Surfers Paradise International Raceway

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Surfers Paradise International Raceway
Ford Falcon GTHO (6263000001).jpg
Allan Moffat in the works Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III on February 1972
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
ATCC
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.[2]

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.[3]

Keith Williams sold the raceway in 1984, and the circuit closed at the end of 1987 after 21 years of operation, with the final meeting held on the 27th of August.[4] 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 the Chevrolet powered Veskanda C1 Group A/Group C sports car.[1] After years of neglect it was finally destroyed in 2003. The site has since been redeveloped as Emerald Lakes canal estate.[3][5]

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 Ford) and Chris Amon (Ferrari) 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.[6]

Year Winner Car Entrant
1968 United Kingdom Jim Clark Lotus 49T Ford Team Lotus
1970 New Zealand Graham McRae McLaren M10A Chevrolet
1971 Australia Frank Matich McLaren M10B Repco Holden Rothmans Team Matich
1972 New Zealand Graham McRae Leda GM1 Chevrolet Grid International (NZ) Ltd
1973 Australia Frank Matich Matich A50 Repco Holden Frank Matich
1974 Belgium Teddy Pilette Chevron B24 Chevrolet Chevron Racing Team VDS
1975 Australia Johnnie Walker Lola T332 Repco Holden Walker Racing

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.

Year Winner Car Entrant
1975 Australia Max Stewart Lola T400 Chevrolet Max Stewart Motors

Rothmans International Series[edit]

With the demise of the Tasman Series after 1976, the void was filled with the Rothmans International Series from 1976-1979. The first race scheduled for Surfers Paradise on 29 February 1976 was cancelled.

Year Winner Car Entrant
1976 Race Cancelled
1977 Australia Warwick Brown Lola T430 Chevrolet Racing Team VDS
1978 Australia Warwick Brown Lola T332 Chevrolet Racing Team VDS
1979 Republic of Ireland David Kennedy Wolf WR4 Ford Cosworth Theodore Racing

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 HK 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 1976 and 1977 ATCC rounds at Surfers were the Rothmans 300 endurance races

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 GTS350 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 10 November 1974 Group C Touring Cars
1975 Rothmans 300 Allan Moffat Ford XB Falcon GT Hardtop 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 GS500 Hardtop 6 November 1977 Group C Touring Cars
1978 Rothmans 300 Peter Brock Holden LX Torana A9X SS Hatchback 5 November 1978 Group C Touring Cars
1979 Rothmans 300 Charlie O'Brien Holden LX Torana A9X SS 4-Door 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 SS 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 635 CSi 27 October 1985 Group A Touring Cars
1986 BP Plus 300 George Fury
Glenn Seton
Nissan Skyline DR30 RS 24 August 1986 Group A Touring Cars

National championship rounds[edit]

Rounds of various Australian motor racing championship were held at the circuit. Winners of the Surfers Paradise round of a selection of these championships is shown below.

Australian Drivers' Championship[edit]

Year Driver Car Entrant
Australian National Formula / Australian 1½ Litre Formula
1966 Australia Spencer Martin Repco-Brabham BT11A Climax Bob Jane Racing
1967 Australia Spencer Martin Repco-Brabham BT11A Climax Bob Jane Racing Team
1968 Australia Kevin Bartlett Brabham BT23D Alfa Romeo Alec Mildren Racing
Australian National Formula / Australian Formula 2
1969 Australia Kevin Bartlett Mildren Mono Waggott Alec Mildren Racing
Australian Formula 1 / Australian Formula 2
1971 Australia Frank Matich McLaren M10B Repco Holden Rothmans Team Matich
1972 Australia Frank Matich Matich A50 Repco Holden Frank Matich Racing
1973 Australia John McCormack Elfin MR5 Repco-Holden Ansett Team Elfin
1974 Australia Max Stewart Lola T330 Chevrolet Max Stewart Motors
1975 Australia Max Stewart Lola T400 Chevrolet Sharp Corporation
1977 Australia John McCormack McLaren M23 Leyland Budget Rent-A-Car System

Australian Sports Car Championship[edit]

Year Driver Car Entrant
1969 Australia Frank Matich Matich SR4 Repco Rothmans Team Matich
1972 Australia John Harvey McLaren M6B Repco Bob Jane Racing
1982 Australia Chris Clearihan Kaditcha Chevrolet Chris Clearihan
1983 Australia Chris Clearihan Kaditcha Chevrolet Chris Clearihan
1984 Australia Bap Romano Romano WE84 Cosworth Bap Romano Racing
1985 Australia Chris Clearihan Kaditcha Chevrolet Chris Clearihan
1986 Australia John Bowe Veskanda C1 Chevrolet Bernard van Elsen

Australian Sports Sedan Championship[edit]

Year Driver Car Entrant
1976 Canada Allan Moffat Chevrolet Monza Allan Moffat Racing
1977 Australia Bob Jane Holden HQ Monaro Bob Jane 2UW Racing Team
1978 Australia Allan Grice Chevrolet Corvair Craven Mild Racing
1979 Australia Phil Ward Holden HQ Monaro Channel 10 - NSW Building Society
1980 Australia Tony Edmondson Alfa Romeo Alfetta GTV Repco Holden Donald Elliott

Australian GT Championship[edit]

Year Driver Car Entrant
1982 Australia Alan Jones Porsche 935 Porsche Cars Australia
1983 Australia Rusty French Porsche 935 John Sands Racing
1984 Australia Allan Grice Chevrolet Monza Re-Car Racing
1985 Australia Bryan Thomson Chevrolet Monza Thomson-Fowler Motorsport

See also[edit]

References[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. Archived from the original on 21 August 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  2. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Surfer's Paradise". GEL Motorsport Information Page. Retrieved 1 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Surfers Paradise Venue of the Surfers Paradise International". Tasman-Series.com. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  4. ^ Walker, Terry (1995). Fast Tracks - Australia's Motor Racing Circuits: 1904-1995. Wahroonga, NSW: Turton & Armstrong. p. 154. ISBN 0908031556. 
  5. ^ "Location In the centre of the Gold Coast". Emerald Lakes. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  6. ^ "Tasman Series". Tasman-Series.com. Retrieved 2008-07-27.