Surfers Paradise International Raceway

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Surfers Paradise International Raceway
Location Surfers Paradise, Queensland
Time zone UTC +10
Coordinates 28°0′59″S 153°22′34″E / 28.01639°S 153.37611°E / -28.01639; 153.37611Coordinates: 28°0′59″S 153°22′34″E / 28.01639°S 153.37611°E / -28.01639; 153.37611
Opened 1966
Closed 1987
Major events Tasman Series
Australian Grand Prix
Rothmans 12 Hour
Length 3.219 km (2.000 mi)
Turns 7
Lap record 1:04.3 (John Bowe, Veskanda-Chevrolet, 1986)

Surfers Paradise International Raceway was a motor racing complex at Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The 3.219 kilometres (2.000 mi) long circuit was designed and built by Keith Williams, a motor racing enthusiast who also designed and built the Adelaide International Raceway (AIR) in South Australia in 1972. It was located opposite the Surfers Paradise Ski Gardens at Carrara.[1]

The Circuit[edit]

Surfers Paradise Raceway included a dragstrip along the main straight (a design later incorporated into the Williams owned AIR), with a very fast right-hander under the Dunlop Bridge leading to a tight corner that turned the track back to a medium-length straight. Then a fast left hander before rushing into a series of rights and lefts that skirted the only hill on the property (commonly known as Qantas Hill). A slow right called that opened up brought the track back to the main straight.

The right hand turn under the Dunlop Bridge was widely considered the fastest and most daunting corner in Australian motorsport until the building of the Caltex Chase at the Mount Panorama Circuit in 1987, with many top drivers including Allan Moffat, John Harvey and Tony Edmonson all having crashed there over the years.

Within the circuit lay an airstrip and quarter-mile speedway similar to the one that used to sit within the lower part of the Amaroo Park circuit in Sydney. Drag racing commenced at Easter in 1966.[2]

Keith Williams sold the raceway in 1984, and the circuit closed at the end of 1987 after 21 years of operation. At the end of its life, the outright lap record of 1:04.3 was set in 1986 and was held by John Bowe driving a Chevrolet powered Veskanda Group A Sports Car.[1] After years of neglect it was finally destroyed in 2003. The site has since been redeveloped as Emerald Lakes canal estate.[2][3]

Major races[edit]

Tasman Series[edit]

With Lakeside well established as a Queensland's round of the Tasman Series it was not until 1968 that the series visited Surfers Paradise. As typified the 1968 series Jim Clark (Lotus 49T) and Chris Amon (Ferrari 246) filled the top two positions with Clark's team mate Graham Hill completing the podium. Formula 5000 Tasman Series rounds were also held at the circuit each year from 1970 to 1975.[4]

Australian Grand Prix[edit]

The Australian Grand Prix visited just once, in 1975. In torrential rain Max Stewart took his Lola T400 Formula 5000 to victory from John Leffler, who was second on a day when the F5000's were badly out-handled by Ray Winter driving his AF2 Mildren Mono Ford.

Australian Touring Car Championship[edit]

The circuit hosted rounds of the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1969, 1971–72, 1974–77 and from 1979 until the circuits closure in 1987.

Year Driver Car Entrant
Improved Production
1969 Australia Norm Beechey Holden Monaro GTS327 Norm Beechey
1971 Canada Allan Moffat Ford Boss 302 Mustang Team Coca-Cola AMR
1972 Australia Bob Jane Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 Bob Jane Racing
Group C
1973 Australia Peter Brock Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 Holden Dealer Team
1974 Australia Peter Brock Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 Holden Dealer Team
1975 Australia Bob Morris Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 Ron Hodgson Motors
1976 Australia Peter Brock Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 Bill Patterson Holden
1977* Canada Allan Moffat Ford XC Falcon GS500 Hardtop Moffat Ford Dealers
1979 Australia Peter Brock Holden LX Torana A9X SS Hatchback Holden Dealer Team
1980 Australia Peter Brock Holden VB Commodore Marlboro Holden Dealer Team
1981 Australia Dick Johnson Ford XD Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
1982 Canada Allan Moffat Mazda RX-7 Peter Stuyvesant International
1983 Canada Allan Moffat Mazda RX-7 Peter Stuyvesant International Racing
1984 Australia Dick Johnson Ford XE Falcon Palmer Tube Mills
Group A
1985 New Zealand Jim Richards BMW 635 CSi JPS Team BMW
1986 Australia Peter Brock Holden VK Commodore SS Group A Mobil Holden Dealer Team
1987 New Zealand Jim Richards BMW M3 JPS Team BMW

* The 1977 ATCC round at Surfers was the Rothmans 300 endurance race

Endurance races[edit]

Numerous endurance races were staged at the circuit, most notably the Rothmans 12 Hour events.

