EVEN more debris fencing is set to be installed at Mount Panorama.
Bathurst Regional Council is calling for tenders to add another 1100 metres of the spectator safety guard at the iconic circuit.
It comes due to a stipulation from the Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA) to keep the track up to world accepted standard.
The latest work comes hot on the heels of major work to erect 850 metres of concrete barrier fencing along Pit Straight and at The Chase; 570 metres of debris fencing along Pit Straight; and 670 metres of spectator fencing, also along Pit Straight.
That work was completed just in time for last month’s Great Race. The latest project is expected to be in place in time for next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race in February.
City engineer Doug Patterson said about 300 metres of the debris fencing will be used to line Pit Lane, giving protection on both sides of that part of the circuit.
“It will go on top of the concrete wall that splits Pit Straight and Pit Lane,” he said.
Mr Patterson said debris fencing will also be installed in sections from Sulman Park to McPhillamy Park.
“There is already some debris fencing there. What we will be doing is joining up the gaps to cover that entire section, which is a high spectator density area.
“We also plan to have debris fencing just below The Chase near the Armour All bridge running down to Murrays Corner, which is another popular area for fans to gather.
“There is also a small area near the marshall point before the Armour All bridge to be done because there is potential there for an additional spectator area.”
Mr Patterson said the project is expected to cost around $150,000.
“The debris fence is a similar height to what is already at the circuit. It’s 2.7 metres above track height,” he said. “If you look at where the spectators gather in that Sulman Park to McPhillamy Park area, they tend to be more elevated there. So generally speaking, they will be looking over the top of the fencing.”
Councillor Warren Aubin said it was a logical progression to line the inside of Pit Straight with debris fencing.
“We really didn’t have a choice. FIA told us to put it in or not have a race,” he said. “The good thing is fans at this year’s Bathurst 1000 were very accepting of the new debris fence on the outside of Pit Straight. They understand it’s all about safety and know that you can’t put a price on a life.”
Mr Aubin said debris fencing is a major safety addition and that the cars that race at Mount Panorama keep getting faster and faster.
“The GT cars coming for the 12 Hour in February do a lap of Mount Panorama faster than the quickest V8 Supercars,” he said.
Mr Aubin said he will be bringing up the issue of painting the debris fence black to make it easier for the spectators to see through it.
“My belief is that we should paint a small section first to see how it comes up and then decide from there if we are going to the lot,” he said.