7 March 2024

'The F1 cars of speedway' set to make dust fly in Canberra for the first time

| James Coleman
Join the conversation

Sprintcars have more than one horsepower for every kilogram, so they’re very, very fast. Photo: National Capital Motorsports Club.

Sprintcars will vie for victory under the lights at the ACT Speedway for the first time this weekend, touted as a “pinnacle” event for local motorsport.

Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate why it’s such a big deal is with some quick maths.

“It’s crazy! These things make 850 to 900 horsepower from their methanol-injected aluminium V8s,” National Capital Motorsport Club (NCMC) vice-president Murray Thomas says.

“And they only weigh roughly 750 to 800 kg.”

That’s a power-to-weight ratio of more than 1:1 (more than one horsepower for every kilogram), or about the same as an F1 car.

READ ALSO Canberra Festival of Speed confirmed for 2025 after ‘overwhelmingly positive’ first year

“It’s incredible, and they run a massive wing on top of them and at the front to keep them on the ground,” Murray adds.

“They’re the F1 cars of speedway.”

It’s estimated they’ll be lapping all 420 metres of the oval-shaped clay track at Fairbairn in 12 to 13 seconds at speeds of up to 160 km/h.

The event, dubbed ‘Kings with Wings Sprintcar Shakedown’, comes to Canberra after the $100 million Eastern Creek Speedway in Sydney suddenly closed when the operators walked away due to drainage and lighting issues. The NSW Government appointed new operators in December, but it was too late to make it into the sprintcar calendar.

“We seized the opportunity, put a deal together, and here we are,” Murray says.

sprintcar race

Cars on the track at the ACT Speedway run into the night. Photo: James Coleman.

As with other speedway genres, like compact speed cars and midgets, sprint cars are a national division with titles to win in each state and territory. Up to 18, almost all from NSW, are set to compete from 5 pm on Saturday, 9 March, with a $5000 cash prize up for grabs.

It’s the second event of the year for the ACT Speedway – the season kicked off last month with “production sedans, limited sedans, street stocker sedans & fender benders”.

READ ALSO Business outlook ‘isn’t fantastic’ with the ACT standing alone in reporting a fall in investment

Each draws a bigger crowd than the last, to the point that the NCMC has asked the ACT Government to allow more parking.

“Our last meeting had one of the biggest crowds ever, and cars were parked all the way down Pialligo Avenue,” Murray says.

“We’ve raised the issue with ACT Parks, and they’ve been up here and done a great job improving the access road in recent weeks. We’re talking with them about the possibility of extending the car park area because it’s certainly holding us back.”

Saturday’s event is expected to draw not only the Canberra region faithful but also those from Sydney, the Southern Highlands, South Coast and Riverina – all those who would have normally made the pilgrimage to the Sydney Speedway.


Speedcars neck and neck. Photo: National Capital Motorsports Club (NCMC).

“Speedway is on the up and up nationally,” Murray explains.

“And I think we’re just putting on a good show, just like the Canberra Festival of Speed last weekend, which was packed out. There’s certainly interest in motorsport in Canberra. It’s going from strength to strength.”

For now, the event will employ a shuttle service between the ACT Speedway and parking at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan, with the price included in the entry ticket ($30 for adults, $25 for concession-card holders, $15 for children aged 5 to 15 years, and $70 for a family).

Murray says, “It’s great value for money”.

“You’ll see more action in one night of speedway than you would in a whole season of F1.”

Book tickets to the ACT Speedway event on Eventbrite. Spectator gates open at 2:30 pm, and racing starts at 5 pm on Saturday (9 March).

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Its a great night out! I certainly hope the ACT govt will help them with the parking facilities…

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.