Since 1952, the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club’s love of motorsport has helped entrench its high standing and recognised reputation as a leader in circuit and race management from Catalina, Mt Druitt, Bathurst and Amaroo Park, to Sydney Motorsport Park since 1996.
The ARDC advocates for all forms of racing and is unwavering in its support of grassroots racing and the needs of both drivers & riders. In more recent times it has further evolved its role as an enabler of future development in the area of motorsport-driven technology and skills development.
The ARDC’s vision for the Australian Motorsport Innovation Precinct at Sydney Motorsport Park is to establish a world-class, circuit-located, dynamic destination for future innovation in motorsport.
We will focus on several key areas including race and team development, precision engineering & technology, mobility studies, race and industry education and skills development, sustainability including new power sources such as solar, electric and hydrogen, motorsport safety, as well as allied industry business development.
The ARDC shall establish the above by partnering with the best – in search of the best – within a collaborative and competitive High-Performance Technology and Motorsport (HPTM) cluster.
In 2012, a major new 830m Brabham Circuit track extension and Amaroo South Circuit pit lane and race garages facility were delivered allowing two racetracks to run simultaneously and offer new configurations (resulting in an immediate 30% capacity uplift).
The ARDC used this opportunity to undertake a major renaming and venue rebranding project converting the historical Eastern Creek International Raceway to the more vibrant and forward facing Sydney Motorsport Park.
This success lead to the track once again running at full capacity: 360+ days a year and over 600 individual events annually. This was limiting growth for all levels of motorsport from professional through to grass roots. The ARDC identified broadcast quality track lighting at SMSP as a catalyst for greater capacity, new major events, tourism experiences and the opportunity to establish a night-time economy at the venue. Circuit lighting would also act as an all-important enabler for emerging participation at SMSP from the education, transport, automotive innovation and start-up sectors.
The ARDC embarks on a worldwide study, including a UK visit to the Silverstone racetrack, the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the adjoining Silverstone Innovation and Technology Precinct and motorsport industry-led Silverstone University Technical College. These high-level discussions on how to develop an integrated motorsport precinct offering innovation, education, high-performance race teams, and new technology and start-ups helped shaped the new long-term strategy for SMSP.
motoDNA Technology (an offshoot of the successful SMSP-based motoDNA Riders Academy) and partnered with global powerhouse Yamaha commences an on-site residency to develop innovative new rider-safety technology at SMSP. The winning concept put forward by the management in attracting motoDNA and Yamaha was “speed to market”. The ARDC was able to guarantee that the partnership could write code one day at SMSP, and road test the technology on track the next – a timeline that often expanded into weeks and months in existing test markets like Japan and the United States.
The ARDC and NSW Government accelerate the transformation program in 2019 to underwrite a $16m Track Lighting project. Almost 120 thirty-metre light towers holding 864 lights across all circuit configurations, beaming up to 800 Lux along the main circuit. Supported by over 20km of conduit and fibre optic to provide the backbone for SMSP’s Information and Communication Technology.
At the media announcement, NSW Government Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres stated that:
“Adding lights to Sydney Motorsport Park will make it more attractive for major events and allow motor enthusiasts to enjoy a lot more track time. This will make Sydney Motorsport Park the Silverstone of the Southern Hemisphere.”
The ARDC joins forces with highly successful technology advisory and investment organisation, PMY Group. An Australian and global leader in the deployment of technology in over 100 major sporting and entertainment venues around the world.
PMY Group Managing Director, Paul Yeomans notes “Our first stage $4m investment in partnership with the ARDC will develop a world class technology solution focused on dramatically enhancing the event day experience through high impact fan engagement concepts, best-in-class wi-fi capability and features, dynamic brand, content and sponsor integrations, and a Smart Operating Platform to maximise operational efficiencies and capture venue visitation, real-time customer data and business intelligence. “
The ARDC’s World Class Motorsport Precinct stakes shape.
By 2022 over $52.5m will have been invested in Sydney Motorsport Park (60% NSW State Government, 40% ARDC). By 2021 the ARDC has entered into several new collaboration Memorandums of Understanding with industry and education partners, ensuring that the Australian Motorsport Innovation Precinct is already roiling wheels well before the Stage One building opens its doors.
AMIP’s Stage One building to open its doors Q2, 2023.
From the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club’s humble beginnings in 1952 (with world motorsport and engineering legend Sir Jack Brabham as Member # 4), the Club can now genuinely claim to be spearheading the future of motorsport in Australia both on and off the track, and Sydney Motorsport Park as the true home of Australian Motorsport.