OCTOBER 22, 2013: SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK’S iconic Grand Prix circuit will now be known as the ‘Gardner GP Circuit’, honouring Australia’s first winner of the 500cc Motorcycle World Championships and iconic MotoGP legend, Wayne Gardner.
Gardner’s success in MotoGP and his World Championship win in 1987 saw a resurgence in the popularity of motorbike racing and motorsport in general, and was instrumental in the NSW Government building the Eastern Creek circuit as a home for future Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. Eastern Creek International Raceway was born in November 10, 1990. Since then, the GP circuit has hosted major international events such as the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars, the A1GP, Top Gear Festival Sydney and World Time Attack Challenge. In 2012, a rebrand and rebuild of the raceway, now Sydney Motorsport Park (SMSP), saw track upgrades that enabled the original GP circuit to be run in its original 3.7km configuration, or be expanded to incorporate a new 800m section of track, named The ‘Brabham Circuit’ after Australian motorsport legend Sir Jack Brabham.
The design also offers the ability to split the tracks into two circuits that can race concurrently: the North Circuit, named Druitt, and the South, named Amaroo, after two of the past home circuits of the 61-year-old race club. The renaming of the original GP circuit was held until Gardner returned to Australia from his new base in Spain, where his teenage sons Remy and Luca of Team Gardner Racing are successfully campaigning in the Moto3 and CMV championships.
Gardner and his sons visited SMSP yesterday, and honoured with the official circuit naming in a presentation by the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club (ARDC), operators of the track since 1996. “We are thrilled to have Wayne Gardner and his sons here for this announcement,” said ARDC CEO Glenn Matthews.
“Through the process of finding a new name for the GP circuit, it was universally agreed by the Board and the Circuit Naming Committee that our original circuit should be named after the man whose success brought new life into Australian motorsport in 1987, and ultimately led to the construction of the GP circuit.”
Gardner and his sons also drove a ceremonial lap of theGardner GP circuit, along with members of the ARDC Board and 15 ARDC Bike Members. “This is a complete surprise, and I am honoured and delighted that such a great track is now going to be known as the Gardner GP Circuit,” said Gardner at the presentation. “We are coming back [from Spain, where Team Gardner Racing is now based] in Christmas, and I cannot wait to take a bike – and a car – around this circuit again at speed,” he enthused.
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