Is Canberra ready to have a crack at hosting the V8 Supercars again?

Tim Gavel 17 September 2021 198
Canberra GMC 400 bollards

The Canberra GMC 400 bollards remain a common site around the capital region. Photo: Epic Sports Photography.

Speculation around a potential return to Canberra of the Supercars, operating in a circuit around Exhibition Park, has raised the hopes of many a motorsport fan in this region.

It’s triggered memories from 19 years ago: some of the circuit lines are visible, along with bollards used for the race. These are often still used as barriers for road works on the Kings Highway.

The city hosted the V8 Supercars from 2000 to 2003 and it divided the city like no other cultural or sporting event in recent times as talkback lines ran hot. Perhaps only Skywhale was equally debated.

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But there was also widespread support for an event that breathed life into the city and stimulated the economy over the traditionally quiet Queen’s Birthday weekend in June.

Apart from the disruption to regular commuters, which well and truly occupied the traffic reports, there was also the timing of the event. Who would come to Canberra in the middle of winter to stand in the cold for the weekend?

The attraction of hosting the event in Canberra included the visual splendour of the setting: Lake Burley Griffin, the national institutions and Parliament House. It came up spectacularly on television.

In the end the cost born by ACT Government to underwrite the event was too high and the Supercar caravan moved on after only three years.

Bend - Canberra GMC 400

Fans in Canberra were on top of the action. Photo: Epic Sports Photography.

Soon after, and to my surprise, I received a talkback call from a member of a syndicate proposing the event be moved to Tuggeranong.

This proposal didn’t get up. Aside from cost, I would assume there were a couple of reasons for this, including the fact that a major part of the attraction of bringing the race to Canberra was the sight of racing around the Parliamentary Triangle with the House on the hill in the background.

It was an iconic image and one hard to replicate anywhere else.

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This brings me to the present day and speculation surrounding a potential V8 Supercar event at Exhibition Park involving a 3.2-kilometre circuit running through internal roads in the park, as well as Morisset and Flemington roads.

The proposal has the event running in the warmer months of November or December and would be carbon-neutral and environmentally sustainable.

Sources close to the bid have told Region Media that the proposal will use only current infrastructure and has been designed to minimise access and noise issues for the neighbours in Watson and Downer, ending racing at 5pm each day. There will also be no impact on people working in Mitchell.

While some public speculation about the track is not accurate, the new course has been designed to incorporate the light rail – including cars racing alongside the tramlines.

The intent is to create one of the top three motorsports events in Australia, attracting up to 80 per cent interstate attendance. There are events planned for Braddon and Civic, including driver signings along the light rail lines.

On the plus side, there would be minimal disruption to regular traffic, and there is existing infrastructure at the Park catering for Summernats. It would also bring millions of tourism dollars to the city and organisers say that they have done their homework, creating an attractive business model.

Motorsport has been long neglected in Canberra, but it will be fascinating to see if this latest proposal has any legs.

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198 Responses to Is Canberra ready to have a crack at hosting the V8 Supercars again?
TimboinOz TimboinOz 7:26 pm 23 Sep 21

I used to enjoy motor racing.

? I know who Spencer Martin was and I even watched – and heard him – fanging the Ferrari 250/275LM at Longford in Tazzie.

It was like listening to a 3.3 litre multi-cylinder Japanese racing motor-bike engine.

I miss it, but can sensibly accept that hydro-carbon-fuel motoring is on the way out. Including the racing!

Although we own a petrol AWD SUV (a 2015 model year Forester) I no longer see much point in motor racing that doesn’t use EV technology. Bushland tends to lack petrol stations

Given that there isn’t much of the old style auto-racing, nor the new EV type about, it is all a bit sad.

I’ll miss the noise and the smell!

Paul Ings Paul Ings 6:12 pm 23 Sep 21

The elites will stop them again

Matthew Robinson Matthew Robinson 9:59 pm 22 Sep 21

Would be great but no way the government would support it.

Peter Hyde Peter Hyde 8:37 pm 22 Sep 21

Hopefully it will happen. Think of the tourist $s

James Farrugia James Farrugia 8:10 pm 22 Sep 21

GET THEM HERE!!!!! It will bring a needed boost to the hospitality and hotel industry the capital needs!

Paul Muscat Paul Muscat 7:35 pm 22 Sep 21

Bring them back

Chris J Randall Chris J Randall 5:43 pm 22 Sep 21

Hope so have a street race around parliament house lol

Deborah Love-Hawke Deborah Love-Hawke 3:19 pm 22 Sep 21


John Gregory Free John Gregory Free 3:07 pm 22 Sep 21

I have been involved in Motorsport for three generations and wholeheartedly support a race of this significance in Canberra in conjunction with the long standing SummerNats
What an amazing week that could be!
All motorsports fans would be attracted to visit or at least watch the spectacle on TV.
Provisos: passing opportunities must be part of the circuit.
Support races of real interest such as the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ
The relevant Motorsport associations should propose such an event to the current ACT Polly’s.
I am certain that the support for such an event will be strong.
Happy days
John Free

Mark Hannigan Mark Hannigan 2:28 pm 22 Sep 21

Never happen while Barr is there

    Andrew Sams Andrew Sams 8:14 pm 23 Sep 21

    You really think that with the idiot Greens this would get up? No chance.

Ben Garden Ben Garden 9:50 am 22 Sep 21

How about we get something that’s actually fast like formula one rather than a car I can beat in a drag race in my daily driver Tesla like a V8

Naomi Breasley Naomi Breasley 8:08 am 22 Sep 21

Sounds teriffic, It will never happen too many Kevin's & Karen's. People's reaction to Summernats is a clear indicator of some people's intolerance of motor sport in the ACT. I would like to see this in Canberra. Hopefully I'm just being jaded in my observations. Good luck. It could be brilliant for tourism.

Barbara Boswell Barbara Boswell 9:26 pm 21 Sep 21

Definitely hope so. Love V8s.

Graham Duffin Graham Duffin 6:01 pm 21 Sep 21

As long as it’s not the same track a last time

    Mathew Richards Mathew Richards 7:41 pm 23 Sep 21

    What was wrong with the track last time? Preferable to racing around EPIC in my opinion.

Charles Hill Charles Hill 5:59 pm 21 Sep 21

Went to final Canberra event, was a great weekend

Julie Marshall Julie Marshall 4:58 pm 21 Sep 21

Hell yes we are it’s about time Canberra has something.

John Slow John Slow 4:50 pm 21 Sep 21


Rae Mills Rae Mills 3:34 pm 21 Sep 21

Was just about to share this to you. Freaky🤪

Phil Hogan Phil Hogan 12:00 pm 21 Sep 21

Can't see it with this " government" in place, it was great but with the green's running the show what more can you say. ☹️the enemy's of fun

Martin Stewart Martin Stewart 11:55 am 21 Sep 21

Not a chance was way to expensive last time just to get in and see it

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