big news of the 1974 off-season was that Liverpool Speedway was about to change to a hard surface for the next summer’s racing. Also in the plans was the construction of a fullycovered grandstand with enclosed restaurant, VIP lounge and three-storey control tower, a series of renovations that would increase capacity to 35,000 spectators. The grandstand complex never happened but by the start of the 1974/1975 season the Liverpool track was given a layer of hot mix. It was still the same shape and length – about a quarter-mile around – but the some extra banking on the corners increased speeds dramatically. Some say lap times decreased by at least 30 per cent in one year.
The new track attracted a new generation of racecars, making it the most exciting category ever seen on an Australian speedway. These cars were initially called Late Models, then Grand Nationals. Driving them was a new generation of racers, also of the muscular variety.
The cars were initially based around Australian muscle cars, featuring full-race motors and a minimum of bar work. Formula 5000 race tyres were used, with the 350 Chev the dominant powerplant, usually fuel-injected and sometimes supercharged. There were also some potent Falcon Superbirds racing and some very fast XU-1 and SL/R 5000 Toranas. Man, were these cars quick.
To mark this new era the track was now called Liverpool City Raceway. The annual tour by the American sedan team was the highlight of the summer, with massive TV promotion – Be There! – and capacity crowds.
Sadly, this situation didn’t last long. Eventually the Grand Nationals became so expensive that few locals could afford to compete. Meanwhile, across town the new Parramatta City Raceway was up and running, specially designed for Sprintcars with its tacky clay surface. It soon became the next big thing.
Liverpool began to fade out around 1980 and soon after the asphalt was replaced with clay. The speedway was sold for development in the late 1980s and is now the site of a large suburban shopping centre.