With the motorsport world on hold, and travel bans in place for Australia and New Zealand, you might be forgiven for contemplating a future escape.
Speedcafe.com has worked to develop a list of dream places, events and experiences for fans of motorsport and motoring for you to tick off your Bucket List.
NORWELL MOTORPLEX: Norwell, Queensland
When looking for that first ‘escape’ from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, a trip to the Norwell Motorplex will kill two birds with one stone.
Not only do you get to unwind on Queensland’s fantastic Gold Coast, but you also get to blow out some cobwebs and improve your driving skills at the same time at the Norwell Motorplex.
Originally regarded as one of Australia’s leading driver training facilities after being opened in 1990 by Australian motorsport legend Frank Gardner, the Norwell Motorplex is now a playground for adrenaline junkies as well as an educational hub.
The facility is now owned and operated by renowned touring car ace Paul Morris, who is hands-on with every aspect of the operation.
The foundation of the ‘entertainment’ side of the business is the Supercars Official Driving Experience, which is exclusive to Norwell.
You can get behind the wheel yourself or have the ride of a lifetime with one of Norwell’s on-site professional race drivers.
The V8-powered race cars are prepared in-house by resident engineers that have been working in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship paddock for years.
The experiences start at AUD 179 for a three-lap ride-along and for just another AUD 56 you can drive three laps with full professional tuition.
There are several other packages on offer, including the Superstreet package which allows you to drive 10 laps and then be taken for two hot laps. For an extra AUD 45, you can get a USB stick with full video and data readout from your laps.
There is a pool of Ford and Holden Supercars which come in the colours of current teams and the instructor group includes current and former Supercar drivers, even Morris himself, the 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner.
Norwell’s new 4×4 Jeep Experience is conducted at a slower pace but gets the heart racing for just AUD 120.
A detailed trail has been established that provides customers with the chance to learn how to ascend and descend steep slopes, rough terrain, muddy holes and forest walls.
Each obstacle has a different level of difficulty making it suitable for both beginners and experienced drivers and instruction is provided by CB radio.
In recent times Morris has put all his knowledge and expertise into the development of his own driving academy which employs Steve ‘Robbo’ Robinson as its Head instructor.
Famously known as the ‘Driver Whisperer’, Robinson raced for more than 10 years on tracks around Australia before concentrating on the fundamentals of the craft.
The basis of the race driving journey is a AUD 700 two-hour session where Robinson can work on the absolute basics with a novice or fine-tune the skills of a current Supercars star.
Sessions are conducted in a fleet of Toyota 86 race cars with manual or paddle-shift transmissions.
Drivers are taught the basics like vision, steering, balance and braking as well as car control on the school’s wet/dry skidpan.
All sessions are recorded alongside experienced coaches who provide data analysis and interpretation at different stages of the lessons, including a full summary at the end.
While there is a lot of emphasis on speed at Norwell, there is also focus on the foundations on which the facility was established, driver education.
There is a range of programs that can be adapted for individuals or small or large groups where everyone will be taught how to be a better driver for everyday roads.
The Drive Active Programs are operated in conjunction with one of Australia’s most experienced driver training operations, Driver Safety Australia, which is owned by Australia’s foremost driver safety expert, Russell White.
Learner driver courses start from AUD 99 and continue with the Drive Active (AUD 395) and Drive Active Plus (AUD 495) programs which are full-day courses that include both classroom and practical training.
The programs are for drivers of all ages to improve their skills and prepare for unexpected situations that can present themselves, whether city driving, highway driving or out on the open road.
They are designed for those with recently licensed youngsters or the entire family to improve their driving skills and awareness.
Russell has developed the programs based on the latest road safety and human factors research. These state of the art programs focus on driving technique and developing the drivers ‘sixth sense’.
So if you are looking to improve your skills, or just keen on having some seriously fast fun, then Norwell Motorplex has you covered.
|Address||75 Norwell Road, Norwell, Queensland, 4208|
|How to get there||Norwell Motorplex is located halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast on the Easter-side of the M1 freeway. You can fly into either Brisbane or Coolangatta airports.|
|Opening Hours & Tickets||Mon-Sat: 8.30am to 5pmClosed Christmas Day|
|Phone||+61 7 5546 1366|
|Additional tip||Group bookings and corporate events can be arranged outside of normal office hours.|