Townsville Street Circuit Quickly Became One of the Most Popular Tracks
Townsville Street Circuit is the youngest venue on the calendar of the Australian V8 Supercars Championship, with the first race taking place in 2009 and quickly becoming one of the favourite events for drivers and teams. The temporary street circuit, which is 2.85 km (1.78 miles) long, is located in Townsville, on the north-eastern coast of Queensland.
Third V8 Supercars event in Queensland
At the mid-2000s, the most popular Australian racing series had been looking for new venues in urban population centers. Finally, in 2007, a decision was made to visit Townsville. Two years later, in July 2009, the Townsville 400 was held as the sixth round of the V8 Supercars Championship. It became one of three Queensland’s V8SC events, together with races at Queensland Raceway and Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, but the only event in the northern Queensland.
Permanent facilities were built in Reid Park
With the support of the state and local governments, which invested almost AUS $30 million, the permanent pit and paddock facilities were built within Reid Park, similar to Melbourne’s Albert Park facilities. The plan was to use the facilities for many other events when the track not being used for the once-a-year V8 Supercars event.
The 13-turn 2.85-km circuit isn’t easy to tame
Five viewing mounds with a capacity of 12,000 spectators were built around the 2.85 long circuit which has 13 turns. The new track incorporated the existing Boundary Street and Charters Towers Road, with the rest being new purpose-built roads. A new bridge was also built across Ross Creek near the Townsville Rail Station. Townsville circuit has proved a tough circuit to tame, offering a mix of wide road course parts and concrete-bordered street sections.
150,000 spectators visited inaugural event
Jamie Whincup was the first ever winner, winning the first 200-km race of the Dunlop Townsville 400 on Saturday, June 11, 2009. James Courtney has won Sunday’s race. The first ever V8 Supercars event in the North Queensland was an absolute success, as around 150,000 spectators visited a track in three days. The Queensland State Government contributed with $2.5 million in expenses of the race and said it would pay the same amount in the following years. With such a high attendance and financial backing, a future of the event was guaranteed.
Five wins for Jamie Whincup in eight races
In 2010, Sucrogen became a title sponsor of the race. Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom were the winners. A year later, Garth Tander scored his first win in Townsville, Jamie Whincup triumphed for the third time. In 2012, Whincup won both races. Whincup’s domination at the streets of Townsville ended in 2013 when Will Davison and Garth Tander were the winners.
Three-race format in 2014
The format of the race had been changed in 2014, with two 125-km races on Saturday and one 250-km race on Sunday. Castrol was the new naming sponsor. Whincup was a double winner, Garth Tander won the second race.
Whincup reached eighth win in 2016
In 2015, the event reverted to the original 400-km format, with two 200-km races. Mark Winterbottom was a double winner. In 2016, Jamie Whincup won the first race of the Castrol Edge Townsville 400, reaching top podium spot for the 8th time. His teammate Shane van Gisbergen was the winner in the second race.
New naming sponsor for 2017
Watpac becomes a new naming sponsor for the Townsville event in 2017. The event features two races again.
In November 2017, a new street circuit in Newcastle, New South Wales, will become the youngest fixture on the V8 Supercars calendar.
Christopher Mies is a lap-record holder
Besides Supercars, many other Australian racing competitions visited Townsville during supporting programs for V8SC event, such were Australian GT Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup, Mini Challenge, Formula 4, Formula Ford or Stadium Super Trucks, Dunlop Supercar Series, V8 Ute Racing Series or Aussie Racing Cars.
The outright lap record was set by German driver Christopher Mies during the Australian GT Championship race in July 2016. He was driving an Audi R8 LMS, setting a lap time of 1:11.9875. The fastest ever V8SC driver (until 2016) was Jamie Whincup with Holden VF Commodore, who set the best lap time of 1:12.1443 in 2016.
Photos: theherald.com.au, speedcafe.com, gettyimages.com,