Oran Park Raceway - History


The circuit was established by the Singer Car Club, with its opening meeting held on the weekend of 17–18 February 1962. A motorcycle race meeting was held on 17 February 1963, with reigning Grand Prix Champion Jim Redman being the star attraction. Redman won nearly every class and set the lap record of 50.4 seconds, only 0.8 seconds slower than Frank Matich's outright time set in a 2.6 litre Lotus Sports Car.

The original lap distance of 1.0 miles (1.6 km) was later extended to 1.21 miles (1.9 km) with a further extension in 1974 creating an alternative “Grand Prix” circuit of 1.63 miles (2.62 km) in length. The Grand Prix circuit featured a figure-eight shape with a bridge where the track crossed over itself. Despite the loop the racing direction was still regarded as being anticlockwise.

The complex also had a motocross track, a skidpan, a dirt track and four wheel drive course and a 1000 foot drag strip. Most of the circuit was visible from the main grandstand or the grassed banks surrounding the track.

Oran Park was used regularly for rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship, V8 Supercar Championship Series, Australian Drivers' Championship and Australian Sports Sedan Championship. The Australian Grand Prix was held at Oran Park in 1974 and 1977. In the 1970s the circuit attracted large crowds for the popular Toby Lee Series, initially run for Series Production Touring Cars and later for Sports Sedans. The inaugural Rothmans 500 for Touring Cars was staged in 1977 but the 1978 event was to be the second and last running of this endurance race. Shorter touring car endurance races would continue to be held at Oran Park during the 1980s and apart from the Sandown and Bathurst classics would last the longest before fading interest caused the compression of the endurance season to just those two events. The final such Oran Park enduro would be the 1989 Pepsi 300 won by Andrew Miedecke and Andrew Bagnall driving a Ford Sierra RS500. The final V8 Supercar round was held in December 2008, won by Garth Tander.

Two international meetings were held in 1988 and 1989, playing host to the Superbike World Championship. Australia's future five time 500cc Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan easily won both races in 1988 on his Yamaha FZR750 while Australians Peter Goddard and Michael Dowson won the 1989 rounds heat races also riding the Yahama FZR750.

The land on which the racetrack was located was sold to the Government of New South Wales for a new housing development. This led to the eventual closure of the track and ended 48 years of motorsport heritage at the facility. The last motorcycle race meeting, the BelRay 6 Hour, was held on 21–22 November 2009. The final race meeting was scheduled for 23–24 January 2010 but was cancelled due to a lack of entries. This meant that the Independent Race Series event on 16 January 2010 was in fact the last race meeting to be held at the circuit. The circuit continued to run open track days, where the public could drive road cars and motorbikes around the full circuit. The last ever day before the track closed for good was Monday 25 January 2010.

Read more about this topic:  Oran Park Raceway

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