Motorsport in Australia
|Governing body||Confederation of Australian Motor Sport|
Motorsport is a popular spectator sport in Australia, although there are relatively few competitors compared to other sports due to the high costs of competing. The oldest motorsport in Australia, is the F1 (which is also the oldest in the world).
The most popular event is the F1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. It is attended by more than 300,000 spectators per year & attracts free-to-air metropolitan television ratings, of over 1 million viewers. As well as big international viewerships.
The most widely watched motorsport is V8 Supercars, especially at the Bathurst 1000. Other classes in Australia include Australian GT, Formula 3 and Formula Ford (open wheel racing), Superbikes, as well as various forms (cars and bikes) of speedway racing.
Since 1985, Australia has hosted a round of the Formula One World Championship. For the first 10 years, the Australian Grand Prix was held on the Adelaide Street Circuit in Adelaide, South Australia, as the last round of the championship. Adelaide played host to several title deciders; for example, the 1986 title, where Alain Prost successfully defended his championship after Nigel Mansell's left rear tyre exploded; the 1994 title was also decided in questionable circumstances, after Michael Schumacher collided with his rival Damon Hill, putting both out of the race and giving Schumacher the first of what would be a record seven Formula One World Drivers' Championships by a single point. In 1993 it was announced that from 1996 the Grand Prix would move to Melbourne at the Albert Park Circuit, replacing Adelaide as host.
No Australian driver has won the Australian Grand Prix since Alan Jones won at Calder in 1980 driving his Williams FW07B-Ford, and no Australian has finished on the podium since John Smith finished second in 1983.
Two Australians have won the World Driver's Championship: Jack Brabham, who won the title on three occasions, including becoming the first (and so far only) driver to win the World Championship in a car of his own design, manufacture and name when he won his final championship in 1966 driving the Repco V8 powered Brabham BT19 and BT20; and Alan Jones, who won in 1980, giving Williams its first Drivers' and Constructors championships. As of 2014, Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing) is the only Australian driver in Formula One. Of the 13 Australians who have driven in Formula One, only Brabham (14), Jones (12), Webber (9) and Ricciardo (3) have won a Formula One Grand Prix.
Australia also hosted a round of the Champ Car World Series from 1991 to 2007. The Gold Coast Indy 300 has been held at the Surfers Paradise Street Circuit since 1991, with John Andretti, the nephew of Mario Andretti, winning the first event. Replacing the now defunct Champ Car series, the IndyCar Series held a non-points race in 2008. Will Power has resulted runner-up three times in IndyCar, whereas Ryan Briscoe has also won multiple races.
Australia has hosted a round of the World Rally Championship from 1988 to 2006, the Rally Australia, including the final round of the championship in 2004 and 2005. Chris Atkinson has been competing in the WRC since 2006, with some promising results.
Australia has been competing in the A1 Grand Prix championship since the series was established in 2005. Will Power is the most successful of the five drivers who have represented Team Australia to date. John Martin are Australia's current drivers. Australia also hosted a round of the championship at Eastern Creek Raceway early in A1GP history but has since ceased.
Casey Stoner was the 2007 MotoGP World Champion. A round of the world series has been in Australia since 1989 and is held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in October. The circuit also hosts a round of the World Superbike Championship. Australia has produced many top motorcycle riders with Stoner, Wayne Gardner, Troy Bayliss and Troy Corser all having won world championships in various classes, with five time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan regarded as one of the all-time greats.
Australia hosts a round of most major international series, including:
- FIA Formula One World Championship
- FIA World Rally Championship
- MotoGP - Phillip Island MotoGP Round
- World Superbike Championship
- Speedway Grand Prix