Circuit feature Richard Craill August 2, 2022 (Comments off) (173)

Adelaide’s circuit rebuild scope revealed

THE RACE TORQUE can reveal the extensive works being undertaken to prepare the famous Adelaide Street Circuit for a racing return when the VALO Adelaide 500 commences this December.

Public documents released by the Adelaide City Council following a July meeting outline the immense scope and time pressures involved in not only resurfacing the circuit, but the timeframe involved to do both that and construct the circuit itself at the same time.

The documents also reveal the full extent of the circuit’s resurrection which includes brand-new tarmac on a vast majority of the iconic 3.219km circuit, in some instances for the first time in its lifespan.

Major changes to the Supercars pit / paddock area and improvements to park amenities, including access pathways, are also documented.

The documents detail the formal process required between the State Government and the Adelaide City Council to utilise Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi that allow the South Australian Motorsport Board to utilise the park.

The Community Land Management Plan in place for the use of Victoria Park dates to 1984, when the Government at the time created the South Australian Motorsport Board Act which allowed for the eventual hosting of the Grand Prix and later, the Adelaide 500.

The board was re-formed this year by Premier Peter Malinauskas following his election in March.

Resurfacing work on the existing tarmac has been a key component of the event’s return, with the Government budgeting for the works in its financial commitment to return the event once they were elected.

As well as providing a better surface for the racing, the public works are planned to have an expanded effect in improving the parklands in and around the Victoria Park precinct for the general public both during and outside of event times.

WORKS PERIOD

OFFICIALLY, the Motorsport Board took control of the prescribed area to be used by the Adelaide 500 on 1 August – that was Monday this week – while the period ends on 12 February, 2023.

That period, the time in which the board has to build the circuit, host the event and then remove all of the facilities, is 54 days longer than in 2020 given the additional time required to resurface the roads and pathways within the precinct. The two-week shutdown during the Christmas – New Year period also plays a role in extending the period.


THE red line shows the ‘Prescribed area’ of Parklands 14, 15 and 16 (left to right, with 16 being Victoria Park) ceded to the control of the South Australian Motorsport Board for use during the Adelaide 500. The board essentially takes control of the area within the red line for the period documented to enable them to build the circuit and all the assets around it, while still maintaining as much public access as possible during that time.

Of note, the Premier indicated during the Adelaide 500 launch on Tuesday that thought had been given to the ‘Black Friday’ sales on 25 November – one week prior to the event and the first scheduled day of road closures for the 1-4 December event – and that the effect of the closures on the city would be minimised as much as possible during the busy shopping period.

Taking into account the special circumstances this year, in future years the circuit build would be expected to commence in late September or early October moving forward.

Interestingly, in 2019 and 2020 areas used for the race were opened two weeks ahead of schedule following the dismantling of the circuit.

While not officially confirmed to TRT, it is expected that works will commence on the resurfacing project next week.

THE WORKS

COMPETITORS and fans will have an almost entirely new surface to enjoy when the event starts this year.

More than 70% of the circuit will be completely resurfaced, with works including the section from the braking zone at the Turn 9 hairpin on Brabham Straight through to the entry to Turn 7, where the circuit turns right from Hutt Street and onto Bartels Road.

It includes the first major resurfacing of the permanent section of the track and the pit lane, within Victoria Park, in the lifetime of the Adelaide 500.


The full scope of the resurfacing works to be undertaken prior to the 2022 VALO Adelaide 500, including the vast majority of the circuit, between Turn 9 and Turn 7, plus pit lane. The coloured lines, as per the key, indicate the pathways being sealed for pedestrian use. In total, nearly 38,000 square metres of tarmac will be laid.

The Council reports indicate that the FIA, the sport’s governing body, had identified several areas of the circuit that required attention prior to the 2020 event, which have since degraded further following two years of inactivity.

“Prior to the 2020 Adelaide 500 event, Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA) identified several locations of track surface requiring upgrade,” the report confirms.

“Due to the cancellation of the 2021 event, these works were not undertaken. Noting both road reserves and footpaths are currently suitable for both vehicular and pedestrian use and maintained at our asset level, which is not consistent with the FIA standards that are a higher level.

“Since the last event in 2020, the integrity of the circuit has further declined, and works are required to enable the Adelaide 500 in December. The track resurfacing and kerbing project is required to ensure a track licence is obtained from the governing motorsport body, the FIA.”

Even older than the circuit surface, the hardstand behind the garage area that has been in place it was laid for the 1985 Australian Grand Prix will finally be replaced.

The old surface has degraded to the point of being unsafe and will be replaced by a larger bitumen area where Supercars teams will park their transporters come December.


The top image is the new surface to be laid in the Supercars paddock area, behind the pit garages, while the bottom shows the existing bitumen surface to be removed. a vast improvement, to be sure.

The report indicates that the newly paved area will offer the potential of the park hosting ‘other key events’ outside of the event window, while also upgrading the condition of the area in general via planting and soft surfaces.

Ironically, both the Victoria Park circuit bitumen, the pit lane and the paddock hardstand have had more use than ever before in the last two years following the cancellation of the event: the location was Adelaide’s major drive-through COVID-19 testing location and generally highly trafficked, where in usual years – with the exception of the Adelaide Motorsport festival – it would lie dormant between events.

Finally, several key pedestrian pathways will be upgraded throughout both Park 16 (Victoria Park) and the adjacent Park 15, which is used by the event and hosts the concert oval and support paddocks.

The pathways, which are currently a mix of paved and dirt tracks, will be paved which the council report suggests will not only reduce dust or, in wet conditions, mud but will leave a legacy for park users outside of the event window.

TRT will track the ongoing works in Adelaide as the circuit upgrade progresses.


Our thanks to TRT reader Bruce for their tip to read through 154 pages of the July Adelaide City Council meeting minutes..

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