Made up of roads open to the public most of the year, Bathurst’s legendary Mount Panorama circuit is only available for a handful of races, but that’s set to change with the addition of a second, dedicated circuit adjacent to Mount Panorama.
The Mount’s existing tarmac configuration has existed for over a century and the first motorsport event on the 6.2km circuit was held in 1938. It is still regularly used by tourists, along with the local residents who rely on it for their daily commutes — especially those lucky few whose driveways connect directly to the circuit. That’s one reason race organizers are restricted in available dates throughout the year.
It’s also for that reason that the Bathurst City Council is planning a second circuit on roughly 500 acres just southwest. A new 4.5km circuit will include two shorter configurations at 3km and 2km respectively, meeting FIA’s Grade 2 and FIM’s Grade A specifications. The plan includes a ‘non-competition’ drag strip and a 1.26km rallycross track. Future improvements include a hotel and a driver training centre.
Costs are looking north of A$50 million, meaning the second circuit won’t be cheaper. However, the New South Wales government considers the second circuit a State Significant Development and has committed $15 million, while the Australian federal government has pledged $12.5 million, leaving the Bathurst Regional Council to come up with the remaining $24.5 million.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2021 and take two years. The Australian Supercar series is expected to use the track, although no plans have been announced to abandon the historic Mount Panorama circuit.