New South Wales (NSW), apart from Bathurst (Mt Panorama), has lost out over the years to Melbourne in terms of hosting premiere motor racing events such as Formula 1, MotoGP, and World Superbike. Even the WRC round in Coffs Harbour is closer to Brisbane than Sydney.
With there being only one true GP length circuit in NSW, track day goers are still able to find a handful of smaller circuits which can get the adrenaline going. Thankfully there are even more circuits planned after years of losing circuits to suburbanisation consuming iconic racing venues.
Below are all the (known) circuits in New South Wales (NSW) Australia and those that are in the pipeline (leaving out street circuits). Feel free to tell me if I’ve missed any!
Sydney Motorsport Park (aka Eastern Creek)
The unofficial home of New South Wales motorsport, Sydney Motorsport Park holds most of not all of the state’s premier events such as Supercars and Australian Superbikes. It was briefly home to the Australian round of the 500cc (MotoGP) World Championship between 1991 and 1996 before handing it back over to Phillip Island. With the longest straight in NSW and at 3.93 km (2.44 mi) it’s also the longest circuit and is one of only two circuits in Australia with an FIA Grade 2 International license. Fairly recent upgrades have ensured it continues to provide track days and events to all kinds of vehicles.
Wakefield Park is another old circuit in NSW, and has hosted just about every tarmac national series over the years. It’s a small circuit at 2.200 km (1.367 mi) but one with a couple of challenging corners. Situated in the south it can get quite cold and frosty in winter months. It’s a great circuit for first timers and with plenty of run-off and a relaxed atmosphere.
Luddenham circuit is a relatively new kid on the block and has taken a somewhat more modern approach to others with a slick website, fantastic organisation and communication, offering more services throughout the day, and with pricing that won’t make your eyes bleed.
Like Wakefield, it’s a relatively short circuit but with an interesting layout, some elevation changes, and a green backdrop although a little shorter at 1.4km.
Pheasant Wood Circuit
Smaller again is the Pheasant Wood Circuit at roughly 1km. It’s a circuit that’s stayed in the shadows of the old guard Sydney Motorsports Park and Wakefield most likely down to exposure and size. Another small circuit perfect for classics, less powerful machinery, or those who prefer technical challenges rather than big long straights. The bush atmosphere gives a uniquely Australian vibe.
Ringwood Park Motoring Complex (Circuit Italia)
Run by the MG Car Club of Newcastle, the Ringwood Park Motoring Complex is a small tarmac and dirt facility which hosts mostly hill climb, dirt, and driver training events. Another great layout for classic cars and smaller capacity vehicles, or to simply hone your technical skills.
Dean Wills is an ex-Coke Cola executive (and ex-McLaren F1 road car owner) who lost his license and decided to build his own circuit in retaliation. A private facility, track days are not openly advertised as it usually plays host to corporate events, race teams, and a select few exotic car clubs. At 5.1km and with two long straights it eclipses Sydney Motorsport Park. This is where exotica can be truly unleashed, it’s just a shame it’s not built for everyone.
Bathurst is synonymous with Mt Panorama, the long treacherous road circuit which has found its place amongst the greats for good reason. However, when there aren’t races, it’s a public road limited to 60kph (96mph). Boring.
Now investors, Bathurst council, and UK-based Apex Circuit Design have joined forces to bring a second permanent circuit just south of the mountain. Having just secured another round of funding, the future looks promising. A larger GP sized layout catering to both cars and bikes will hopefully see the Australian round of the World Superbike Championship move to Bathurst.
The layout looks brilliant, the location important, and having another GP-level circuit in NSW much needed. Bring it on.
Most of the circuits in NSW are either out west, or down south leaving the north sorely lacking in track action. That’s where Casar Park comes in. Promising a decent size and layout, it should give drivers and riders of the central coast and further north a place to call home.
Funding is underway, the website is in place, interest is building but red tape is ensuring this is no easy process. Most circuits need to be removed from suburban areas lest they be consumed by (over)population. This means finding suitable land which oftentimes requires careful consideration for wildlife and ecosystems. Hopefully investors will help get Casar through this and make a much needed facility a reality.