Surfers Paradise International Raceway
|Location||Surfers Paradise, Queensland|
|Time zone||UTC +10|
|Major events||Tasman Series
Australian Grand Prix
Rothmans 12 Hour
|Length||3.219 km (2.000 mi)|
|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.
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.
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. After years of neglect it was finally destroyed in 2003. The site has since been redeveloped as Emerald Lakes canal estate.
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.
Australian Grand Prix
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
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.
* The 1977 ATCC round at Surfers was the Rothmans 300 endurance race
Numerous endurance races were staged at the circuit, most notably the Rothmans 12 Hour events.
- "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]
- "Surfers Paradise Venue of the Surfers Paradise International". Tasman-Series.com. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- "Location In the centre of the Gold Coast". Emerald Lakes. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
- "Tasman Series". Tasman-Series.com. Retrieved 2008-07-27.