Victorian plan for new ‘Home of Motorsport’

The Victorian Motorsport Infrastructure and Participation Strategy Overview aims to increase participation in motorsport across the state.

A new ‘Home of Motorsport’ is one of the key recommendations of the Victorian Motorsport Infrastructure and Participation Strategy Overview to cater for growing demand for participation.

Supported by the Victorian State Government, the completed document was made public today and, according to Motorsport Australia, is the result of ‘a forensic look into the current state of the sport and what opportunities lie ahead to help grow all forms of motorsport’ over the next decade.

“We are thrilled with the release of the Victorian Motorsport Infrastructure and Participation Strategy Overview and see it as a very important step in preparing for motorsport’s future in this state,” said Motorsport Australia CEO, Eugene Arocca.

“We are extremely grateful for the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to motorsport and for its support in preparing this Strategy.

“This Strategy clearly defines what the sport needs in Victoria and how the sport, across all disciplines, can grow further.”

Read the complete overview document here.

The key objective of the Overview’s recommendations is to “increase the number of formal Motorsport Participants who participate: (i) two or more times per year, and (ii) in a safe and inclusive environment”.

That includes a new ‘Home of Motorsport’, which according to the announcement is to combat the “limited capacity to hold motorsport events in Victoria, threatening all levels of participation across the state”.

With Sandown Raceway in Melbourne’s southeast under threat from urban sprawl, despite the return of the Supercars Sandown 500 in its traditional pre-Bathurst slot for 2023, and Winton Raceway’s significant distance from Melbourne, the Overview suggest that fostering participation in motor sport in Victoria demands additional facilities.

Page 5 of the Overview says:

“The future supply of venues is uncertain as facilities become at-risk of closure and prospective new facilities enter the pipeline. There are significant barriers to participation across key target demographics (women, girls, juniors and other under-represented groups), which require an effective and coordinated response to overcome.”

That includes a new venue, which Speedcafe understands is a facility to the southwest of the Melbourne CBD at Avalon.

Additionally, Rodney Jane, owner of Calder Park, north of Melbourne, has spoken of a revitalisation of which is also in relatively close proximity to the CBD, in contrast to the Overview’s figure of 99.2km as the average distance travelled to a venue. That figure would be impacted by both Winton Raceway (223km north) and Phillip Island’s (139km south) distances from Melbourne.

This is significant given that nearly 80 percent of Victoria’s population – some 4.9 million people – live in the capital city area of Greater Melbourne, according to 2021 Australian Census (Australian Bureau of Statistics).

The Overview’s profile of participants said that 32 percent of the 28,822 participants in motor sport compete at a Club level, shaded only marginally by State level participation at 34 percent.

Current barriers to participation include the cost of motorsport, limited pathways for juniors, a lack of diversity as well as facilities that do not cater for multiple disciplines.

The Overview recommends that a new ‘Home of Motorsport’, therefore, must be ‘a multi-disciplinary motorsport precinct that seeks to address some of the key infrastructure and participation challenges faced by the industry.”

The next steps, the Overview says, are site confirmation prior to ‘Planning and design for the new facility, supported by Victorian Government funding’.

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