The all-new Bend Motorsport Park hosted its first competitive race meeting over the weekend with the Shannons Nationals heading to the South Australian venue for the first time, and Speedcafe.com wants to know what you think.
Built by Sam Shahin, the circuit uses ground that was once Mitsuibishi’s testing facility, just outside of Tailem Bend, a little over an hour from Adelaide.
It boasts a number of configurations, with the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship set to use the 4.95km International variation.
The only category to have used the full, 7.77km ‘GT’ layout is Australian GT, though it switched to the shorter track midway through its race weekend when dust storms reduced visibility across the back section of the track.
Feedback from the drivers was typically positive. Jamie Whincup sampled the track during a test session on Thursday, and quickly demonstrated what everyone else had mentioned; there’s little grip on the sandy surface.
As the weekend wore on the track surface improved and encouraged good racing, and caught out a number of drivers.
But while the track itself seems to have been well received, it’s not without its problems.
It’s dusty, and while a heavy planting project has taken place the dry fields and exposed landscape, coupled with winds, will perennially keep the issue of dust out of the hands of the circuit officials.
Above pit lane is a hotel, though with limited rooms and very little accommodation in Tailem Bend, visitors are, at least in the short term, facing a drive at least back into the outskirts of the Adelaide hills.
For fans, the good news is there are grandstands with three at the first corner, one on the approach to the penultimate corner, and another planned opposite the pit complex.
Thus far, it has hosted just one weekend of racing, but it’s provided an indication of what we can expect in future.
“I am just the proudest man alive, this is just a dream come true,” said Shahin of the inaugural race weekend at the circuit.
“This venue will get better, we will get better, we’ve learned plenty how to make this a better place.”
Is The Bend Motorsport Park an asset to Australian motorsport that has set the standard for all other circuits, or has it been overhyped? Are you yet to be convinced, or will the true picture only become clear once the circuit matures over the coming years?
Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.