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Failed WA Supercars circuit plans

EARLIER this year, plans of a potential Perth street race were revealed to be back on the table, with preliminary talks between the Western Australian State Government and Supercars on investing more into the annual cross-country trip.

Plans of a street race in the WA capital were first conceived early in the V8 Supercar era as AVESCO targeted more growth.

It entered into discussions for a Perth street event to replace the Sandown 500 during the late-1990s, but this failed to come to fruition.

Hope did not diminish as the Fremantle Docks was earmarked during 1999 as a location to host the V8 Supercars, with the inaugural event due to cost $10 million in its first year.

The rough layout of the circuit, as shown in Motorsport News Issue 152. Pic: an1images.com / Motorsport News

The planned circuit was reminiscent of New Zealand’s Wellington street circuit.

Based at Fremantle’s Victoria Quay, it ran along Victoria Quay road, doubled back along Beach Street and Elder Place, then ran along Phillimore Street before returning to the docks.

The Western Australian State Government held reservations, but work continued to target a round on the 2001 V8 Supercars calendar until it failed to receive council approval and was quietly canned.

Paul Radisich surveys the the view that would have provided the backdrop to the Fremantle circuit. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

Next, a proposed race at the location made famous by the Rally Australia Super Special Stage was announced.

Langley Park, just near Fremantle was to become home to a 3.8km circuit set to cost $12 million, but this was another plan that foundered.

A Perth street circuit was again mooted in 2007 as a replacement for the outdated facilities at then-Barbagallo Raceway, but the idea was greeted with a lukewarm response by then-WA Sports Minister John Kobelke.

“When the state government looked at the proposal for a V8 street event (at Fremantle) in Perth a few years ago, the return for tourism and promotion of the state came nowhere near warranting the expenditure required,” Kobelke says.

“I don’t believe anything has changed which would interest the government in investing in a street circuit.”

The conversations came as the end of Wanneroo’s agreement loomed after 2009, and no plan to extend this was in the works unless the facility received major upgrades.

As these discussions were being had, a new facility in Bunbury was being plotted but had not sought FIA sanctioning; in the end, a rare orchid put paid to that circuit.

In the end, Wanneroo dropped off the championship calendar for 2010 but returned in 2011 and, asides from the COVID-19 pandemic years, the Supercars schedule has included a trip to the Western Australian circuit ever since.

Can these latest talks finally make this idea turn into reality?

The Collie Motorplex is another circuit in Western Australia located 202km south-east of Perth and is used extensively throughout the year.

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