Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
|Location||Phillip Island, Victoria|
|Time zone||GMT +10|
|Opened||31 March 1928 (Road circuit)
15 December 1956 (modern circuit)
Re-opened: 7 April 1989
|Closed||1940 (Road circuit)
1978 (modern circuit)
|Major events||Australian Grand Prix
Australian motorcycle Grand Prix
Superbike World Championship
Australian Manufacturers' Championship
Australian Touring Car Championship
V8 Supercar Championship Series
Australian Drivers' Championship
|Length||4.445 km (2.762 mi)|
|Lap record||1:24.221 (Simon Wills, Reynard 94D Holden, 2000, Formula Holden)|
|Length||10.6 km (6.5 mi)|
|Lap record||4:49.4 (Bill Thompson, Bugatti Type 37A, 1932)|
|Length||5.3 km (3.3 mi)|
Motor racing on Phillip Island began in 1928 with the running of the 100 Miles Road Race, an event which has since become known as the first Australian Grand Prix. It utilised a high speed rectangle of local closed-off public roads with four similar right hand corners. The course length varied, with the car course approximately 6 miles per lap, compared to the motorcycle circuit which was approximately 10 miles (16 km) in length. The circuit was the venue for the Australian Grand Prix through to 1935 and it was used for the last time on 6 May 1935 for the Jubilee Day Races.
Other significant events staged at the Phillip Island road circuit included the Victorian Centenary Grand Prix of 1934.
Grand Prix Circuit
In 1951, a group of six local businessmen decided to build a new track. About 2 km away from the original circuit, it still bears the corner name signs of the original circuit. As the piece of available land was on the edge of the coast, the track is known for its steep grades – the highest 57 metres – which caused cost overruns and delays in track opening. The new track was opened in 1956  and in 1960 the first Armstrong 500 production car race was held at the circuit. Extensive damage resulted from the running of the 1962 Armstrong 500, and, with the circuit owners unable to finance repairs, the circuit was closed and the race was moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit at Bathurst in New South Wales.
The circuit reopened in October 1967  and hosted the Phillip Island 500K endurance race, a round of the Australian Manufacturers' Championship, from 1971 to 1977. But again, due to its testing terrain, the circuit required much maintenance and slowly declined through the 1970s. It was farmed by its owners while closed and was then sold in 1985 in preparation for reopening, but did not do so until 1988 after agreement on a long term lease and rebuild agreement. During the time the circuit deteriorated and finally closed, part of the main problem for its owners was that the main bridge from the island to the Australian mainland reportedly could not carry the heavy vehicles needed to resurface the circuit. This meant that the bitumen surface was a cold mix which easily broke up under the rigours of racing, instead of the standard hot mix which would have allowed a more durable surface. It would not be until the mid-1980s that the bridge would be rebuilt allowing the necessary equipment needed for resurfacing.
The circuit was refurbished with a reduced length of 4.449 kilometres and was reopened on 4 December 1988 for the final round of the 1988 Swann Insurance International Series for motorcycles.
The 1989 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix saw a race long dice in the 500 cc division between local favourites Wayne Gardner and Kevin Magee, along with Wayne Rainey and Christian Sarron. The race was won by 1987 World Champion Gardner to the delight of the huge crowd. Gardner would make it two in a row at the Island in 1990 before the race moved to Eastern Creek in Sydney in 1991. The Australian motorcycle Grand Prix would remain at Eastern creek until it returned permanently to Phillip Island from 1997.
Phillip Island hosted its first Superbike World Championship round in 1990, taking over from Sydney's Oran Park Raceway as the Australian round of the series. Local riders Peter Goddard (Yamaha FZR750) and Rob Phillis (Kawasaki ZXR750) won the two races for what was Round 12 of the season, with Goddard having secured pole position.
- 1951: A historically significant meeting of six local businessmen decided to re-establish motor racing at Phillip Island.
- 1952: A steering committee formed and the Phillip Island Auto Racing Club (PIARC) developed with a dream "to build Australia's first international grand prix circuit".The current site was purchased in that year. PIARC calls for 7000 subscriptions at 10 pounds each to assist in the development of the circuit and building work begins. An Alfa was used to measure the three-mile distance required for international certification as an International Circuit.
- 1956: Between 1952 and 1956 the building of the circuit had met with major engineering hurdles and PIARC had to call for more money from its shareholders. The grand open meeting was held with much acclaim in December 1956.
