Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit - History - Grand Prix Circuit

Grand Prix Circuit

In 1951, a group of six local businessmen decided to build a new track. About 2 km away from the original circuit, it still bears the corner name signs of the original circuit. As the piece of available land was on the edge of the coast, the track is known for its steep grades – the highest 57 metres – which caused cost overruns and delays in track opening. The new track was opened in 1956 and in 1960 the first Armstrong 500 production car race was held at the circuit. Extensive damage resulted from the running of the 1962 Armstrong 500, and, with the circuit owners unable to finace repairs, the race was moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst in New South Wales.

The circuit reopened in October 1967 and hosted the Phillip Island 500K endurance race, a round of the Australian Manufacturers' Championship, from 1971 to 1977. But again, due to its testing terrain, the circuit required much maintenance and slowly declined through the 1970s. It was farmed by its owners while closed and was then sold in 1985 in preparation for reopening, but did not do so until 1989 after agreement on a long term lease and rebuild agreement. The World Motorcycle Championship gave the circuit a grand re-opening in 1989 with a race long dice in the 500 cc division between Wayne Gardner, Wayne Rainey, Christian Sarron and Kevin Magee. The race was won by Gardner to the delight of the huge crowd. It hosted its first World Superbike race in 1990. Mathew Close won the first race in 1990 by 11.31 sec. The Australian Touring Car Championship also returned in 1990 with Dick Johnson winning.

Read more about this topic:  Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, History

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