TUESDAY MAY 5, 2020: The first of 132 light towers was installed on pole position today at Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP), placing the Western Sydney venue in the spotlight as Australia’s first permanent motorsport facility with the ability to operate both day and night.
The light tower was craned in and installed in front of representatives from the NSW Government, Supercars, and the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC), signalling a new era of motorsport in Australia.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he was proud to see the NSW Government’s strategic multi-million-dollar investment at SMSP come to fruition, resulting in permanent circuit lighting and the establishment of Australia’s first and only motorsport Centre of Excellence.
“It’s a new era of racing and the 2020 Lighting Project at the Western Sydney Motorsport Precinct couldn’t have come at a better time,” he said.
“We know that COVID-19 is taking its toll on this State, and racing can be a real morale boost for those isolating at home, so it will be fantastic when motor racing gets back on track.”
The project will see SMSP lead the field to become the ‘Silverstone of the southern hemisphere’; not only opening up track access for motorsport, but also substantial opportunities to further grow local tourism, investment, employment, and the development of existing on-site programs targeting performance engineering, education and training.
“ARDC’s strategic direction will build on motorsport engineering excellence to develop a Western Sydney hub for technology innovation and education,” said ARDC President, Andrew Leithhead.
“This lighting project will enable Sydney Motorsport Park to become a 24/7 home for a broad spectrum of stakeholders in motorsport, driver training, tourism, entertainment and manufacturing in the heart of Australia’s fastest growing urban area.”
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said the introduction of lights at SMSP offered significant opportunities for the future of motorsport in Australia.
“Seeing this project come to life is fantastic for Supercars and our fans across the state,” he said.
“To be able to race at night under permanent lights here at SMSP is something we’ve been working towards for a long time. We look forward to getting on track as soon as possible.”
SMSP delivers year-round events which attract 330,000 visitors annually, with over 35 major events and multiple grassroots racing and car club events, plus many school and community events from across Greater Sydney.
“Sydney Motorsport Park is one of the busiest tracks not just in Australia, but in the world,” said ARDC CEO Glenn Matthews.
“We enjoy an occupancy rate of around 96%, and that was one of the reasons the Government was happy to support us in providing funding for the permanent lighting project.
“Lighting allows us to fit even more events into our calendar; not only enabling motorsport fans and enthusiasts, competitors and manufacturers more access to our world-class facility, but also opening doors for substantial opportunities to further grow the Western Sydney night economy.”
The $33M package of Government initiatives for the broader Western Sydney motorsport precinct saw $16.4 million go towards creating Australia’s first motorsport circuit with permanent lighting.
The 2020 Lighting Project will see 132 light towers with 864 individual light fittings placed around the four circuits and training Skidpan at SMSP. Advances in technology have allowed a minimum 400LUX lighting for all circuit configurations, and 800LUX on the main Brabham Straight, with the ability to run the circuits independently to save power. The system itself has a green tick, utilising the latest LED Technology from world leaders in floodlighting systems, MUSCO Lighting.
The unfortunate circumstances surrounding COVID-19 from February this year saw the temporary shutting of the Eastern Creek track, however this allowed the lighting project to move ahead rapidly, while maintaining approximately 100 jobs on site. The installation of the lighting at SMSP will continue at racing pace during this enforced track shutdown, ready for racers to get back on track when current restrictions lift.
DETAILS: The SMSP Lighting Project
- $16.4 million Government investment
- 132 light towers, including 864 individual light fittings.
- Lighting all four variations of the circuit, plus paddock and skid pan.
- Power is 800LUX main Brabham Straight, with a minimum of 400LUX on the rest of the circuit. Temporary lights seen in the inaugural Sydney SuperNight in 2019 had temporary generator-powered lights capable of 150LUX.
- Ability to light individual parts of the track and precinct, plus change the colour of the lighting on the main straight.
- Over 100 jobs created and maintained through COVID-19, plus local manufacturing support.
- Technology: Lighting the smaller Druitt North Circuit five years ago quoted at $17 million, now entire circuit and precinct for $16.4 million with fibre optic connection.
- Projected 40% increase in access capacity.
- The first official event to mark the return of racing at SMSP (after and subject to COVID-19 restrictions) is hoped to be Supercars under lights, using a combination of the new light towers and generator light towers.
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN RACING DRIVERS’ CLUB (ARDC)
The Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, known as the ARDC, has promoted motorsport in NSW for over 68 years. Commencing in 1952 at Parramatta Park, the ARDC has conducted events for cars and motorcycles at Mount Panorama Bathurst, Mt Druitt, Castlereagh, Catalina Park Katoomba, Amaroo Park and at its current home, Sydney Motorsport Park in the booming suburbs of Western Sydney.
The goal of the ARDC is to create a world-class motorsport park in the heart of Australia’s global city – Sydney. As official operators and custodians of Sydney Motorsport Park for over 20 years, the ARDC continually looks to build and enhance the venue’s reputation as Australia’s true Home of Motorsport.
Over recent years the ARDC has continued to build on its long-standing vision and business plan for Sydney Motorsport Park. This new master plan and vision describes the development of a highly engaging motorsport precinct and destination, with a range of world-class events, driving/riding experiences (concepts and categories), excellence in driver education and training, public “motortainment”, motorsport/auto support services and business park.
ABOUT SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK
Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP, originally known as Eastern Creek International Raceway) was officially opened in 1990 and is owned by the NSW Government. It has been operated by the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC) since 1997.
It is Sydney’s only permanent racetrack, and one of just two permanent race circuits in Australia that holds a FIA/FIM Grade 2 International Licence. The purpose-built 92ha motorsport facility west of Sydney features four race circuit configurations to suit a number of motorsport activities; the Brabham Circuit, Gardner GP, Druitt (North) and Amaroo (South). SMSP is also Sydney’s main hub for driver safety, education and vehicle testing, featuring a floodable Skidpan, Skid Circuit, and 4WD training track.
The North Paddock boasts fifty garages lining pit lane, offering easy access for transporters and a secure base for cars, bikes, equipment and personnel. The support paddock has a bitumen surface, a dummy grid for fifty cars, multiple carports and a scrutineering building.