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