The Bend undergoes final prep for Supercars

Tom Howard

Thursday 16th August, 2018 - 6:00am

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Extra grandstands are being built along pit straight at The Bend Motorsport Park

The Bend Motorsport Park is in its final stage of preparations as it finalises the construction of extra grandstands ahead of Supercars’ inaugural OTR SuperSprint next weekend.

Work to ensure the new state-of-the-art 110 million venue is ready for its biggest meeting to date is in full swing with the installation of permanent and temporary grandstands among the last items to be completed.

The circuit has been forced to add further seating to cater for an increased demand from spectators.

Grandstands have been installed along pit straight and at Turns 1, 17 and 18 of the track’s 4.95km International layout which will be used for Supercars.

Supercars’ visit to The Bend has been touted as the official christening of the track, which only held its first motor racing event in April courtesy of the Shannons Nationals.

The Bend hosted Australian GT in April

Since then it has hosted a combined Asia Road Racing Championship and Australian Superbike Championship event, a state racing meeting and test days.

Circuit owner Sam Shahin says preparations have been underway ever since the Shannons Nationals meeting and has been pleased by the interest from fans.

“We have installed some permanent grandstands for the circuit, but we have bumped in some temporary grandstands along Pit Straight just due to the high level of demand we’ve had for access for grandstand seating,” Shahin told Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve increased the permanent grandstands at Turn 1 and we’ve installed a permanent grandstand at Turn 17, and another grandstand at Turn 18.

“This offers a great vantage point for a very exciting part of the track; almost the latter third of the track where the fast and flowing section out of turns 14, 15, 16, into an overtaking spot and looks straight down Pit Straight.

“We’ve been preparing for the events for a few months, it hasn’t been a few weeks, so everything we’ve designed and set up has been in preparation for the Supercars event.

“Other than grandstands and some additional barriers in some areas, the track is in tip top shape for the Supercars event.

“It’s been very positive and very encouraging. The support has been, so far, tremendous.”

Shahin is confident his creation is ready to host Supercars but admits to being both excited and nervous a week out from the event.

“We had the opportunity over the last few months to fine tune the circuit systems and our processes to support a big event,” he added.

“I’m excited, nervous, and very much looking forward to what should be a wonderful event in 10 days time.

“There is always plenty to do in the lead up to an event, It’s like any event.

The Bend’s International Circuit configuration

“I’m a perfectionist. I’m almost living at Tailem Bend.

“I’m just as concerned with every system to support the event as I am with making sure the circuit is presented with its best suit on for the event. It’s a wonderful, wonderful world-class facility and I cannot wait.”

Anticipation among drivers, teams and fans is growing ahead of the event which is set to offer a level playing field given Supercars and the majority of the grid are yet to race at the venue.

Only David Reynolds, Garth Tander and Shane van Gisbergen have raced the track after making appearances during an Australian GT round in April.

Jamie Whincup and Nick Percat are among a group of drivers that have at least driven the track in other machinery.

With the majority of the grid yet to experience the facility Shahin is expecting a pair of fascinating Supercars races.

“I’ll expecting the most exciting round so far this year,” he added.

“Racing this year has been tremendous. It’s been some very close and very high quality racing, and this is absolutely our forte.

“This circuit will reward great drivers and great driving.”

Today the circuit is hosting a test day for support categories with Supercars driver Todd Hazelwood among those watching from the sidelines hoping to gather information for next week.

The OTR SuperSprint will be held from August 24-26.

VIDEO: Join Jamie Whincup for a lap of The Bend Motorsport Park

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