Event Winning Drivers Winning Car Date Category
1966 Rothmans 12 Hour International Sports Car Race Jackie Stewart, Andrew Buchanan Ferrari 250LM 21 August 1966 Group A Sports Cars
1967 Surfers Paradise Four Hour Kevin Bartlett, Doug Chivas Alfa Romeo Giulia Super 9 April 1967 Production cars
1967 Rothmans 12 Hour Bill Brown, Greg Cusack Ferrari 250LM 3 September 1967 Group A Sports Cars
1968 Surfers Paradise 4 Hour John French Alfa Romeo GTV 9 June 1968 Production cars
1968 Surfers Paradise 6 Hour Leo Geoghegan, Ian Geoghegan Ferrari 250LM 1 August 1968 Group A Sports Cars
1969 Rothmans 12 Hour Classic Bill Gates, John Bertram Ford XT Falcon GT 5 January 1969 Production cars
1969 Chevron Paradise 6 Hour Kunimitsu Takahashi, Yoshikayo Sunago Datsun R380 Mk. 2 2 November 1969 Group A Sports Cars
1970 Rothmans 12 Hour Colin Bond, Tony Roberts Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 4 January 1970 Production cars
1970 Rothmans 250 Production Classic Allan Moffat Ford XW Falcon GT-HO Phase II 1 November 1970 Production cars
1971 Rothmans 250 Allan Moffat Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III 7 November 1971 Group E Series Production Touring Cars
1972 Chesterfield 300 Allan Moffat Ford XY Falcon GT-HO Phase III 26 November 1972 Group E Series Production Touring Cars
1973 Chesterfield 300 Peter Brock Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1 12 November 1973 Group C Touring Cars
1974 Chesterfield 300 Colin Bond Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 10 November 1974 Group C Touring Cars
1975 Rothmans 300 Allan Moffat Ford XB Falcon GT 9 November 1975 Group C Touring Cars
1976 Rothmans 300 Peter Brock Holden LH Torana SL/R 5000 L34 7 November 1976 Group C Touring Cars
1977 Rothmans 300 Allan Moffat Ford XC Falcon 500GS 6 November 1977 Group C Touring Cars
1978 Rothmans 300 Peter Brock Holden LX Torana SS A9X 5 November 1978 Group C Touring Cars
1979 Rothmans 300 Charlie O'Brien Holden LX Torana SLR 5000 A9X 4 November 1979 Group C Touring Cars
1980 Compact Tennis 400 Charlie O'Brien Holden VC Commodore 2 November 1980 Group C Touring Cars
1981 Surfers Paradise International Resort 300 Allan Moffat Mazda RX-7 1 November 1981 Group C Touring Cars
1982 Gold Coast 300 Allan Moffat Mazda RX-7 7 November 1982 Group C Touring Cars
1983 Gold Coast 300 Allan Grice Holden VH Commodore 30 October 1983 Group C Touring Cars
1984 Motorcraft 300 Peter Brock Holden VK Commodore 4 November 1984 Group C Touring Cars
1985 Motorcraft 300 Jim Richards BMW 635CSi 27 October 1985 Group A Touring Cars
1986 BP Plus 300 George Fury, Glenn Seton Nissan R30 Skyline RS 24 August 1986 Group A Touring Cars

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Believed to be motor bike racing at the Surfers Paradise International Raceway, Carrara, ca 1965". National Library of Australia: Picture Australia. 1965. Retrieved 2008-07-12. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b "Surfers Paradise Venue of the Surfers Paradise International". Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Location In the centre of the Gold Coast". Emerald Lakes. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  4. ^ "Tasman Series". Retrieved 2008-07-27.