DriveIt NQ call for QLD Government investment in new circuit
By Mat Coch
Saturday 12th September, 2020 - 2:17pm
The driving force behind the DriveIt NQ project in Townsville has called on the Queensland State Government to chip into the venue.
Construction on the all-new circuit has begun with groundwork for a skid pan and access rounds having commenced last month.
Those works are ahead of schedule and are set to be followed by construction of the racing surface itself.
Helping the project along is a $12 million investment from the Federal Government, while the Local Government has contributed courtesy of a peppercorn lease on a 300 ha parcel of land.
“The (Federal Government) have put in $12 million, we want $12 (million) from the State,” DriveIt NQ Director Pat Driscoll told Speedcafe.com.
“Council have given us the land and to give the State their due they have contributed towards some road infrastructure, which is needed to help make it work, and the council is the same.
“But we want buy-in from the state because we firmly believe (it’s important to have) all three levels of government investing in a piece of infrastructure like this, which is a publicly owned not for profit, so the facility belongs to the community, it’s run by the community for the community.
“None of us have taken once cent of payment out of the whole thing,” he added.
“We’ve done it all because we believe in it.”
Driscoll reasoned the Queensland State Government should invest as the project offers a strong return on investment through the injection it would offer the local economy, with the added bonus of job creation.
“This is about the lowest hanging fruit they’re going to get,” Driscoll said.
“For $12 million they’re gong to buy $35 million of economic benefit for Townsville.
“That’s a good (return on investment) no matter which way you look at it.
“It’s not a business profit, it’s an economic benefit and government’s need to invest in economic benefit,” he added.
“The Federal Government has, the local government has, and I think there’s room for the state to step in.
“We need jobs up here. We need the jobs that it’s going to create to build it and we need the jobs that are going to be there when it is built; we’re looking at 150 full time equivalent jobs. The city needs it.”
The project has motorsport luminaries Paul Morris and Roland Dane helping, with the former engaged as a Director.
“When you’ve got guys like (Roland Dane), whose race team has been involved in racing all over the world, and so too Paul – Paul’s one of our directors – when you’ve got those guys in your corner giving you the benefit of their experience, it’s very valuable,” Driscoll said.
“It’s the sort of thing that, if you sat down and had to pay a consultant for, you’d send yourself broke trying to get the first corner.”
Their input has seen the design of a venue that will cater to all forms of motorpsort, and potentially hold mixed events once completed.
Down the track it could even look at Supercars events, though Driscoll is not getting ahead of himself just yet.
“We could certainly do that, it’s a case of how the business case stacks up,” he admitted.
“We can’t think too far ahead of the marketing and all of that. All we’re trying to do at the moment is build a facility that has the foundations that we can add infrastructure to it, rather than take it away and do something else.
“So we’re putting all our money into making sure the racing surfaces are good, that we’ve master planned the entire layout.
“We’ve designed everything, we’ve surveyed the whole site, geo-tested the whole site, so we’re doing a lot of good things to make sure that as we develop we don’t paint ourselves into a corner.
“We’re catering to all types of motorsports, and that’s the thing,” he added.
“Driver education, track days, so the intention is to build it with no gravel traps.
“We’ll have fences. We’re catering for cars and bikes so there will be places where we’ll need air fences.
“On Roland’s suggestion, we’ll make sure we can run mixed meetings by having a place to store the air fences for the car events.”
The finalised circuit design is expected later this month with the current construction phase scheduled to be completed by the end of November.