International events on wish list for revamped QR

Tom Howard

Tuesday 25th July, 2017 - 4:00am

Share:

A render of the new proposed Queensland Raceway layout

One of the aims of the proposed multi-million dollar redevelopment of Queensland Raceway is to attract international events to the circuit in the future.

Ipswich City Council announced plans on Monday for the circuit to undergo a $52.3 million upgrade of the facilities, including a track extension.

The project was confirmed alongside a new 10-year deal for the Ipswich venue to host the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship until 2028.

Council funds have been allocated to make wholesale improvements to the circuit’s safety and spectator facilities, with a sizeable part of the plan being the construction of a new 1.8km section of track, pit buildings and garages.

The new loop will be placed at Turn 6 comprising of two long straights broken up by a tight hairpin and a couple of sweeping left right bends, before the track rejoins the original 3.12km layout.

Completion of the project is expected within the next three years.

A render of the new hairpin and spectator banks

Ipswich Acting Mayor Paul Tully says the redevelopment will see the circuit to become a key player in South East Asia and attract international events to its roster.

“We aim to be the motorsport capital of Australia but we also want to make sure Ipswich is well positioned not only in Australia, but in South East Asia,” Tully told Speedcafe.com.

“We want to be seen as a major player in the future of motorsport.

(Attracting international events) is part of the medium to long term plan.

“We are well positioned. We have an Ipswich Motorsport Park company and we are quite well positioned to make this a reality.

“We are not in the game of making promises that we can’t keep, but we think once this is up and running it will be a major attractor in South East Asia.

“We want this to be seen as a premier track in South East Asia.”

Originally opened in 1999 the circuit, known as the ‘paperclip’ due to its layout, has copped criticism for its design and quality of facilities.

Tully is confident the much needed revamp will enhance the racing experience for spectators and drivers.

“The revised layout will bring the interest back into the track,” he added.

“There has been some commentary about the track (layout) and what I’m told is this, alongside the safety upgrades will make this a premier track.

“Everyone at the moment can see all around the track, but what this will do is it will bring some elements of the track much closer to the spectators.”

While yesterday’s announcement centred around improving Queensland Raceway, Tully says there is scope for improvements to the Willowbank motorsport precinct, which currently houses Willowbank Raceway drag strip and two kart circuits.

Last year Ipswich City Council revealed an ambitious $220 million project including upgrades to the drag strip and the construction of a speedway stadium, motocross circuit and a three-star hotel.

The council is already in discussions to relocate Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway venue to the precinct, and is hopeful other projects can take place alongside the race circuit overhaul.

“That (the plan to upgrade other facilities at Willowbank) is not on the back burner at all,” he added.

“We still have plans. We are in discussions with the Archerfield Speedway for them to relocate to the precinct. Bit by bit there will be continued improvements in the entire precinct.”