New circuit a step closer with unanimous council approval
By Mat Coch
Thursday 20th August, 2020 - 3:15pm
Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Park has taken a step closer to reality after its was approved to begin work on the pit complex and race track.
Given an overarching approval late last year, on Monday the council unanimously agreed to the ‘Stage 1’ application made by the team behind the new venue.
That allows detailed design work to begin on the pit complex and racing circuit ahead of ground being broken.
“In December the Development Plan was approved, which is the framework for the entire complex, and then on Monday night council approved out Stage 1 permit,” Felicity Richardson, Chief Operations Officer of Podium 1, which is behind the project, told Speedcafe.com.
“Due to the complexities of a planning permit for a race track we split it up into different stages for permits, which helps the pressure on our consultants and different teams.
“So the first stage permit is for the motor racing circuit and pit building.
“While we’re doing detailed design works to kick off infrastructure and civil work onsite, the second planning permit that we’re applying for will be for the remaining facilities, excluding the shooting club.”
The circuit will be located across three plots of land to the south-east of the Melbourne CBD, currently the site of Pakenham Auto Club’s motorkhana track.
It’s a location that has been earmarked for development into a motor racing venue for the better part of a decade, leaving Richardson to describe Monday night’s council decision as an “historic moment”.
Once complete, the venue will boast a 3.6 kilometre FIA Grade 2/FIM Grade B facility, with work now underway to ensure design work achieves the desired homologation standards.
The approved pit complex will house 33 garages and accommodate Race Control, briefing room, office, welcome centre, amenities, an ancillary medical centre, together with a hospitality area and viewing platform.
It’s hoped construction will be able to begin in 2021, allowing for time to complete the necessary design work now required to progress the project.
“There is still a bit of work to go into it,” Richardson said.
“Detailed design work and then satisfying all of the planning permit conditions that are required before we can get a building permit to start onsite.
“So there is a few different things, and especially because it is a race track there is the homologation side of it also that is underway at the moment as well, so that is ensuring the layout suits the FIA and FIM gradings that we’re achieving.
“Obviously you don’t want to build the circuit and then realise that it doesn’t suit the grade, and you have to go rip up tarmac and rebuild, so we’re doing all that first and foremost and ensuring the designs suit the grading that we require.
“Then we’ll go on to getting building permits and breaking ground on site,” she added.
“That in itself, that process is looking like it will take six to 12 months.
“In the background, simultaneously, we’ll be applying for Stage 2 and 3 permits, and the intention is that when we’re breaking ground it will be to building the entire compels, so all three permits at once.”