Adelaide Grand Prix track saved from being ripped up
A push to rip up sections of the Adelaide Grand Prix circuit within Victoria Park has failed, with the Adelaide City Council to instead investigate state heritage options for the track. It comes as a return of the Adelaide 500 race appears unlikely.
The Adelaide Parklands Circuit hosted the Australian F1 Grand Prix from 1985 until it moved to Melbourne in 1996, and more recently, the Adelaide 500 Supercars before being canned by the SA Government.
An inner-city residents’ group unsuccessfully sought the support of Adelaide City Council to remove large parts of the concrete and bitumen track at its meeting on Tuesday night, arguing it has become an “urban heat island” during hot weather.
The Reimagining Victoria Park group had lobbied Greg Mackie to support replacing large sections of the 1200-metre stretch of track with trees, however the proposal triggered heavy criticism when it came out in the media on Sunday, resulting in a significantly changed motion.
Reimagining Victoria Park spokesman, Professor Doug McEvoy, told the meeting heat mapping had shown it could become “unusable” within 10 to 15 years because of climate change and that the council needed to “climate proof” the park by “significantly extending the tree canopy to provide shade and by removing as many hard surfaces as is feasible”.
Prof McEvoy went as far as saying “Victoria Park is no longer fit for purpose in the summer months,” and “this situation will only worsen, rendering the park uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps even months on end unless something is done.”
Cr Hyde said he did not disagree with the park needing more trees, only that more planning was required, and the track should be protected because of its historical sporting significance.
“It was the Formula One Grand Prix track that put Adelaide on the global map, so to speak, and it is definitely a culturally significant asset,” he said.
The sections of the track within Victoria Park remain popular with cyclists, solar cars and pedal prix race participants, while it is also currently serving as the state’s main covid testing site.
The iconic Adelaide 500 Supercars race at the Parklands circuit was suddenly axed by the South Australian Government last October, with Premier Steve Marshall claiming the uncertainty around COVID-19 presented an “insurmountable hurdle in the plight to deliver a successful race.”
At its peak, the street race attracted crowds of 300,000 across the four days, having been a fixture on the Supercars calendar for two decades, however the government is seemingly not interested in seeing it return.
Despite South Australia's opposition leader, Peter Malinauskas, promising to bring back the race if he wins the next state election in March 2022, the State Government has proceeded to sell off infrastructure used for the event.
It was reported in April this year, just five months after the race was canned, that an overpass, fencing, and concrete barriers would be sent to the privately-owned The Bend Motorsport Park near Tailem Bend for an upcoming Supercars event.
Grandstand seating and other assets would be auctioned off or gifted, while the fate of the purpose-built pit straight building was yet to be determined.
“There is a significant amount of items in storage and it is the financially responsible decision to divest equipment that is not required,” a South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) spokesperson said.