Construction work on a new motorsport complex to the south of Melbourne is set to begin next year after the project was granted the necessary development approvals.
Cardinia Shire Council last night approved development applications on lots in Pakenham meaning, save final design work, there are no barriers to construction commencing on the new circuit.
“So it’s all three lots, which are located at 335 McGregor Road and Packenham,” project spokesperson Felicity Richardson told Speedcafe.com when asked about the approval.
“One of the lots is becoming a motor recreation education park and then the other two lots, they’re two local clubs.
“One is the Pakenham Motor Club and the other one is the Koo Wee Rup Motorcycle Club, so altogether it’s really going to a motor sports and sporting hub of Victoria, which is really exciting.
“Now that that’s approved, we can work on the detailed design of each precinct within the development plan, which will enable us to commence construction.”
The final complex will see a circuit to the same FIA Grade as Brands Hatch in the UK, Zandvoort (prior to being upgraded for F1) in the Netherlands, and Watkins Glen in the United States.
Locally, it will see the venue on par with Sydney Motorsport Park and The Bend as FIA Grade 2 circuits.
The precinct will also include facilities for clay pigeon shooting, indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, as well as public meeting spaces and hospitality offices.
Initial plans for the privately funded facility also include a rallycross circuit, a 900m CIK Category A kart track, an education and training complex and a 70 room hotel.
It’s hoped construction will begin towards the end of the first quarter of 2020, though the second quarter is a more realistic target.
“We’ll still work on the detailed design, but now that the development plan is approved, it’s basically an approval for all the precincts we proposed at the start,” Richardson added.
“We’re not far away now from starting construction, which is very exciting. It’s been a long process, couple of years we’ve been working on it, so it’s really good.
“(There’s) Probably a few more months left of finalizing the design work and then construction’s estimated to take about two years, so we’re hoping (to open in) late 2022,” Richardson said.
“So we’re working with consultants, mainly Apex Circuit Design.
“They are doing the Bathurst upgrade and a few other projects in Australia at the moment as well.
“So working with them and the FIA/FIM to receive the grading on the circuit, to finalizing the circuit design, finalizing the building design with a local architect, and also a hotel consultant as well because it’s a hotel on the site.”
Initial plans for the venue emerged in 2018, and were assessed by Cardinia Shire Council earlier this year ahead of approval being granted on Monday.