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Tilke-designed track coming to NSW

A state-of-the-art motorsport facility has been announced for New South Wales centring around a Tilke Group-designed circuit.

Hermann Tilke is the famous architect of many Formula 1 tracks around the world, and his organisation is set to map out the 5.25km layout at Black Rock Motor Resort.

Located west of Newcastle in Wakefield/Teralba, the resort is the next stop for the Northern Rhondda Colliery mine where operations ceased in 1971.

The sale of the rehabilitated site from Yancoal to Elemonop Pty Ltd – which had its Black Rock Motor Resort application approved in 2019 – has now been finalised, allowing for plans to progress.

In addition to the circuit, Black Rock Motor Resort is set to feature a driver training centre, go-kart facilities, adventure/tourism experiences, a function centre, short-term accommodation, and a café.

Pic: Supplied

“Black Rock Motor Resort is proud to be pioneering the adaptive re-use of a former coal mine into an exciting, world-class adventure tourism destination,” said BRMR chief and founder Tony Palmer.

“Black Rock Motor Resort will provide a range of motoring experiences including driver safety training for the young motorists of the region as well as exciting opportunities for the public to drive their own cars, or our cars, on the high-speed circuit.

“I’d like to thank the NSW Government and Lake Macquarie City Council for supporting the vision to transform rehabilitated mining land into a valuable asset for the Lake Macquarie region and NSW.”

Minister for the Hunter, Yasmin Catley, has thrown her support behind the initiative.

“We know motorsport lovers will travel and spend their money when they know they’re getting the best,” she said.

The site as at January 2024. Pic: Supplied

“It’s fantastic to see Lake Macquarie step up and offer locals and visitors from across the country and overseas the best in motorsport and tourism.

“We hear constantly about the need for tourism opportunities and adaptive reuse of rehabilitated mines. This is a smart, exciting example of both.”

Added Lake Macquarie Mayor, Kay Fraser: “Black Rock Motor Resort demonstrates how we are laying the foundation in Lake Macquarie to embrace innovation, grow our economy and attract new investment.

“It is a pioneering example of adaptive reuse of mining land to support our economy into the future and provides a pathway for the transformation of other former mining and industrial sites.

“This project will see Lake Macquarie become home to Australia’s first dedicated recreation resort for motoring enthusiasts, providing an exciting new international tourism attraction for the city, region and state of NSW.

“Black Rock will support hundreds of jobs during construction and once operational, bringing in tens of millions of dollars each year in economic benefit to our region.”

Progress at Black Rock Motor Resort comes at a time when NSW is down to two venues suitable for top-tier motorsport: Sydney Motorsport Park and Mount Panorama. One Raceway (formerly Wakefield Park) has also been revamped.

There’s suddenly set to be a number of potential venues in the vicinity of the killed-off Newcastle 500, with Circuit Italia in Balickera (less than 50km northeast of Black Rock) coming along nicely, and Cessnock having voiced interest in a street race of its own.

Black Rock though has ruled out hosting Supercars or Formula 1.

“Black Rock is designed for driver training activities and no racing. We don’t have the capacity/space/infrastructure to hold these large events,” reads a section on its website. 

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