Stillborn temporary circuits
Since the early 1980s countless street circuit concepts have been floated. Many seemed like a good idea at the time, but lacked at least one essential ingredient – or in some cases every ingredient – to bring them to life.
Love them or loathe them, temporary motor racing circuits have revolutionised modern motorsport, bringing events to the people. While racing on public roads dates back to the sports’ earliest days, this article deals with the modern ‘concrete-canyon’ variant. This era began in 1985 with Wellington’s wonderful dockside, shipping container-dodging Group A enduro and Adelaide’s stellar F1 efforts. But we’re not concerned here with the tracks that actually came to life. Instead, over the following pages, we review the many projects that failed to get up.
Over the last three decades, specialist motorsport magazines and even the nation’s metropolitan newspapers have outlined umpteen proposals for temporary street circuits. Some were pure wishful thinking, while others were investigated and rejected. One or two have seemingly been done deals, only to fall over just before the ‘go’ button was pushed.
This is a story outlining two decades of stillborn street races; plans that fell over due to a lack of funding or political backing. Events that never saw a concrete barrier installed, because of more impenetrable barriers laid by residents or environmentalists.
The trick with any newly proposed temporary circuit is working out whether it falls into the fiction or non-fiction category. Some of the venues below might now seem like pure fantasy, but it’s worth remembering there were many who pooh-poohed the chances of F1 cars blasting down Dequetteville Terrace or V8 Supercars charging around the Sydney 2000 Olympics site.
For the record, we reckon a Geelong street race made a great deal of sense. Still does; and may still come to fruition in the future.
Read on as AMC travels down some deadend streets…
content to host ocean racing yachts each December, a Hobart consortium also wanted the city’s famous Constitution Dock precinct as home port for a touring car affair. Hence, the idea of an annual ‘Constitution 500’ was floated [ED: pun intended] by marketing company Sportsforce International.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport gave its seal of approval, subject to compensation being paid to both permanent Tasmanian circuits, Symmons Plains and Baskerville. The Tasmania State Government also liked the idea.
The first Constitution 500 was touted for December 4, 1988, with a very snazzy logo created, incorporating convict-era architecture, possibly the Tasmanian parliament building. Perhaps a move to get local pollies excited enough to dip into public coffers?
FISA, the world governing body of motorsport’s name at the time, even sent track inspector Jan Corsmit to Tassie following the 1987 Adelaide F1 GP. Corsmit gave his seal of approval for the precinct’s suitability as a possible host location for a World Touring Car Championship round. But, like the Group A-era WTCC, the C500 sunk like the Titanic.
From what we can gather, it was the not insignificant matter of who would fund it that was the ultimate stumbling block.