Around the Grounds: Racetrack Changes for 2023
To get the ball rolling on the new year, here we have collated the latest news tidbits and updates from seven different motorsport facilities in five states.
Townsville’s 2.75km long permanent circuit is close to finally becoming a reality.
However, after the initial surface went down in the middle of 2022, there appears to have been an issue with the finish, leaving the final layer currently unlaid.
While the facility is close, it hasn’t featured on the schedule for Motorsport Australia’s Queensland State Championships, which for the first time since 2006 will include a round at the now Tony Quinn-operated Queensland Raceway, with four other events slated for Morgan Park Raceway.
One event which has been scheduled for the DriveIT venue is Motor Event’s Boneyard GP, set for July 14 to 16 over 20+ hours of competition, clearly pending the final completion of the circuit.
The workers in the Sunshine State have been busy recently, with Queensland Raceway receiving a new crossover section of racetrack, inclusive of elevation changes, and a new, larger 65x25m burn-out pad, in place of the much smaller arrangement, which remains located on driver’s right before turn one.
QR has always featured a pair of shortcuts, which have formed the basis of a variety of track layouts for club and recreational users, which are also used as shortcuts for stricken vehicles trying to navigate a quick path back to the pits on the full circuit.
The facility will also make changes to cater for drift competitors, while this year it will also receive a hire kart track.
No news is… no news, unfortunately.
Here at The Race Torque, we broke down in July last year the mechanisms for the closure of Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway, and what played out at the track and in the courts.
After the New South Wales Land and Environment Court made a determination on Wakefield Park’s development application, the circuit has been closed for competition use.
The State Government at this stage appears to claim its hands are tied by the court ruling, despite extensive petitioning and meetings with interested parties, with the issue a matter for negotiation between the Goulburn Mulwaree Council and the Benalla Auto Club, the custodians of the venue.
Outside of Wakefield Park, the issues raised by the case appear to have wider implications for others wishing to apply for motorsport facility DAs elsewhere in the state.
Subsequently, with only one racing-standard permanent circuit remaining in New South Wales, local series are being forced to innovate in 2023.
For instance, the NSW State Motor Racing Championship will open with a round at Winton Motor Raceway at the start of March, before four rounds at Sydney Motorsport Park.
This SMP mix will include two two-day events on the full Grand Prix circuit, with a standalone day/night event on Saturday July 8th on the long track, followed on Saturday August 12th by another meet under lights on the shorter Druitt Circuit, which cuts out the Corporate Hill section.
Rob Roy Hillclimb
Dating back to 1935, one of the original three bitumen surfaced hillclimbs in the world, Rob Roy is undergoing its biggest renovation since the venue was revived in the early 1990s.
Outside of the resurfacing of the hillclimb itself, the run has earned itself a dedicated return road, there are two brand new Octundas, new spectator viewing, plus there has been extensive electrical and plumbing work carried out.
Expect the efforts to be climb ready ahead of a shakedown event on February 5.
Calder Park Raceway
The phoenix is rising – anticipate some significant works at the venue in the coming months as it prepares for a full-scale return to competition this year.
When we visited the venue in 2022, it looked in reasonable shape – already, it is extensively used for a range of tasks, including track days and drifting.
Dates to jot down include the AASA-sanctioned Victorian Motor Racing Championships on August 12-13, the Motorsport Australia-sanctioned Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships on October 28-29, and the Hi-Tec Oils Super Series on November 25-26.
The Bend Motorsport Park Dragway
Work is progressing full steam ahead on the latest addition to South Australia’s mega The Bend Motorsport Park, with the first events possible from the end of March, with a grand opening for top-flight classes destined for later in the year.
It was originally hoped that the facility would be operational around now, however, 2022’s foul weather played a significant role in delaying construction.
It was our biggest story of last year, and it is slated to open in 2023: Club Moolia is Perth’s $100 million motorsport country club.
Like DriveIt NQ, earthworks commenced in the middle of 2022 … watch this space for updates.