- 1957: Phillip Island stages numerous trophy races including the Australian Motorsport Magazine Trophy Race 1957, the Formula Libre race of 1958 and the Phillip Island Trophy race of 1958.
- 1960: The first Armstrong 500 endurance race is won by Frank Coad and John Roxburgh driving a Vauxhall Cresta. They completed the race in eight hours 15 minutes.
- 1962: The circuit is damaged during the running of the 1962 Armstrong 500 and is subsequently closed to racing.
- 1964: Businessman and former Australian Drivers' Champion Len Lukey purchases the circuit with a view to redevelopment.
- 1967: The circuit reopens with a newly laid surface at the "Grand Re-Opening Meeting" on 22 October 1967.
- 1971: The first Phillip Island 500 endurance race is held
- 1978: The circuit is closed, having become becomes virtually unusable for modern racing and, between 1979 and 1982, it is used only for historic rallies and cub sprints.
- 1985: Phillip Island Circuit purchased by Placetac Pty Ltd, with the view to re-introducing racing to the famous facility.
- 1988: The circuit is refurbished with a reduced length of 4.449 kilometres and is reopened on 4 December 1988 for the final round of the 1988 Swann Insurance International Series for motorcycles.
- 1989: The 1989 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix, a World Championship round, is held at the circuit on 9 April.
- 1990: Phillip Island hosts its first round of the Superbike World Championship. Phillip Island continues to host a round each year.
- 1996: Australian superbike rider, Troy Corser, wins the Superbike World Championship on board a Ducati at the October race at Phillip Island.
- 1999: The Australian Touring Car Championship is renamed to Shell Championship Series (later V8 Supercars Championship) and Phillip Island continues to host an annual round.
- 2004: The property is purchased by the Linfox corporation with a view to compliment the world famous circuit with world class facilities such as an 18 hole Greg Norman designed championship golf course and a luxurious 5 star hotel.
In 2006 and 2007, Phillip Island hosted the grand finale of the V8 Supercars Championship Series, as well as a regular MotoGP and Superbike round. From 2008 to 2011, Phillip Island hosted the L&H 500, replacing Sandown as the host track of V8 Supercar's 500 km race, before returning to Sandown in 2012.
In the lead up to the 2012 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, the circuit's third turn was officially named Stoner Corner, in honour of Australian MotoGP rider Casey Stoner, who had won the Grand Prix for five consecutive years from 2007 to 2011, and would retire following the 2012 MotoGP season. The choice of the third turn was made by Stoner himself, describing it as his favourite corner. He went on to win the 2012 event.
- As of 24 March 2015
In the early 1990's, Phillip Island was used during the Australian summer for pre-season testing by various World Sportscar Championship teams and some Japanese Formula 3000 teams (who generally found travelling to Australia was actually cheaper than paying some $5,000 per hour to hire the Honda owned Suzuka Circuit in Japan). While no official lap times were published, television commentator and race driver Neil Crompton reported in 1990 that the Nissan Motorsports International team with drivers Julian Bailey and Mark Blundell driving the Nissan R90C were able to lap the circuit in around 1:18 while a 3.0 Litre Mugen V8 powered Dome F3000 (which Crompton drove) was able record similar lap times. At the time the fastest Australian cars that raced at Phillip Island were the 3.8 Litre V6 powered Formula Holden's which were approximately 10 seconds per lap slower.
- Walker, Terry (1995). "Phillip Island (pre-war), Vic.". Fast Tracks. Sydney: Turton & Armstrong Pty. Ltd. p. 128. ISBN 0 908031 55 6.
- Walker, Terry (1995). "Phillip Island (pre-war), Vic.". Fast Tracks. Sydney: Turton & Armstrong Pty. Ltd. p. 130. ISBN 0 908031 55 6.
- John B Blanden, A History of Australian Grand Prix 1928–1939, Volume 1, 1981, page 123
- Pedr Davis, The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 363
- Phillip Island Club Triangle Circuit Retrieved from theracingline.net on 20 February 2011
- Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 161-163
- Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 107-108
- Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 113
- Terry Walker, Fast Tracks, 1995, page 130
- Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 134-135
- Jim Scaysbrook, Phillip Island, A History of Motor Sport Since 1928, Bookworks Pty Ltd, 2005, page 163-165
- 1990 Phillip Island Raceway Dunlop Tyre Testing
"The Official 50 Race History of the Australian Grand Prix"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.|
- Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit official website