Adelaide Street Circuit - From the Australian Grand Prix to Clipsal 500
The Adelaide Street Circuit is a temporary road course located in the city center of the South Australian capital city of Adelaide.
The first race was held in 1985
This interesting street circuit was used for the first time in 1985 when it hosted the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. Earlier, local authorities signed a seven-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone to organize an F1 race in the streets of Adelaide and soon after, the project of making the circuit in the city center was revealed.
A lot of work had to be done. Many laws had to be changed before the first race around Victoria Park Racecourse was chosen as the venue. Engineer Bob Barnard created a track which mostly was made out of existing roads with a purposely built section incorporated in 3.78 km long track which had 16 turns. A total of 2.142 concrete barriers were made, temporary pit building and stands were erected and the stage was set for the first Formula 1 Grand Prix in Adelaide.
Formula 1 was visiting Adelaide for 11 years
The Australian Grand Prix was held in Adelaide for 11 years and many spectacular moments have happened there. Keke Rosberg won the inaugural race, Nigel Mansell lost the championship battle in 1986 after a tire blow.
The shortest Formula 1 race was held in Adelaide in 1991. Torrential rain that happened during the race won by Ayrton Senna was stopped after just 16 out of the scheduled 81 laps.
Legendary Brazilian scored his final win in Adelaide in 1993, while in 1994 Michael Schumacher won the first out of his seven titles after one of the most controversial races in the history of the series and the clash with Damon Hill. The British driver won the last Grand Prix in 1995 before the race was moved to Melbourne.
The British driver holds a lap record – 1:15.381 – set in 1993 Australian Grand Prix. Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, and Gerhard Berger are the most successful drivers at Adelaide Circuit with two wins in their books. McLaren was the most successful team with five wins, while Williams’ drivers won on four occasions.
The first and only ALMS race on the New Year’s Eve
However, that wasn’t the last race held at Adelaide Grand Prix circuit. In 2000, the final round of the American Le Mans Series was held there in front of more than 100.000 spectators, at the New Year’s Eve. The Audi Sports team with drivers Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello, and Brad Jones won the race which was shortened due to time constraints.
V8 Supercars race is the main event since 1999
When Formula 1 left Adelaide, the sound of racing machines was silenced. It was in 1999 when the street circuit was revived for the Adelaide 500 race of V8 Supercars Championship. That race soon became one of the series’ trademarks and over the years became more than a race after being recognized on several occasions as the winner of the ‘Major Festivals & Events’ category at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Except for the V8 Supercars race, Adelaide Street Circuit is used for some other national motorsport events, as well as for many other events, like annual Toy Run charity event for underprivileged children.
The old Grand Prix circuit was shortened in 1999 while some parts of the track in Victoria Park were modified several times. The last modification so far was done in 2009. Since then, the track is 3.219 km long and has 14 turns. The Clipsal 500 at Adelaide Street Circuit is one of the most grueling and most dynamic races on the V8 Supercars calendar.
Over the years, Adelaide Street Circuit went through several improvements to raise the safety level. On the other side, more than $20 million was spent for construction of a new pit building as well as in upgrading the accommodation for the spectators. The Clipsal 500 is definitely one of the best-visited races of the V8 Supercars Championship, with almost 300.000 people showing up for the race during the weekend.
Address: Clipsal 500, PO Box V8, Kent Town, SA 5071, Australia
Phone: +61 8 8212 8500