To­day and to­mor­row

Australian Muscle Car - - Sacred Sites -

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.

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