Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit

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Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit
Albert Lake Park Street Circuit in Melbourne, Australia.svg
Location Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia
Time zone UTC+10:00 (UTC+11:00 DST)
Coordinates 37°50′59″S 144°58′6″E / 37.84972°S 144.96833°E / -37.84972; 144.96833Coordinates: 37°50′59″S 144°58′6″E / 37.84972°S 144.96833°E / -37.84972; 144.96833
Capacity 80,000[1][2][3]
FIA Grade 1
Opened 20 November 1953
Re-opened: 7 March 1996
Major events Formula One
Australian Grand Prix
Australian Drivers' Championship
Australian Tourist Trophy
Supercars Challenge
Length 5.303 km (3.296 mi)
Turns 16
Lap record 1:24.125 (Germany Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)
Original circuit
Length 5.027 km (3.124 mi)
Turns 9
Lap record 1:50.0 (United Kingdom Stirling Moss, CooperClimax, 1958, Formula Libre)

The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a street circuit around Albert Park Lake, only a few kilometres south of central Melbourne. It is used annually as a racetrack for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix, Supercars Challenge and associated support races. The circuit has FIA Grade 1 licence.[4] In spite of being a circuit on public roads it has characteristics of a natural road course considering it being fast and flowing combined with extensive runoff in many corners.


The circuit uses everyday sections of road that circle Albert Park Lake, a small man-altered lake (originally a large lagoon formed as part of the ancient Yarra River course) just south of the Central Business District of Melbourne. The road sections that are used were rebuilt prior to the inaugural event in 1996 to ensure consistency and smoothness. As a result, compared to other circuits that are held on public roads, the Albert Park track has quite a smooth surface. Before 2007 there existed only a few other places on the Formula 1 calendar with a body of water close to the track. Many of the new tracks, such as Valencia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi have imitated that feature.

The course is considered to be quite fast and relatively easy to drive, drivers having commented that the consistent placement of corners allows them to easily learn the circuit and achieve competitive times. However, the flat terrain around the lake, coupled with a track design that features few true straights, means that the track is not conducive to overtaking or easy spectating unless in possession of a grandstand seat.

An overhead view of part of the circuit as viewed from the Eureka Tower observation deck

Each year, most of the trackside fencing, pedestrian overpasses, grandstands and other motorsport infrastructure are erected approximately two months prior to the Grand Prix weekend and removed within 6 weeks after the event. Land around the circuit (including a large aquatic centre, a golf course, a Lakeside Stadium, some restaurants and rowing boathouses) has restricted access during the grand prix weekend. Dissent is still prevalent among nearby local residents and users of those others facilities, and some still maintain a silent protest against the event. Nevertheless, the event is reasonably popular in Melbourne and Australia (with a large European population and a general interest in motorsport). Middle Park, the home of South Melbourne FC was demolished in 1994 due to expansion at Albert Park.

On 4 July 2008, the official F1 site reported that more than 300,000 people attended the four-day Melbourne Grand Prix, though actual ticket sales were later disputed by the local media. The Grand Prix will continue until at least 2020 after securing a new contract with Formula One Management.[5] There has never been a night race at Albert Park, however, 2009’s event started at 5.00 p.m.

Everyday access[edit]

During the nine months of the year when the track is not required for Grand Prix preparation or the race weekend, most of the track can be driven by ordinary street-registered vehicles either clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Only the sections between turns 3, 4 and 5, then 5 and 6, differ significantly from the race track configuration. Turn 4 is replaced by a car park access road running directly from turns 3 to 5. Between turns 5 and 6, the road is blocked. It is possible to drive from turn 5 on to Albert Road and back on to the track at turn 7 though two sets of lights control the flow of this option. The only set of lights on the actual track is halfway between turns 12 and 13, where drivers using Queens Road are catered for. The chicanes at turns 11 and 12 is considerably more open than that used in the grand prix, using the escape roads. Turn 9 is also a car park and traffic is directed down another escape road.

The speed limit is generally 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph) which is slower than an F1 car under pit lane speed restrictions. Some short sections have a speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour (25 mph). The back of the track, turns 7 to 13 inclusive, is known as Lakeside Drive. Double lines separate the two-way traffic along most of Lakeside Drive with short road islands approximately every 50 metres. This means overtaking is illegal here.

Approximately 50% of the track edge is lined with short parkland-style chain-linked fencing leaving normal drivers less room for error than F1 drivers have during race weekend. There is however substantial shoulder room between the outside of each lane and the fencing.

2017 Support races[edit]

Coates Hire Supercars Challenge[edit]

The V8 Supercars have been a highlight of the supporting categories in all Melbourne Grand Prix every year except 2007 since 1997. for the past few years the Australian Grand Prix Corporation has been working towards gaining championship status for the Supercars race, at the last moment the bid was dropped but the organisers have vowed to secure it next year.[6] Chaz Mostert won the 2017 race with the Supercheap Auto FG X Falcon race car on Sunday 26 March.[7]

Porsche Carrera Cup[edit]

A major milestone for the Carrera Cup racing was achieved in Australia with the 100th round of the Porsche series utilizing four generations of the 911 GT3 race cars. 50 drivers have stood on the Carrera Cup podium over the 13 seasons and 294 races.[8] Alex Davison took first place in the final race and Cameron McConville came second.[9]

MSS Security Ultimate Speed Comparison[edit]

