TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn was today announced as a new venue in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series. The 2.2km rural NSW track will host round four of the 2000-2001 series ...
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: Wakefield Park Raceway near Goulburn was today announced as a new venue in the BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Championship motor racing series.
The 2.2km rural NSW track will host round four of the 2000-2001 series on October 29, and replaces Victoria's Winton Raceway, whose August 27 date on the original championship calendar was cancelled at late notice because of problems with circuit facilities.
Kelvin O'Reilly, Chief Executive of championship organisers TOCA Australia, said the move to Wakefield Park had been confirmed after negotiations with Garry Holt, the Managing Director of the consortium which purchased the circuit in June this year.
O'Reilly said securing Wakefield Park as a championship venue would ensure the series remained at eight rounds, each with two hours of television coverage on the Seven Network.
"Going to Wakefield Park is a positive move for the championship and it takes top class motorsport to a new area," said O'Reilly. "Everyone is showing a great deal of enthusiasm, and this is also a new challenge for our drivers and teams because it's the first time the championship has been there."
Holt said the Super Touring round at Wakefield Park would be a significant step forward for the circuit because it would be its first major Australian championship event with national television coverage since it opened in 1993.
He said the new owners had spent $500,000 in the past three months on improvements at the circuit, and a further $150,000 would be outlaid before the Super Touring round to upgrade the pit-lane facilities.
"Getting the Super Tourers is the first step in our long-term plans to develop the circuit so we can hold national championship events on a regular basis," said Holt. "The television coverage from this race meeting will provide the exposure we need to lift the profile of Wakefield Park."
"In the past few months we have done a lot of work widening the track, changing a couple of the corners, improving the safety features, and upgrading the kerbs and ripple strips. Up until now Wakefield Park has had mostly club and historic racing, but we are planning to move up to the next level."
The Mayor of Goulburn, Max Hadlow, described the decision to stage a round of the championship at Wakefield Park as "great news".
"The amount of money that the visiting teams will spend will provide a significant boost to the local economy," he said. "Goulburn is increasingly becoming known for its motorsport events and the television coverage that is associated with the Super Touring round will be great exposure for the city and for Wakefield Park."
Triple Super Touring champion Paul Morris, who leads this year's series by 50 points in a Mount Cotton Estate Winery BMW 320i, said he supported the move to Wakefield Park.
"It's good going to a track we haven't been to before because it adds some variety," said Morris. "Everyone will be on a level playing field because we will all be starting from scratch with car set-ups."
O'Reilly estimated the Super Touring championship round would provide at least $250,000 in direct economic benefit to the Goulburn area.
"All the Super Touring teams and support classes will spend that amount on things such as accommodation, restaurants, and so forth," he said.
Support classes for the Wakefield Park round will include the V8 Future Tourers, Commodore Cup, and the Logical Mirage one-make series.