Toowoomba track targets August 2016 opening
An ambitious new project for a fresh motor racing circuit, multi-sports and business facility at Wellcamp, near Toowoomba, has targeted an opening date of August 2016.
The project to build the site on a 5000 acre parcel of land adjacent to the $100 million Brisbane Airport West project which is set for a late October grand opening, will be pitched to the Queensland government early next year.
Chairman John Wagner, part of the Toowoomba-based Wagners construction and logistics company, says the granting of government funding will be crucial to its viability.
Already the Wagner company has defied critics who said that the airport project, the first new airport to be build in Australia from a greenfield site since Melbourne’s Tullamarine in 1970, could not materialise.
The 2.87km runway at the airport is 800m longer than the Gold Coast and Townsville and 1km longer than the Sunshine Coast landing strip.
Wagner’s Wellcamp projects are being carved out of a burgeoning economic region in the south-west Queensland corridor.
The area will also see the second Toowoomba range crossing start early next year that, at $1.7 billion, is expected to be the biggest inland road project ever undertaken in Australia.
The new road is expected to cut the travel time between Brisbane and Toowoomba from two hours to less than 90 minutes.
“It will go right past our site and will take three years to complete,” Wagner told Speedcafe.com.
“For the race circuit we are getting our design and costings together, it’s in the planning and design stages.
“We are looking at how we can put a deal together the only way we can make it stack up is to get some government support in some shape or form.”
“If we can pull a deal together we can have it operational by August 2016.
“But I must stress there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before that can happen.”
Engineering and events firm iEDM has begun preliminary work on the site along with former driver V8 Supercars driver Mark Skaife.
“We’ve got good topography and Mark Skaife is saying that we could have a track to rival Bathurst,” said Wagner.
“Multi-use sports facility, driver training, and associated automotive business not dissimilar to what hangs off an airport.
“We will work to world’s best practice and getting the track geometry and design right with the potential to put lights in and that opens us up to a whole different market again.”
As previously reported, Wagner’s Toowoomba facility is one of four greenfield projects that V8 Supercars currently holds memorandums of understanding with.
V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton describes Toowoomba as a strong prospect for the series.
“We’d love nothing better to be there in 2016, (but) I think it’s too early to call that that will happen,” Warburton told Speedcafe.com.
“But the potential that it could is one of the better prospects we’ve had in a long period of time.
“It’s more than pie-in-the-sky stuff. It’s planned out quite significantly. It will be a very distinctive and very interesting track.”
V8 Supercars’ three existing Queensland events in Townsville, the Gold Coast and Ipswich were all locked into new three-year deals at the end of 2013.
Queensland Raceway is currently the test circuit of choice for all four Queensland-based V8 Supercars teams.
A lack of recent investment at the venue has caused headaches for the category, however, and saw V8 Supercars arrange its own tyre barriers to improve safety standards for last weekend’s Coates Hire Ipswich 400.
The temporary barriers, understood to have cost $60,000 to install and remove, have also been kept in place for the Shannons Nationals event this weekend.