This original event featured three different cars, the Minardi 2-seater F1 car driven by Will Davison, Peter Hackett in a Mercedes GT and Mick Doohan in a Mercedes road car compete[10] in which car completes the lap with the greatest margin over the others.[11]

Shannons Australian GT[edit]

largest field of Level 1 race cars in Australia, 35 GT3 high end exotic cars compete in the fastest car race other than Formula 1 at Albert Park.[12]THis Australian GT Championship season opener was live streamed for the first time on mobile devices, the streaming technology has been utilised in an attempt to increase the championship’s growth.[13]

Albert Park Circuit (1953 to 1958)[edit]

Albert Park has the distinction of being the only venue to host the Australian Grand Prix in both World Championship and non-World Championship formats with an earlier configuration of the current circuit used for the race on two occasions during the 1950s. During this time racing was conducted in an anti-clockwise direction [14] as opposed to the current circuit which runs clockwise.

Known as the Albert Park Circuit,[15] the original 3.125 mile (5.03 kilometre) course hosted a total of six race meetings:[16]

Lap records[edit]

As of 14 March 2015.[30]

Class Driver Vehicle Time Date
Original Circuit
Outright United Kingdom Stirling Moss Cooper Climax 1:50.0 30 November 1958
Grand Prix Circuit
Outright Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari F2004 1:24.125 7 March 2004
Racing Cars
Formula 1 Germany Michael Schumacher Ferrari F2004 1:24.125 7 March 2004
Formula 3 Brazil Bruno Senna Dallara F304 Spiess Opel 1:50.8640 3 March 2006
Formula Ford Australia Chaz Mostert Spectrum 012 Ford 2:04.4805 27 March 2010
Historic Racing Cars
Formula 5000 New Zealand Ken Smith Lola T430 Chevrolet 1:54.6975 28 March 2010
Sports Cars
Australian GT New Zealand Craig Baird Mercedes-AMG GT 1:55.1134 17 March 2016
Carrera Cup United Kingdom Ben Barker Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 1:58.3646 26 March 2011
Nations Cup Australia Paul Stokell Lamborghini Diablo GTR 2:00.685 8 March 2003[31]
Aussie Racing Cars Australia James Small Commodore-Yamaha 2:16.0196 15 March 2008
Touring Cars
V8 Supercar Australia Craig Lowndes Holden VE Commodore 1:55.9682 25 March 2011
V8 Utes Australia Kerry Wade Ford Falcon XR8 2:24.1712 30 March 2006
Historic Touring Cars
Group A Australia Terry Lawlor Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R 2:10.8171 13 March 2015
Group C Australia Milton Seferis Holden VH Commodore SS 2:18.9539 14 March 2015

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "LIST OF FIA LICENSED CIRCUITS" (PDF). FIA. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Mark, Fogarty (11 March 2017). "Grand Prix Supercar events on track for upgrade to championship status". The Sydney Morning Herald (Online). Fairfax Media. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Howard, Tom (26 March 2017). "Mostert relieved after return to Supercars top step". (Online). Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "Carrera Cup brings up century at Albert Park". (Online). 22 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Davison wins race, McConville Carrera Cup round". (Online). 26 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Huge support lineup for Formula 1 Aus GP". Speedcafe (Online). Speedcafe. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  11. ^ "" (PDF). © 2017 Australian Grand Prix Corporation. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  12. ^ "SHANNONS AUSTRALIAN GT". © 2017 Australian Grand Prix Corporation. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  13. ^ Howard, Tom (16 November 2016). "Speedcafe to broadcast Australian GT in 2017". Speedcafe (Online). Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  14. ^ Stuart Sykes, It was - and still is - a great place for a race, Racing into History, A look back at the 1953 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, 2013, page3 & 4
  15. ^ a b Official Souvenir Programme, XVIIIth Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park Circuit, 21 November 1953, front cover
  16. ^ a b c d e 1953, The official 50-race history of the Australian Grand Prix, 1986, pages 182 to 191
  17. ^ Official Programme, Argus Moomba Motor Car Races, Albert Park Circuit, 26 & 27 March 1955, front cover
  18. ^ Argus Moomba Motor Races, Australian Motor Sports, April 1955, pages 137 - 142
  19. ^ Thrills for 250,000, The Argus, Monday, 28 March 1955, page 1
  20. ^ a b JR Horman, Albert Park, Australian Motor Sports, April 1956, pages 136 to 143
  21. ^ Albert Park, Retrieved on 10 July 2014
  22. ^ 1956, The official 50-race history of the Australian Grand Prix, 1986, pages 218 to 226
  23. ^ a b Programme, Victorian Tourist Trophy, First Day: 17th March 1957
  24. ^ AC Russell, Albert Park - Victorian Tourist Trophy Meeting, Australian Motors Sports, page 131
  25. ^ Victorian Trophy, Australian Motor Sport, May 1957, pages 174 to 176
  26. ^ John B Blanden, Historic Racing Cars in Australia, 1979, pages 146 & 147
  27. ^ Graham Howard, Lex Davison – larger than life, page 117
  28. ^ Official Programme, 1958 Melbourne Grand Prix / Victorian Tourist Trophy, Albert Park Circuit, page 3
  29. ^ a b David McKay, Quick money for Moss, Modern Motor, February 1959, pages 35, 36, 37 & 76
  30. ^ NATSOFT Race Timing
  31. ^ PROCAR Stats

External links[edit]