Today and tomorrow
In the mid-to-late 2000s, it became clear that something had to change if Barbagallo Raceway was going to retain its V8 Supercars round.
While the paddock itself had slowly expanded with a number of new garages, the state of facilities was a constant annoyance to Supercars organisers. That there were no garages opening onto the pit apron was the most common grievance, key Supercars officials calling the track “third world” on more than one occasion.
The series continually threatened to not turn up if things didn’t change, and in 2010 Barbagallo/Wanneroo missed out on an ATCC/Supercars round for the first time since 1978.
With some state government support, a revamp kicked off midway through 2011. The famous infield control tower was demolished, replaced by a huge infield pit facility, linked to a new media centre and race offices on the outside of the main straight by a footbridge.
With roomy garages opening directly onto the infield pitlane, and a spacious paddock area behind it, the new facilities have undoubtedly made life easier for Supercars teams.
The trade-off? There used to not be a bad seat in the house at Barbagallo, with views of six of the seven corners from virtually anywhere. As sleek and modern as the new facilities look, they’re not see-through…
Expansion has been another hot topic over the last decade or so. Even the long version of the circuit is only 2.4 kilometres in length, making it one of the shorter tracks in the country.
For years the club has had its eye on a pocket of vacant land across Wattle Avenue, to the north of the facility. Location-wise, it would be the obvious choice in terms of expanding the current layout, with a link from the entry of Turn One and a return on the exit of the same long, right-hander the ideal solution.
Of course, it all comes down to cash. The state government coughed up to help build the infield pits, which makes it an unlikely source of funding in the short term. And the now 13-year-old surface will likely need a birthday at some point in the near future, which could well take priority.
Few would argue against the benefits of an extension – if built and funded in the right way – but it’s not imperative to the circuit’s sustainability. In its unique, bull-ring form the circuit has faithfully served the WA motorsport industry for nearly 50 years, and there is nothing to suggest it won’t continue to do so into the foreseeable future.