Sydney could be in line to host Australia's first permanent motor racing 'supercircuit' equal to the world's best, according to plans released today.
A $350,000 feasibility study commissioned by the Australian Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) has outlined opportunities to use Eastern Creek International Raceway as the basis of the world-class development.
The plan includes three interlinked tracks offering six permutations, of which three can be used simultaneously.
The track developments also allow for year-round use of the complex for road safety training, as well as providing convention facilities, music arenas and a purpose-built 'youth entertainment' bowl.
The ARDC and designer, UK-based Apex Circuit Design, presented the plan this week to the NSW state government, owners of the Eastern Creek Raceway complex.
According to Apex the new facility could be built within two years using more than 70 per cent of the existing Eastern Creek circuit as its base.
The existing infrastructure would enable the supercircuit to be built for approximately one-third of the cost of a greenfields site.
Initial estimates for the cost of track development are $93 million, with graded implementation to suit budget requirements.
The ARDC, which leases Eastern Creek Raceway from the NSW state government, will commission financial modelling to determine payback timelines and sources of funding.
"Sydney needs increased motorsport facilities and permanent closed-road training capacity," ARDC president John Cotter said.
"The impending closure of Oran Park and the fact that Eastern Creek is already fully utilised demands action," he said.
"The Apex report does more than meet the immediate need.
"It maps a blueprint for a strategy which could contribute substantially to tourism and further global recognition of Sydney.
"The plan confirms the ARDC's proposition that an investment in an appropriate permanent facility is far more advantageous than investment in a non-permanent street circuit."
The Apex plan lengthens the Eastern Creek International Raceway circuit by more than 800 metres to 4.7km.
It also allows for a 3km national track, a 1.7km club circuit, a corporate track and a drift bowl to be built in a special stadium section of the complex.
Apex calls for the current direction of racing to be reversed to clockwise to create a spectacular high delta (heavy braking) corner at Turn One within the stadium section.
The proposed international track has four extra corners and more than double the potential passing areas of the circuit it would replace.
Equal attention has been given to the needs of cars and motorcycles to provide the ARDC with the best opportunity of attracting major international events.
Apex has had its plans approved in principle by the global circuit inspector for the FIA (cars) and believes the motorcycle equivalent (FIM) would also comply.
The proposed track would qualify for use by all motor racing disciplines up to Formula One.
"The circuit would be one of the most exciting and demanding in this country, and the equal of many internationally," Apex managing director Clive Bowen said.
"It has been designed to challenge the most accomplished driver, yet also appeal to corporate users."
Major attention has been given to providing maximum viewing opportunity for spectators, and optimum recognition of the unique Australian personality of the circuit for global television audiences.
"It's fair to say that many tracks, whether they are non-permanent street circuits or recently developed permanent facilities, lack a national character," Mr Bowen said.
"Eastern Creek is uniquely Australian - with eucalyptus trees and a panoramic view of the Blue Mountains."
Apex has paid specific attention to community needs, particularly those of young people.
"The emergence of drift racing has huge youth appeal and Eastern Creek has the ability to incorporate a purpose-built track where young people can compete under supervision in safety," Mr Bowen said.
"The concept is that Eastern Creek would become, in part, a club facility for teenagers and young adults."
Eastern Creek was built in 1990 to bring the world championship MotoGP to NSW, and it has subsequently hosted rounds of international motor racing and motorcycle series.
The 90-hectare site has operated profitably in recent years under ARDC control.