Supercars night racing will return to Sydney Motorsport Park in 2020, following a $33 million Government funding boost for the Western Sydney venue.
NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres today announced funding for permanent lighting, including 150 broadcast quality towers, and other infrastructure at the circuit.
Supercars raced under temporary lighting at Sydney Motorsport Park last August – the category’s first night race on Australian soil in 21 years and the first of the Supercars era.
The SuperNight format is being run at Barbagallo this year, with Sydney missing a slot on the 2019 calendar amid a recalibration of its position.
A date is yet to be confirmed for the 2020 event as Supercars continues to work through its calendar.
Shane van Gisbergen with NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer credited Glenn Matthews, the CEO of circuit promoter the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, with securing the Government funding.
“This is a great step forward in our plans for Sydney,” said Seamer, who also revealed a plan to have a Supercars team based in the city.
“The 2018 night race was a fantastic proof of concept and since then, Glenn Matthews and his team have done a wonderful job to secure these significant upgrades which will establish Sydney Motorsport Park as an elite, 24/7 motorsport facility.
“We look forward to the SuperNight format returning in 2020 and moving on to the second phase of our partnership with the ARDC and NSW Government, which is to establish a Supercars team in Sydney, based at SMSP.”
The $33 million in Government funding will be spread across Sydney Motorsport Park and the neighbouring Sydney Dragway, and creating what has been dubbed a ‘Motor Sports Centre of Excellence’.
Seamer, Ayres and Matthews
“Motor sport is the fourth most watched sport in the country and thousands of people in Western Sydney love it, which is why we want to ensure the sport has a strong presence in Western Sydney in the future,” Mr Ayres said.
“Adding lights to Sydney Motorsport Park will make is more attractive for major events and allow motor enthusiasts to enjoy a lot more track time.
“This will make Sydney Motorsport Park the Silverstone of the Southern Hemisphere.”
ARDC President Andrew Leithhead added: “The ARDC views this additional Government investment in Sydney Motorsport Park as an important continuation of the Club’s long-standing commitment to excellence within the Australian motorsport industry.
“A newly expanded SMSP calendar allows for strong increases in the level of innovative high-demand Tier 1 motorsport events headlined by the Supercars Championship night racing and other major events.”
Sydney-based Supercars team wanted
Supercars, the NSW Government and the ARDC are working together to attract the Harbour City its own Supercars team.
Sydney has not had a full-time Supercars squad since the now defunct Tasman Motorsport relocated to Melbourne in 2004.
All current Supercars teams are either based in Melbourne, Albury, the Gold Coast or Brisbane.
“A Sydney franchise would have premium facilities on their doorstep,” Seamer said.
“This initiative will provide a manufacturer, team and their partners with immediate access to an international race track, premium function facilities for major corporate events, vehicle launches, drive days, vehicle appreciation sessions, product R&D and conferences.
“This also provides the catalyst to link Supercars’ technology, education and training with Western Sydney’s strong tertiary education and engineering communities.
“A Sydney-based team will also have the growing greater Western Sydney community as a support base given the huge number of Supercars fans in the western corridor of Australia’s largest city.”