DriveIt NQ moves a step closer with release of circuit design

Final draft of the Driveit NQ circuit

Progress on the DriveIt NQ project near Townsville has taken another step forward with imagery of the final draft of the circuit released.

Construction work on the new circuit, approximately 30 minutes out of the North Queensland city, began in August.

That saw 2.5 hectares of highway grade tarmac laid, along with a 300 metre feeder road, designed to accommodate heavy vehicle and rollover prevention training.

With that phase complete, attentions have now turned to finalising the circuit design ahead of construction commencing next year.

“We’re doing some geo tech and finishing the final design,” Pat Driscol, one of the driving forces behind the community-led project, told Speedcafe.com.

“We’ve done all the preliminary run off calculations and all of that to make sure that it is going to meet the criteria for Motorsport Australia and FIA moving forward.

“We’re basically going to probably turn dirt on that after the wet season because you lose a lot of time in the wet up here.

“February’s the wettest month,” he added.

“January and March are kind of wet but by the end of March/April, we’re usually over the worst of it.

“We reckon by the end of March we’ll be turning soil.”

In September the project received a substantial boost courtesy of the Queensland Sate Government investing $10 million.

That money will cover the construction of a drag strip, which will be designed in parallel with the circuit itself.

The imagery of the circuit released shows the basic 2.5 kilometre configuration at final draft stage.

Running clockwise, it includes a 662 metre run from the final corner to the first, which is predicted to have an apex speed of 108 km/h.

Approach speeds are expected to be close to 300 km/h, given cars are not expected to brake to negotiate the chicane leading onto the pit straight.

“You’ve got those first three constant radius corners which, obviously if you’re racing, allow various lines,” Driscol reasoned.

“Then you’ve got a technical section between three, four, five, six, and then you’ve got that right-hander at seven onto the big sweeping turn eight.

“Then you’ve got a solid braking point there into nine, and it opens up a bit into 10, and then you’ve got the little wiggle onto the straight.

“You’re on constant acceleration, or feather throttle the through there,” he added.

“You’re not having to dive for brakes in Turn 11 and 12; you’re feathering or accelerating largely.

“Then the pit entry will come out at turn 11, so as you come out at 10, you’re both on the racing line and one car can go into the pits and the other car, there’s no speed differential on pit entry, which is really good.”

It’s hoped the circuit will help produce good racing, but is just the first part of a three-part design with additional loops to be added later.

“The way I see it, you’re not going to just be able to go flat out like a banked speedway; you’re actually going to have to drive it, and you’re going to have options to work traffic,” Driscol said.

“Down into turn three there, that’s a little bit of a downhill into there, so it’s going to be quite interesting under brakes.

“Between turn three and four is where one of the loops comes off, and between six and seven is where the other loop comes off.

“That turn eight, you’re looking at a speed of 202 km/h through turn eight; it’s a 189 meter radius corner.

“That’s going to load the right-hand side tires right up which is going to really even up your tire wear if you had a level one event.”

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