area.

Dollars: $52million

Status: The project timeline schedule is to be approved in mid-2020, with construction set to commence in early 2021.

Mildura is another area with a rich motorsport heritage

Mildura Motorsports and Community Precinct

Location: Koorlong, on the south-western edge of Mildura, VIC.

Target market: 3km race track, skid pan, pit facilities, with many other components such as speedway, drags, karting and jet boats included in the entire master plan.

Driving force: Mildura Rural City Council

First mentioned: 2011

Dollars: $21.8million for stage one, $80.2million for all four stages.

Status: The council is still actively seeking support for a public/private partnership.

Winton Redevelopment

Location: Benalla, VIC.

Target market: Changes to the circuit layout to accommodate a new pit lane and corporate facilities.

Driving force: Benalla Auto Club

First mentioned: 2020

Dollars: TBA

Status: Nothing concrete, looking at a five year timeline, to be discussed at a club committee level.

Brabham Park

Location: Ballarat, VIC.

Target market: International standard track, emergency services training, motor industry testing, CAMS centre of excellence, with CAMS considering to move their headquarters there. More recent suggestions from City of Ballarat sought out more of a grass roots style venue (see the Victorian Motorsport Hub).

Driving force: Board consisting of CAMS, local and state government bodies

First mentioned: 2015

Dollars: $50million.

Status: Quiet since 2017, and Motorsport Australia recently moved into new premises in Canterbury, Melbourne, which is nowhere near Ballarat.

Victorian Motorsport Hub

Location: Fiskville, 80km west of Melbourne, VIC.

Target market: Australia’s premiere motoring hub, sealed circuit, motocross track, drag strip, speedway, go karts, 4x4s, destination venue, industry development, to be build on the former CFA training grounds.

Driving force: Moorabool Shire Council, with support from the City of Ballarat and the City of Greater Geelong.

First mentioned: 2017

Dollars: $50-60million

Status: Last update was from 2018 of prospective investment by the Moorabool Council to develop the business case.

Half way to Phillip Island, Cardinia is a prime candidate to take over Sandown

Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Complex

Location: Pakenham, 60km south-east of Melbourne, VIC.

Target market: 3.6km FIA Grade 2 circuit, rallycross, go karting, hotel, exhibition spaces, shooting club, community hub. Currently at the venue is the Koo Wee Rup Motorcycle Club and the Pakenham Auto Club.

Driving force: Podium 1

First mentioned: 2013 as a $30million complex, although planning works kicked off eight years prior.

Dollars: Now $200million

Status: Received development planning approval in December 2019.

Avalon: another prime target for a track

Avalon Motor Park

Location: Avalon, VIC.

Target market: 5.3km long FIA Grade 2, FIM Grade A, drag racing, karting, driver training, 4x4s.

Driving force: CAMS

First mentioned: 2009 on the Apex Circuit Design website, precious little mention elsewhere.

Dollars: Significant.

Status: The design was reviewed by CAMS and the Victorian State Government.

Geelong plans: not a wild mix of noodles

Geelong Motorplex

Location: Avalon, VIC.

Target market: 5km race track divisible into smaller sections, motocross, karting, drag racing, the State Government $80million Crash and Trauma Education Centre,

Driving force: Avalon 2020, “an initiative led by Melbourne and Geelong businessmen and landowners”. Seemingly a different proposal to that put forward through Avalon Motor Park.

First mentioned: Appears that it was first mentioned in the late 1990s, with the latest update to the plans coming in 2014.

Dollars: $60million

Status: Despite everyone wanting a race track in Avalon, there continues to be no race track in Avalon. Also, in hindsight, naming your project “2020” wasn’t a great move…

Geelong Street Track

Location: Geelong, VIC.

Target market: Supercars

Driving force: City of Greater Geelong

First mentioned: 1983, with the latest version popping up in 2014.

Dollars: A moot point.

Status: Despite the efforts of Mayor Darryn Lyons, the event fizzled out in 2015.

Not any track, it’s THE Track

Track Perth

Location: Keysbrook, 65km south of Perth, WA.

Target market: 3.5km main track with multiple configurations, designed by Apex Circuit Design

Driving force: Stati Group, an award winning design and construction property group.

First mentioned: 2018

Dollars: To be announced?

Status: Plans were submitted with council, little heard since.

Two tracks are apparently better than one at Waneroo

Waneroo Raceway Redevelopment

Location: Waneroo, Perth, WA.

Target market: Second 4.27km race track, upgrades to the existing track, off road training, rally, BMW, hotel, camping area

Driving force: City of Waneroo

First mentioned: 2020

Dollars: $231million

Status: Approved by council, although funding has not yet been secured – looking for private partnerships or public investment. Time frame for completion: 2029.