Oran Park Raceway

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Oran Park Raceway
Track map for Oran Park--Grand Prix circuit.svg
Grand Prix Circuit
Location Narellan, New South Wales
Time zone UTC +10
Coordinates 34°00′22″S 150°44′2″E / 34.00611°S 150.73389°E / -34.00611; 150.73389Coordinates: 34°00′22″S 150°44′2″E / 34.00611°S 150.73389°E / -34.00611; 150.73389
Opened February 1962
Closed January 2010
Major events V8 Supercars
Australian Grand Prix
Superbike World Championship
Castrol 6 Hour
Grand Prix Circuit
Length 2.620 km (1.62 mi)
Turns 12
Lap record 1:01.6718 (Tim Leahey, Reynard 92D Holden, 2000, Formula Holden)
Motorcycle Grand Prix Circuit
Length 2.625 km (1.62 mi)
Turns 13
Lap record 1:10.2005 (Mat Mladin, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R, 1995, Superbikes)
South Circuit
Length 1.960 km (1.218 mi)
Turns 7
Lap record 0:37.73 (Paul Stokell, Reynard 91D Holden, 1994, Formula Holden)
North Circuit
Length 0.660 km (0.410 mi)
Turns 6
North Circuit
South Circuit

Oran Park Raceway was a motor racing circuit at Narellan in southwestern Sydney, New South Wales, Australia which was operational from February 1962 until its closure in January 2010.

History[edit]

The circuit was established by the Singer Car Club, with its opening meeting held on the weekend of 17–18 February 1962.[1] A motorcycle race meeting was held on 17 February 1963, with reigning Grand Prix Champion Jim Redman being the star attraction.[2] 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)[3] with a further extension in 1974[4] creating an alternative “Grand Prix” circuit of 1.63 miles (2.62 km) in length.[3] 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.

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.[5] This meant that the Independent Race Series event on 16 January 2010[6] 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.

Australian Grand Prix[edit]

Oran Park twice hosted the Australian Grand Prix during its 42 years of operation, with both events held for Formula 5000 cars. The first Grand Prix held at Oran Park in 1974 was won by Max Stewart driving a Lola T330 Chevrolet. The last time the circuit hosted the event was in 1977 when Warwick Brown drove his Lola T430 Chevrolet to victory.

Australian Touring Car Championship[edit]

Oran Park Raceway has hosted a round of the Australian Touring Car Championship every year since 1971. 2008 was the final year of Oran Park in the V8 Supercar Championship Series. Allan Moffat and Mark Skaife are the most successful drivers at Oran Park in the ATCC, with six round wins each.

The first ever race in 1971 saw Moffat in his Ford Boss 302 Mustang and Bob Jane driving his 427 cui powered Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 go into the round on 31 and 34 points respectively with Moffat needing to either win or score more 3 or more points than Jane to claim the title. With both drivers starting from the front row a capacity crowd saw a titanic struggle with Jane claiming the win from Moffat and securing his 3rd ATCC championship. In a bizarre happening during the race, a spectator driving a road registered Valiant drove through an open gate and onto the circuit. The race went on and the driver managed to complete a few laps before exiting the circuit.

Superbike World Championship[edit]

Oran Park twice played host to the Superbike World Championship. It hosted the second last round of the inaugural season of the championship in 1988, and also hosted the second last round in 1989 (since 1990 the Australian round has been held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria).

Australia's future five time 500cc Motorcycle World Champion Mick Doohan easily won both races in 1988 on his Yamaha FZR750, while fellow Australians Peter Goddard and Michael Dowson won the 1989 rounds heat races also riding the Yahama FZR750.

NASCAR / AUSCAR[edit]

During the mid-1990s, the Australian NASCAR and AUSCAR series raced at Oran Park, utilising the 1.96 km South Circuit, with the track's lights upgraded to allow for night racing. The night races at Oran Park were a popular edition to the series, which other than one off support races at the Bathurst 1000 the Gold Coast Indy 300, had previously run exclusively on the only paved oval tracks in Australia, the Bob Jane owned Calder Park Thunderdome in Melbourne and the Speedway Super Bowl at the Adelaide International Raceway.

Lap records[edit]

Lap records shown are for the Grand Prix circuit. Italics indicate use of short circuit.[7][8][9]

As a comparison, in November 1974, Warwick Brown set the outright lap record on the then new "Grand Prix Circuit" with a 1:05.2 lap in a Lola T332-Chevrolet Formula 5000. Ten years later in August 1984, John Bowe set the outright lap record of 1:03.9 in a Ralt RT4-Ford (1.6L) Formula Mondial. When the circuit closed in 2010, the outright lap record stood at 1:01.6718 by Tim Leahey in a Reynard 92D-Holden (3.8L) Formula Holden set in July 2000. Note that in mid-1984 the circuit was changed slightly with the addition of a straight run after turn 3 heading to what was turn 5 and eliminating what was turn 4. This made turn 3, and subsequently the new turn 4, slightly faster and gave the Grand Prix Circuit 12 corners instead of 13. The result was an overall improvement in lap times of approximately 0.5 to 1 second per lap. Motorbikes continued to use the pre-1984 sequence of turns until one year before the circuits closure.

