Sandown Raceway looks to have secured its short-term place on the Supercars calendar, thanks to a multi-stage upgrades plan that will kick off this year.
The Melbourne circuit was thrust into the safety spotlight after a number of high-speed crashes at the quick Turn 6 at the end of the back straight, including Todd Hazelwood's spectacular rollover at last year's Sandown 500.
Circuit owner the Melbourne Racing Club has reportedly now signed off a multi-stage upgrades plan to keep the circuit on the Supercars calendar, the first stage of which will be completed in time for this year's opening endurance race.
According to the official Supercars website, the centrepiece of the Stage 1 upgrades will be 40 concrete barriers placed behind armco on the outside of Turn 6 along with a freshening up of the tyre wall.
That should make repairs to the crash fencing quicker, and perhaps avoid lengthy delays and time certain finishes to the 500, as has been the case for the last two years.
A second stage of works will then take place before the 2019 Sandown 500.
“The Melbourne Racing Club have been very proactive since the inspection last year in responding immediately to the safety upgrades required,” Supercars COO Shane Howard told the series website.
“There is an extensive plan in place to implement the upgrades and ensure the circuit maintains its licence to host Supercars and other major events for the long-term.
“Sandown is one of the country’s most iconic racing venues which has been the scene of many of Australia’s motorsports greatest moments.
“It is fantastic for the fans that Australia’s premier category will continue competing there.”
The investment from the MRC also gives hope that the Sandown facility has a mid-to-long-term future, after years of speculation that the inner-suburban land it occupies could be developed into housing.