Symmons Plains layout untouched by upgrades

Tuesday 12th August, 2014 - 4:00am

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The V8 Supercars make the run into Symmons Plains' iconic hairpin

The V8 Supercars make the run into Symmons Plains’ iconic hairpin

The current 2.41km Symmons Plains Raceway track layout will remain unchanged amid the government funded upgrades scheduled to take place over the coming years.

The Tasmanian state government at the weekend confirmed a $2 million investment in the facility alongside a new five-year, $4.125 million, contract to retain its V8 Supercars Championship event.

The monies have been slated primarily for safety upgrades that will ensure the circuit complies with increasingly strict FIA standards.

Track owner Motorsports Tasmania continues to harbour desires to one day extend what is currently the equal shortest circuit on the V8 calendar, but will likely have to wait at least five years to make a play for the signifiant funding required.

“We have looked at some concepts for extending the length of the track utilising some land that we purchased to the south of the (Turn 4) hairpin,” MT general manager Dick Caplice told Speedcafe.com..

“(But) V8s have made it quite plain that they don’t see a need to change the track layout to have exciting events.

“We accept that they know where they want to go with their circuits and we would be relying on (government) assistance to do that (an extension).

“That assistance isn’t available at the moment and we have to be understanding of that.

“It would be a longer term vision for us to extend or alter the configuration of the track, but that’s not something that’s in the plans for this five-year period.”

Details of the safety and facilities upgrades set to be rolled out over the next three to four years will be solidified during upcoming meetings between the circuit, CAMS and V8 Supercars.

Replacing the circuit’s remaining tyre walls with “concrete or more permanent barriers” and installing catch fencing in key areas will be the main focus of the upgrades.

According to Caplice, the catch fencing will likely be installed in front of the main spectator area between Turns 2 and 3 and could also be seen in the final 200m before the Turn 4 hairpin.

Caplice insists, however, that the mesh will not diminish the view for the public.

“Because of the angle of the catch-fence it is basically a front-on view, so you’re not going to get the loss of vision associated with oblique angle fencing,” he said of the likely Turn 2-3 fencing.

“It’s certainly a concern I have in some parts of the track that if you put fencing in areas there may be angles where it blocks the view.

“I’m very comfortable that in that area our spectators won’t miss out at all on a clear vision of the track.”

Paddock upgrades are also slated and are expected to boost the circuit’s attractiveness to V8 Supercars support categories, as well as expand its capacity for other activities and events.

“We’re very keen also to get a more permanent hard stand (in the support paddock), which will help us attract better support categories for the V8 event,” he said.

“If we are able to get that it will have quite positive capacity for skid pan and driving training.

“I’ve also been talking with the people from the Shannons (Nationals) series and they’ve expressed an interest in coming back next year and we’re looking at a bike event as well,” he added.

“We are always looking at what other events we can attract to the state.”

This year’s Tyrepower Tasmania 400 saw the V8 Supercars supported by the Aussie Racing Car series, plus local Sports GT and HQ Holden classes.

A Shannons Nationals meeting has not been held at the venue since 2010.

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