Class Driver Vehicle Time Date
Outright Tim Leahey Reynard 92D Holden 1:01.6718 30/07/00
Racing Cars
Formula Mondial Andrew Miedecke Ralt RT4 Ford 0:39.9 21/08/83
Formula Holden Tim Leahey Reynard 92D Holden 1:01.6718 30/07/00
Formula Three Michael Caruso Dallara 301 Fiat 1:03.9747 13/07/03
Formula 5000 Warwick Brown Lola T332 Chevrolet 1:05.2 17/11/74
Australian Formula 2 Jon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 VW 1:05.8 08/06/86
Formula Ford Steven Richards Van Diemen RF94 1:11.5614 24/07/94
Formula Vee 1200 Benjamin Porter Jacer 1:21.9271 19/07/03
Formula Vee 1600 Ryan Simpson Jacer F2k6 1:18.8632 19/06/06
Sports Cars
Group A Sports Cars Bap Romano Romano WE84-Cosworth 0:41.1 19/08/84
Sports Sedan Kerry Baily Nissan 300ZX-Chevrolet 1:06.8983 28/07/01
Nations Cup Paul Stokell Lamborghini Diablo GT 1:08.6267 13/07/03
Carrera Cup Alex Davison Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 1:09.6224 13/08/03
Production Sports Cars Tim Mackie Lotus Elise HPE 1:10.9768 31/05/09
GT Championship David Wall Dodge Viper GTS ACR 1:11.2863 07/05/06
Invitation Sports Cars Stan Adler Porsche 911 Coupe 1:15.6234 30/08/98
GT Performance Bob Pearson Mazda RX-7 1:16.0830 13/07/03
Aussie Racing Cars Nick Percat ARC Falcon-Yamaha 1:16.6124 12/08/06
MG-F Trophy Warren Luff MG-F Trophy 1:23.5348 17/08/03
Touring Cars
V8 Supercar Craig Lowndes Holden VT Commodore 1:08.0630 15/09/99
Super Touring Brad Jones Audi A4 Quattro 1:10.0464 30/08/98
Group A Mark Skaife Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R 1:10.26 21/06/92
Fujitsu V8 Supercars Series Dean Canto Ford EL Falcon 1:10.3812 16/06/00
Group C Dick Johnson Ford XE Falcon 1:15.4 21/08/83
Performance Cars Chris Alajajian Subaru Impreza WRX STi 1:15.6008 13/08/05
Club Cars Wayne Wakefield Mazda 808 Station Wagon 1:16.8968 30/08/98
Commodore Cup Ashley Cooper Holden VS Commodore 1:18.2003 22/04/07
Saloon Cars Kris Walton Ford AU Falcon 1:19.7760 28/10/06
Production Cars Scott Loadsman Holden VX Commodore 1:20.3087 24/11/01
Mirage Series Warren Luff Mitsubishi Mirage RS 1:20.7364 15/08/99
V8 Utes Grant Johnson Holden VZ SS Ute 1:21.4087 07/05/06
HQ Holden Vince Gatt HQ Holden 1:27.6977 15/08/99
Historic Touring Cars
Touring Car Masters Gavin Bullas 1969 Ford Boss Mustang 1:18.0507 27/04/08
Group Nb Cameron Tilley Chrysler Valiant S Series 1:21.6603 18/06/00
Trucks
Super Trucks Ian 'Inky' Tulloch Freightliner Trucks 0:52.4607 24/03/02
Motorcycles
Superbikes Mat Mladin Kawasaki Ninja ZX-7R 1:10.2005 06/08/95
Formula Xtreme Motorcycles Kevin Curtain Yamaha YZF1000R 1:10.8232 11/10/98

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clyde Hogkins, New Track for Racing, The Sun Herald, 18 Feb 1962, page 59.
  2. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Feb 1963 Retrieved from news.google.com on 8 February 2010
  3. ^ a b Terry Walker, Fast Tracks, 1995, page 118
  4. ^ Ray Bell, Lucky Stewart Bags AGP, Racing Car News, December 1974, page 60
  5. ^ NOTICE OF CANCELLATION - LAST EVER RACE MEETING 23 -24 JANUARY 2010 As archived at www.webcitation.org on 7 February 2010
  6. ^ Race Results Archive 2010 Retrieved from www.natsoft.biz on 7 February 2010
  7. ^ Oran Park lap records - 2004 V8 Supercar Oran Park round official programme
  8. ^ Oran Park lap records - 2007 V8 Supercar Oran Park round official programme
  9. ^ "Australian Formula Vee tracks". Official Australian Formula Vee website. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 

External links[edit]