Racing by the sea at the Phillip Island Circuit
The Phillip Island Circuit, or the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, which is also the name used for this venue, is a permanent road track on Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia.
The first Phillip Island Grand Prix race
The first race at Phillip Island was held back in 1928, on the local closed public roads. The length of the rectangle gravel course with four similar corners was 9.7 km for the cars and 16 km for the motorcycles. The motorcycling Australian Grand Prix was the main event on this track that was used until the end of the World War II.
Video : V8 Supercars lap around Phillip Island Circuit
A new circuit was ready after a long time
A group of local businessmen decided to build a new track in 1951, with its location being near the old one. The terrain wasn’t perfect for building a racing course, so the construction lasted longer than it was planned and the costs were higher than it was expected. Finally, the new racing venue was opened in 1956, and four years later, the first car race called Armstrong 500 was held.
Missed opportunity of becoming the most important Australian circuit
The Phillip Island Circuit missed a chance to be the host of probably the most eminent race in Australia. The circuit owners were short of money and they couldn’t finance repairing of the track, so the circuit had to be closed and Armstrong 500 race was moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst, later to become the famous Bathurst 1000 classic.
Luckily, the Phillip Island Circuit was reopened in 1967, hosting a round of the Australian Manufacturers’ Championship and also the round of the Australian Touring Cars Championship in 1976 and 1977, the competition which later was renamed to V8 Supercars. But, the use of this track did not last for long. Due to steep terrain and other circumstances, the circuit required constant maintenance which was too expensive. As a result, the venue was closed once again and finally, the owners decided to sell the circuit in 1985.
‘Bridging’ reconstruction requirements
New owners had new plans for the Phillip Island Circuit, but a lot of work and unexpected problems were just around the corner. The main bridge from the island to the mainland couldn’t carry heavy machines needed for the reconstruction and resurfacing. When the bridge was rebuilt, conditions for the complete renovation of the track were met.
Home of V8 Supercars and various motorcycling events
The construction was finished in 1988, and in December, Phillip Island Circuit was reopened with its track shortened to 4.445 km. The venue hosted Motorcycle races again on a new asphalt track with 12 turns. Australian Touring Cars Championship returned to the Phillip Island for the first time since 1977 and became one of the main events in the season. When the series was renamed to V8 Supercars, Phillip Island Circuit, which got new owners in 2004, hosted both sprint and endurance races of the series. Nowadays, Phillips Island Circuit is one of the best racing venues in Australia and meets almost all the criteria for the major international competitions.
During the early 1990s, Phillip Island Circuit was a popular place for pre-season testing by World Sportscar Championship teams and also by some Japanese Formula 3000 teams. The record lap time holder is Simon Wills. He set the time of 1:24.2215 in 2000, driving a Reynard 94D Holden.
Address: Back beach Rd, Phillip Island VIC 3922, Australia
Phone: +61 3 5952 2710
Official website: phillipislandcircuit.com.au