MOUNT Panorama’s second track could become home to some major motor sport events once it is built, councillor Warren Aubin says.
The tender for the second circuit was awarded to Apex Circuit Design, a UK-based company, in July last year.
The company’s nominated process was for a master plan to be created on site, followed by detail design, preparation and submission of planning documentation, with FIA/FIM approval occurring at the same as the planning approval process.
The anticipated total delivery time was 84 weeks from acceptance of contract.
Cr Aubin believes the design to be complete and said it was “just a matter of waiting for final studies to be done up there” before construction could start.
He was confident that construction would commence in 2020 and anticipated the track would be complete in either late 2021 or in 2022.
Cr Aubin said the long-awaited track would end up being used seven days a week, combatting the issue of only five full-track closures a year that has always limitted the use of the main circuit.
One of the keys to the success of this track will be the fact that it can cater to both cars and motorcycles.
“If [a track] suits bikes it is pretty good for anything, but if it is just good for cars then it is no good for bikes,” Cr Aubin explained.
He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Bathurst could lure the Superbike World Championship away from Phillip Island, which also hosts the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
“They’re looking at spreading it around, because if [Phillip Island] has both events people tend to just go to the Motor GP,” he said, adding that the Superbikes can’t attract as big of a crowd.
When Apex staff visited Bathurst in September, they seemed to also understand the importance of appealing to motorcycles.
“We’re not going to ignore the four-wheel vehicles, but given motorcycles haven’t raced at Mount Panorama within the last two decades, we really want to bring them back here at a world-class facility,” design director Dafydd Broom said.
Cr Aubin also thought that it would be possible for Supercars to race in Bathurst twice in a year.
“Even Supercars could look at running one of their rounds up there instead of using the main circuit. They could run a sprint race there and then have the main Mount Panorama track for the 1000,” Cr Aubin said.
In addition to hosting major events, Cr Aubin said the second track would be a place for local club meetings, driver training and vehicle photo shoots.
Other permanent circuits are booked out more than a year in advance, a sure sign that Bathurst’s new track would be in high demand.
Cr Aubin said that it would stand on its own and add more value to Bathurst’s motor sport precinct.
“It’s never going to take the place of Mount Panorama. It is the most iconic place in Australia and one of the best tracks in the world,” he said.
“It will not take away from that, but the second circuit will really appeal to motorbikes and it will still have car racing there as well.”