Big money gives the track an­other 10 years, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

THE V8 Su­per­car rac­ing event at Sandown is safe for at least 10 years af­ter a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar makeover at the sub­ur­ban Mel­bourne track.

A new pit com­plex, im­proved safety and a smoother track are all part of a new deal be­tween the Mel­bourne Rac­ing Club and V8 Su­per­cars Aus­tralia.

It’s al­ready been cel­e­brated by two of the most fa­mous fam­i­lies in Aus­tralian motorsport, the Mof­fats and the John­sons, who were on hand to see early de­mo­li­tion work on the pit com­plex.

The new deal pro­tects Sandown. Since the loss of Oran Park in Syd­ney it is the old­est per­ma­nent race­track in Aus­tralia and one of the few any­where in the world in a ma­jor metropoli­tan area.

It has even been given ‘‘her­itage’’ sta­tus by V8 Su­per­cars Aus­tralia ahead of its leg of this year’s cham­pi­onship, from Novem­ber 19-21.

V8 Su­per­car spokesman Cole Hitch­cock says: ‘‘This is the 50th year of the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship, so it’s sig­nif­i­cant that the Sandown tra­di­tion con­tin­ues.

‘‘It’s a le­gendary track and the V8 Su­per­car race meet­ing will re­flect that, with his­toric cars, the leg­ends of Sandown, mem­o­ra­bilia dis­plays and in­ter­ac­tive re­flec­tions on the his­tory of the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship.’’

Mel­bourne Rac­ing Club’s Sandown Race­way man­ager Wade Calder­wood says motorsport is embed­ded in the his­tory of the venue.

V8 Su­per­cars CEO Martin Whittaker is de­lighted the tra­di­tion con- tin­ues and says: ‘‘ Some of the great­est mo­ments in Aus­tralian motorsport his­tory have taken place at Sandown and this great cir­cuit has hosted the greats of the sport, from Stirling Moss to Jamie Whin­cup.’’

Sandown was opened in 1962 and has hosted six grand prix races and 40 Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship events since 1965.

The up­grades will also ben­e­fit other mo­tor­ing users of the Sandown fa­cil­i­ties, which range from the V8 Race Track days to pub­lic driv­ing cour­ses for Mur­cotts.

In the fam­ily: (from left) Dick and Steve John­son and James and Al­lan Mof­fat at Sandown, where the fa­thers forged their V8 rep­u­ta­tions and the sons have a chance to do the same. Pic­ture: Dar­ren McNamara

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