Address: The Bend Motorsport Park, Cnr Dukes Highway & Mallee Highway,5260 Tailem Bend, Australia
PH: +61 (08) 8333 9777
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Australia's newest motorsport facility, The Bend Motorsports Park is aptly named, boasting a complex of circuits which can host almost any form of wheeled activity. As well as one of the longest FIA Grade 2/ FIM Grade A-standard permanent circuits in the world, the site also houses a multi-purpose stadium facility for drifting, karting and rallycross; a quarter mile drag strip; off road courses and hiking and biking trails.
The facility is the brainchild of the Shahin family-owned Peregrine Corporation, which announced plans in 2015 with the South Australian Government to redevelop the former Mitsubishi test track at Tailem Bend, one hour south-east of Adelaide. The Shahins are keen motor racing enthusiasts and it has been reported that they regularly hire Phillip Island and Hidden Valley for private track days.
The AUS $100 million project includes State and Federal Government contributions of $7.5 million each and was originally known as South Australian Motorsport Park, until it adopted its new name.
Final planning approval was granted in May 2015 with construction commencing in March the following year. The plans certainly did not lack in ambition, calling for a 7.7km circuit, second only to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in length. South Australian civil construction company Lucas won the contract to build the facility.
Construction progressed well, with the work focusing on the initial groundworks and layout, before development of 34-garage pit lane complex began in February 2017. In an interesting twist, the four storey building incorporates luxury hotel accommodation on its upper floors, with 100 four-star rooms of varying configurations, from twin share, king rooms and suites. Rooms have balconies overlooking the pit lane and track but are well insulated with double glazing to provide a sanctuary away from the action when desired.
Rydges Pit Lane Hotel began taking bookings from December 2017 ahead of the official opening of the facility for its first racing events in early April 2018. Elsewhere in the pit building is a function centre, with multiple rooms which can host from 20 to 600 people, with premium catering services.
The track itself combines technical corners, fast flowing sections and an aggregate rise and fall of 85 metres to ensure exciting racing and an enjoyable drive. With a full total of eight configurations, it can accommodate a wide range of racing and driving activity.
The challenging 7.77km long GT Circuit is the second longest permanent race track in the world and suitable for GT and endurance racing as well as the perfect drive experience. At 4.95km long, the International Circuit is likely to form the mainstay for racing action and will be the layout used for the visit of Supercars, Superbikes and national series events right through to state racing, club racing and private hire.
As it includes the main pit straight, the 3.41km West and West Plus configurations will be used for most short track events including club racing, testing, sprints, cruising events and driver/rider training.
With its own, smaller pit building, the 3.93km East Circuit can be run independently from the West Circuit. This configuration is suitable for driver/rider training, drifting, testing, club days and private days.
In addition to these main five configurations, the West Circuit can be further divided into North and South West Loops and a Sprint variant. These configurations are suitable for short track events, drive experiences, testing and private track days. The North and South West Loops can be run simultaneously.
The circuit held its first event in January 2018 - the Revolve24 Endurance Cycling Challenge - ahead of its opening motorsport event, a round of the Shannons Nationals in April, quickly followed by the Australian Superbikes and Asia Road Racing Championships combined event. The headline event, however, is the August visit, on the International Circuit, of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, for The Bend SuperSprint.
Circuit bosses are also pitching MotoGP bosses to attract a round of the World Championships from 2019 onwards.
The Bend Motorsport Park is located at Elwomple, near Tailem Bend in South Australia. It is an hour's drive from Adelaide, straight down the South Eastern Freeway, where the nearest international airport can be found.
For those coming from Sydney or Melbourne, The Bend Motorsport Park is located at the junction between the Mallee and Dukes Highways.
The main entrance is on the East side of the Dukes Highway unless advised otherwise (eg. for special events).
See LinkSA for bus routes within the Murray region.