Melbourne ‘Super Circuit’ to be announced

Victoria’s new ‘Home of Motorsport’ is intended to foster participation in motorsport. Image: Ross Gibb Photography.

The new ‘Home of Motorsport’ for Victoria will be announced this week as design work begins on a government-backed ‘super circuit’ outside Melbourne.

Confirmation of the go-ahead will be the first phase of a plan to establish a multi-purpose motorsport complex alongside Avalon airport to the southwest of the city.

A high-profile project manager has already been appointed and a seven-figure budget allocated to initial planning and design.

Speedcafe has learned that the Victoria Government has scheduled an announcement within the next few days of funding for preliminary planning of the project, including track design.

An international-standard car and motorcycle racing circuit will be centrepiece of a proposed multi-use motorsport hub, driver training facility and automotive test centre.

If approved, it’s understood the track will be targeted to be ready by 2026, most likely hosting a Supercars championship event soon after beginning operation.

Located between Melbourne and Geelong just off the Princes Freeway, it would be built on land adjoining Avalon Airport, second gateway to the Melbourne area.

The airport is operated by Linfox, which also owns the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, home of the Australian Motorcycle GP.

Costing up to $250 million, the proposed Avalon motor sport complex would be backed by the state government in a long-term public/private partnership likely to include Linfox to realise the full scope of the project.

Dubbed the ‘Home of Motorsport’ by Motorsport Australia, which has been in talks with Victoria’s ruling Labor government for several years to establish a world-class car and motorcycle racing track close to Melbourne, the new track would replace Sandown and provide much-needed capacity for competitors in the state.

As well as restrictions on its use, Sandown in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs is under threat of residential redevelopment while rural tracks Winton and Phillip Island are at capacity.

The proposed circuit at Avalon – 50km from Melbourne and 15km from Geelong, Victoria’s second largest city – will be a multi-track layout with the main course of between four and five kilometres.

It will be designed to FIA Grade 1 standard – and the equivalent FIM level – to host major international car and motorcycle events.

The full-facility track won’t be a threat to Albert Park to host the F1 Australian GP, locked in at the inner Melbourne semi-street course through 2035, but it could be an alternative to Phillip Island for MotoGP.

It would be a natural to take over Supercars’ 500km pre-Bathurst 1000 endurance race from Sandown, and ultimately could host Australian rounds of WEC or even Formula E.

In a sign that the Melbourne ‘super circuit’ proposal has serious state government support, Speedcafe can also reveal that former Australian Grand Prix Corporation chief executive Tim Bamford has been appointed project manager.

Bamford is overseeing costing, planning and track design to establish the feasibility and viability of the government underwriting an international motorsport circuit with community and commercial uses.

The benefits of economic activity and publicity for a semi-regional area within reach of Melbourne will be offset against the cost to taxpayers, even with a large component of private investment.

Bamford has a history of developing major infrastructure and sports stadia projects for the Victoria Government.

Speedcafe understands that Spring Street has already committed $1.5 million to preliminary studies for a state-of-the-art motorsport complex, with the Avalon site the preferred option.

There may be some controversy because of known links between Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and Linfox chief Andrew Fox.

Linfox leases the Avalon Airport site from the federal government on what is essentially a 100-year deal since 1997, as well as the surrounding land on which the circuit and future facilities would be built.

But with its current and future transport links – the Melbourne to Geelong railway line is nearby, with an airport station a possibility – and in an area far removed from noise restrictions, Avalon has been identified as the best location for a long-term ‘Home of Motorsport’ within reach of Melbourne.

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