Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Canberra 400 in 2002, last year. Photo: Mark Horsburgh

With Canberra and Adelaide both in the news in recent days, we ask in this week’s Pirtek poll what can make a new Supercars event in the national capital a success.

Ironically, Canberra has emerged as a candidate for a Supercars street event, just as the prospects for a revival of the Adelaide 500 are getting slimmer.

The latter began in 1999, four years after the last Formula 1 grand prix on (most of) the same streets, and would continue to win more state and national tourism awards as well as earn seats in Supercars and SA Tourism halls of fame.

The Canberra 400, on the other hand, joined the Supercars calendar just one season later, but was gone by just three years down on its original five-year contract.

On each occasion, however, this event was held on the Queen’s birthday weekend, it was winter time in the country’s only inner capital.

Moreover, it took place on a course that, although undoubtedly challenging, and certainly a unique sight, was tight and twisted. In short, the Canberra Street Circuit was certainly no Adelaide Parklands Circuit.

The new event in the Australian Capital Territory, if it were to happen, would apparently be very much a different proposition.

First, instead of treading through the narrow streets of the parliamentary triangle, the circuit would be centered around an exhibition space known as an exhibition park, north of the city’s central business district.

Second, the event would be unlikely to be held on or near the winter, based on the only public comments from Supercars, when CEO Sean Seamer said last week that a return to Canberra is something the championship “certainly wants[s] to do.”

Of course, it is almost a necessity that street circuits attract crowds.

For state governments, such events help to fill hotel rooms, restaurants and what not, while promoting the city / town itself and its best features.

The Gold Coast 500 plays to the glitter strip ‘fun in the sun’ vibe, the Newcastle 500 gives people a reason to discover a relatively little-known city, and the Adelaide 500 generated a record-breaking 45.9 million. $ Economic impact in 2019, according to the South Australian Tourism Commission, which will recommend its action barely more than a year later.

A Canberra 400 in June, on the other hand, amplified how bitterly cold the city can become, and that timing is considered a factor in its death.

The track also appeared hardly spectator-friendly in terms of vantage points, while Townsville’s Reid Park has the hill at the back of the park area, where a long stretch of track can be seen, to name an example.

Townsville, like other street events, has also used the ‘Rock’ n ‘Race’ format in the past, and it has proved particularly popular when a big action has landed.

Easy access to transport can also be a factor, as Canberra is less than two hours from Sydney by road and has its own extensive public transport network.

What do you think is most important to get it right if Supercars is trying to hold another event in the Australian Capital Territory? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek poll.

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