hero-img

Inside the unique Townsville circuit build

Supercars
05 Jul
There are a number of unique challenges and idiosyncrasies that make Reid Park a special place to race
3 mins by James Pavey
Advertisement
  • 70 percent of circuit, pit building are permanent

  • 1295 concrete blocks, 1545 debris fence panels bring circuit to life

  • Track build only takes three-and-a-half weeks

Permanent race circuits are impressive facilities, some taking years to build, and also require a significant amount of land and designing.

So, think street circuit builds are a simple exercise, given roads are already in place, and you can just add kerbs, walls and a pit building?

Think again — but when it comes to Townsville, there are a number of unique challenges and idiosyncrasies that make Reid Park a special place to race, and a far simpler feat to build.

It takes 1295 concrete blocks and 1545 debris fence panels to bring the Reid Park Street Circuit to life — but the Townsville venue isn’t like the majority of other street circuits around the world.

Townsville has a number permanent sections of concrete wall installed around the circuit. The pit building is also a permanent fixture, as are two bridges.

Critically, about 70 percent of the 2.86km Reid Park track is a permanent race circuit. While it is a challenge to build, the infrastructure in place makes it a familiar workplace for builders.

Race-16-EV-06-23-MH2 9749

“It's the basically the same build as any other street circuit, but it is a hybrid circuit because 70 percent of it is in a park,” Event Manager Matt Ramsden told Supercars.com.

“The streets that we use are Boundary Street and Charters Towers Road, and the rest of it is actually a purpose-built track that was built 15 years ago in Reid Park.

“When it comes to street track builds, it's like Adelaide, although Adelaide is like the opposite percentage, given 20 percent is permanent, and the rest streets.

“It's nothing like the Gold Coast, which is 100 percent street circuit.”

Advertisement

The idea of a V8 Supercars event in Townsville was first floated in 2006. It was approved in 2008, and the first event in 2009 drew over 168,000 spectators throughout the three days, winning that year’s title of V8 Supercars Event of the Year.

Townsville has hosted a round every year since, including two in the COVID-affected 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Year after year, thousands of man hours go into the track build of the unique hybrid circuit, and a day out from the event, finishing touches — such as kerb and wall painting, and bridges and barriers — are being finalised.

Race-17-EV-06-23-MH2 4201

In the event’s early years, it took six weeks to build the circuit, and three weeks to take down. Now, track build takes three-and-a-half weeks, and tear-down takes only two weeks.

Some challenges of a street track are in the name — you have to shut down streets to run a race, and the Townsville State High School is directly across from pit lane. Fortunately, the event falls around school holidays.

With Reid Park now a staple of the Supercars calendar, there is now an ongoing focus on ramping up the event each year, to make each Townsville event better than the last.

“The event is held in school holidays, so it doesn't really affect the school,” Ramsden said.

"We shut down two streets, which does impact traffic a little bit, but we don't get any community backlash over it — rather, Townsville is quite supportive of the event.

“Our biggest motivation is trying to come up with how we can reinvent the event every year, to drive the tourism market and keep it fresh and fun.

“That’s a big challenge for any event, but we’re always looking how we give the fans a product they'll come to year after year.”

NTI Townsville 500 track action commences on Friday, with off-track entertainment headlines by the Saturday night concert headlined by Tones And I, G Flip and Cyril.

Related News

Advertisement