Saturday 23 February 2019: Today’s announcement by the NSW Government of a strategic multi-million-dollar investment at Sydney Motorsport Park in permanent circuit lighting and the establishment of Australia’s only Motor Sports Centre of Excellence has been overwhelmingly welcomed by the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC) - operators of Sydney Motorsport Park since 1997.
The news is part of an all-encompassing $33M package of Government initiatives for the broader Western Sydney motorsport precinct, which also includes work to find a new operations site for Motorcycling NSW and improvements to the adjacent Sydney Dragway.
ARDC President Andrew Leithhead commented “The ARDC views this additional Government investment in Sydney Motorsport Park as an important continuation of the Club’s long-standing commitment to excellence within the Australian motorsport industry.”
The ARDC has a proven record of co-investing with Government in the SMSP venue. In just the last 8 years well over $23M has been invested back into the Park, with the not-for-profit ARDC contributing over $16M of its own funds, combined with a 2012 Government contribution of $7M towards the new Brabham circuit extension. Each year the ARDC invests well over $1M in track maintenance and development, and this is set to continue and grow.
“The ARDC projects a 40% increase in access capacity at the perennially booked-out Government venue.
A newly expanded SMSP calendar allows for strong increases in the level of innovative high-demand Tier 1 motorsport events headlined by the Supercars Championship night racing and other major events.
“This is a great step forward in our plans for Sydney,” said Sean Seamer (Supercars CEO).
“The 2018 night race was a fantastic proof of concept and since then, Glenn Matthews and his team have done a wonderful job to secure these significant upgrades which will establish Sydney Motorsport Park as an elite, 24/7 motorsport facility. We look forward to the SuperNight format returning in 2020 and moving on to the second phase of our partnership with the ARDC and NSW Government, which is to establish a Supercars team in Sydney, based at SMSP.” Seamer added.
Seamer said a Sydney-based team would have the advantage of calling the booming western corridor home along with the premium facilities offered at Sydney Motorsport Park.
“A Sydney franchise would have premium facilities on their doorstep,” he said.
“This initiative will provide a manufacturer, team and their partners with immediate access to an international race track, premium function facilities for major corporate events, vehicle launches, drive days, vehicle appreciation sessions, product R&D and conferences.
“This also provides the catalyst to link Supercars’ technology, education and training with Western Sydney’s strong tertiary education and engineering communities.
“A Sydney-based team will also have the growing greater Western Sydney community as a support base given the huge number of Supercars fans in the western corridor of Australia’s largest city.” Seamer said.
“It’s also a lot more than just expanding traditional motorsport activity at the track.” Leithhead continued.
“Circuit lighting now opens the doors for substantial opportunities to further grow the Western Sydney night economy, local tourism, as well as significantly expanding the existing on-site programs targeting performance engineering education and training, innovation and technology development. Investments such as these can only further leverage major game-changing infrastructure projects such as the Western Sydney Airport to deliver more jobs, investment and visitors to Western Sydney and help ensure Sydney Motorsport Park builds on its reputation as Australia’s number one motorsport venue.” Leithhead added.
The ARDC delivers year-round events which attract 330,000 visitors p.a. and includes over 35 major events and multiple grassroots racing and car club events annually, plus many school and community events from across Greater Sydney. For the past two years, the not-for-profit ARDC has also been developing plans and engaging with leaders across the motorsport, skills and education, government and private sector industries both here and abroad to capitalise on the opportunities that exist within the SMSP site and broader Western Sydney area - one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
SMSP is already the new permanent home to motoDNA TECHNOLOGY, the research and development division of the motoDNA Group as part of the ARDC’s emerging SMSP Motorsport Institute and Innovation Hub. motoDNA TECHNOLOGY utilises its close association with the ARDC and immediate access to the circuit to rapidly advance its developments in the areas of rider safety research and technology which it recently embarked upon in conjunction with Yamaha Australia.
ARDC CEO Glenn Matthews noted “We have a long-held, strong working relationship with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. The location of the new Motor Sports Centre of Excellence at Sydney Motorsport Park is fantastic, and we certainly don’t underestimate the opportunities that will arise from working more closely with CAMS and key industry partners such as Supercars.”
“It’s important that together we have been able to break the dominance of Melbourne and the Gold Coast as the sole location of technical development in Australia. The new Centre of Excellence is a standout example of the high regard the NSW Government, CAMS, Supercars and other key players hold both the venue, and the ARDC Club”. Matthews added
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN RACING DRIVERS’ CLUB (ARDC)
The Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, known as the ARDC, has promoted motorsport in NSW for over 67 years. Commencing in 1952 at Parramatta Park, the ARDC has conducted events for cars and motorcycles at Mount Panorama Bathurst, Mt Druitt, Castlereagh, Catalina Park Katoomba, Amaroo Park and at its current home, Sydney Motorsport Park in the booming suburbs of Western Sydney.
The goal of the ARDC is to create a world-class motorsport park in the heart of Australia’s global city – Sydney. As official operators & custodians of Sydney Motorsport Park for over 20 years, the ARDC continually looks to build and enhance the venue’s reputation as Australia’s true Home of Motorsport.
Over recent years the ARDC has continued to build on its long-standing vision and business plan for Sydney Motorsport Park. This new master plan and vision describes the development of a highly engaging motorsport precinct and destination, with a range of world-class events, driving/riding experiences (concepts and categories), excellence in driver education and training, public “motortainment”, motorsport/auto support services and business park.
ABOUT SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK
Sydney Motorsport Park (originally known as Eastern Creek International Raceway) was officially opened in 1990 and is owned by the NSW Government. It has been operated by the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC) since 1997.
It is Sydney’s only permanent race track, and one of just two permanent race circuits in Australia that holds a FIA/FIM Grade 2 International Licence. The purpose-built 92ha motorsport facility west of Sydney features four race circuit configurations to suit a number of motorsport activities; the Brabham Circuit, Gardner GP, Druitt (North) and Amaroo (South), along with the Skid Circuit.
The North Paddock boasts fifty garages lining pit lane, offering easy access for transporters and a secure base for cars, bikes, equipment and personnel. The support paddock has a bitumen surface, a dummy grid for fifty cars, multiple carports and a scrutineering building. Sydney Motorsport Park is also Sydney’s main hub for driver safety, education and vehicle testing. To accommodate these activities, the venue features Sydney’s largest purpose-build, floodable Skidpan, and a separate Figure 8.
ABOUT SMSP MOTORSPORT INSTITUTE AND INNOVATION HUB.
Modelled off the United Kingdom’s Silverstone Park’s University Technical College (UTC) and Innovation Centre, the ability to co-locate with the auto industry, technical education and exhibition sectors will enable SMSP to become home to cutting-edge employment and education programs and increase its appeal as an attractive and highly unique events venue.