The Supercars street circuits that didn’t stand the test of time.
Love ’em or hate ’em, street circuits have revolutionised modern motor racing. Bringing racing to the people, rather than vice versa, temporary venues have changed the landscape more than any other development in the sport’s history here in Australia.
Purists suggest that the government funding that brings them to life should be redirected into permanent circuits. Nice idea, but politicians move in mysterious way. They are motivated by promises of nancial returns or in the very least economic stimulation. And blinded by the lure of glamour and action in a spectacular setting.
The racing game changed in October 1985 when Formula 1 rolled into town for our country’s rst World Championship Grand Prix on our rst modern-era temporary track. The scenic and action-inducing Adelaide Parklands circuit has since spawned many imitators.
Today, the Supercars circus includes races on ‘pop-up’ sites in the South Australian capital, Townville, Gold Coast and, most recently, Newcastle. These current events can all be judged as being successful, regardless of how long they survive into the future.
There have, though, been casualties along the way. Not all attempts have gathered the magic ingredients necessary to create well patronised ‘racing festivals’. Governments may provide the start-up capital, but its sustained income from trackside spectators and corporates – in addition to entertaining racing for TV audiences – that provides longevity. Year one is crucial.
Three not-so sacred sites that failed to crack the code were Canberra, Hamilton and Homebush. The trio all fell by the wayside and provide interesting case studies today for public officials, sports marketing guru and racing fans alike.