The famous Mount Panorama circuit is undergoing a facelift to Pit Straight to meet strict safety guidelines and improve spectator facilities.
Bathurst Regional Council has been implementing the upgrades since July which include improving safety as approved by the governing body of world motorsport the FIA and the Confederation of Australian Motorsport.
The Pit Straight works include an FIA approved debris fence and a concrete first line of defence barrier which comply with current safety guidelines. The spectator fence on the main straight has been replaced and remains in the same position of previous years.
The design allows for the traditional post-race track invasion. Unlike traditional debris fences, the first line of defence barrier and the mesh are roughly two metres apart, with a waist-high gap underneath the wire catch fence which spectators can pass through once the track is cleared.
Police and security will help manage post-race track access.
Mayor of Bathurst Cr Gary Rush said the upgrades will ensure world class safety standards for spectators, officials and competitors.
“The Mount Panorama circuit is one of the best in the world and has undergone major improvements over decades to maintain its global status and the highest level of safety for drivers, spectators and officials.
“Pit Straight remains one of the best seats in the house for spectators to watch the Great Race start, all the action from pit lane, watch the big screens on the pit complex and the be right there to witness the famous race finish.”
CAMS Chief Executive Eugene Arocca said FIA standards were designed with safety as the highest priority.
“Bathurst is an iconic event and over the course of its history the track has undergone a number of significant changes designed to improve safety for drivers, spectators and officials,” Arocca said.
“These latest changes will keep Bathurst at the forefront of track safety in Australia and ensure that the event continues to thrive long into the future.
“The FIA standard is the gold standard of track safety globally, and these improvements will help maintain Bathurst’s standing as a world class venue.”
Each year Bathurst Regional Council and V8 Supercars upgrade various parts of the circuit to continually improve the on and off track safety and spectator experience.
Upgrades to the paddock campground will ensure additional sealed roads for this year’s event which will allow campers in that site better access and egress to their campsites.
A new sealed area has also been laid at the top of the mountain in one of the merchandise areas.
With multiple race winners and some of the best racing in V8 Supercars, this year the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is again set for a thriller.
The emergence of Erebus Motorsport V8 and its fourth for the Mercedes-Benz AMG E63 at the Wilson Security Sandown 500, coupled with the continued improvement of Nissan Motorsport, means the traditional foes Holden and Ford may not get their own way.
This year’s event will be the first time in two decades makes other than Ford and Holden will take on Mount Panorama; one of the world’s most challenging, and brutal, tracks.
Nissan and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG will return; the first time since the infamous ‘Godzilla’ won on the Mountain in 1992 and Mercedes-Benz last tackled the Bathurst 1000 in 1994.
With support from the Australian Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund, Council is working through a $6 million program of safety improvements and infrastructure upgrades at Mount Panorama.
A new lift on the pedestrian bridge across Pit Straight provides improved access to the pit complex paddock area from Harris Park into the heart of the circuit.
Bathurst Regional Council staff have been working hard in recent months to ensure the new debris and spectator fencing, concrete barrier walls and overhead lighting along Pit Straight and the concrete barrier wall at The Chase have been completed for this year’s event.
The stats: - A total of 850m of concrete barrier fencing has been installed along Pit Straight and at The Chase. - 570m of debris fencing erected on Pit Straight. - 670m of spectator fencing erected on Pit Straight. - 6000 tonnes of asphaltic concrete (hot mix) will be laid in around the 6.1km circuit re-seal happening Nov/Dec 2013.
As soon as possible after the 2013 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, work will begin on a $2 million road resurfacing program for the entire track. This major upgrade is completed on average every 12 years.
These important changes have been made in consultation with V8 Supercars and in line with recommendations made by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) and to ensure our Mount Panorama circuit remains a viable, competitive and international standard sports and tourism facility.
Since the opening of the Mount Panorama Pit Complex in 2004, around $27 million has been injected into the circuit towards major infrastructure improvements such as; internal access roads for residents and tourists; sealing of Pit Paddock area; construction of paddock sheds; construction of amenities buildings; sealing of Harris Park entertainment area including power and lighting.
The 2013 Western Research Institute’s Economic Impact Report showed the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 provides a major economic boost to the Bathurst Region bringing in around $25 million a year to the local economy.