Former Newcastle mine to be repurposed into NSW’s next race track - SUV VEHICLE

Former Newcastle mine to be repurposed into NSW’s next race track

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Work has begun on the site of what promises to be a motorsport hub, with a circuit designed by a legendary Formula One track designer.

The first sod has been turned on a new race track being built near Newcastle, New South Wales, which is scheduled to open in 2026 before becoming fully operational the following year.

The $95 million Black Rock Motor Resort is being constructed in Teralba, Lake Macquarie, south of Newcastle, NSW on the former site of Rhondda Colliery which closed in 1971.

Approved in 2019 by the New South Wales state government, the circuit will be laid out by famous racetrack designer, Hermann Tilke.

Tilke – a former racing driver himself – is one of only four designers recognised by the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), the global governing body of motorsport.

The German has designed countless Formula One circuits around the world, as well as upgrading iconic parts of tracks including Silverstone in the UK and the Nurburgring in Germany.

The track will be part of a 252-hectare motorsport precinct including a go-kart track, food venues, luxury accommodation and driver training facilities.

“Unlike a normal racetrack where the focus is large-scale racing events, Black Rock is more like a golf resort, but rather than 18 holes we have a 5.25-kilometre circuit as our centrepiece,” Black Rock CEO, Tony Palmer, said in a statement.

“This project will be a place where like-minded enthusiasts can come and share their passion in a safe and purpose-built environment,” Mr Palmer said.

“It’s going to attract a significant number of new interstate and international visitors and businesses to the area. There are more than 100,000 active members of car clubs in NSW alone.”

The project is also expected to generate around 450 new jobs, with the resort itself set to offer employment for 229 people and inject $357 million into the area during its construction.

Black Rock Motor Resort is the second new circuit in the broader area, with the first asphalt on the new Circuit Italia in the Hunter Region being laid in July 2023.

Circuit Italia is a privately-funded 3.1-kilometre permanent race track near Port Stephens, just north of Newcastle, and is set to open in 2024.

The addition of two new circuits comes following the end of the V8 Supercars Newcastle 500 event, which saw Fords and Holdens race around the city centre on the Newcastle East Street Circuit.

The event was controversial given vocal objections from some local residents who were impacted by the race weekend’s shutdown of key city streets.

Supercars replaced Newcastle as the season-opening event for 2024 with the Bathurst 500 – on the same Mount Panorama circuit as October’s Bathurst 1000, but over a shorter distance – which took place in February.

While Black Rock Motor Resort has ruled out hosting a V8 Supercars round, Circuit Italia is understood to be open to holding an event for the category.

The new circuits are the first to open in New South Wales since Eastern Creek – now known as Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP) – hosted its first event in 1990.

Since SMSP opened, venues including Oran Park and Amaroo Park in Sydney’s southwest and west, respectively, have closed.

In July 2023, Eugene Arocca – who at the time was CEO of Motorsport Australia, the FIA-affiliated governing body of Supercars and auto racing locally – pointed to Newcastle as ripe for a new facility.

“New South Wales is the biggest state as far as participation is concerned and population and yet it has got the least amount of tracks in the country in real terms per capita,” the then CEO Eugene Arocca told motorsport website, V8 Sleuth.

“It is crying for a second high-standard venue”.

The post Former Newcastle mine to be repurposed into NSW’s next race track appeared first on Drive.

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