THE sight of officials from international track designers Apex Circuit Design standing on Mount Panorama was one to warm the heart of all racing fans.
The clock is already running on the project to deliver Bathurst Regional Council the design for a second circuit on the Mount that will only add to its standing as the home of Australian motorsport.
And while Australians have no doubts about the significance of Mount Panorama, its reputation on a global scale was confirmed by the quality of tenders council received when it called for expressions of interest to design the second track.
It came down to a shortlist of three in the end, but the credentials of the winning tenderer meant it was really only ever a one-horse race.
Their plan is for a master plan to be created on-site, followed by detail design, preparation and submission of planning documentation with approval from the international racing bodies to occur at the same as the planning approval process.
The anticipated delivery time for the design is 84 weeks from acceptance of contract, and the clock is ticking.
From there it will be a case of watching and waiting as the track slowly comes to fruition, but it will still be four or five years before cars and bikes start racing on the circuit.
It’s sure to be worth the wait, though.
It is no secret that the Mount Panorama racing circuit has been central to much of our regional growth over the past 40 or 50 years, giving the city an attraction and profile that are the envy of other regional centres.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 – along with the growing 6-Hour and 12-Hour events – are not only vital for the Bathurst economy but also the regional NSW economy.
And two tracks means even more options for all category of racers.
That helps explain why both the federal and state government have been so willing to open the coffers to support this second circuit project.
The state has already committed $15 million to the project and the Commonwealth $10 million – and there is good reason to believe more will be on the way.
It’s a solid investment, as every dollar spent on Mount Panorama in recent years has been returned to the community many times over.