​Ballarat City Council speeds up mega motorsport mecca talks

Ballarat City Council is putting pedal to the metal in its push to build a multi-million dollar motorsports mecca.

The council’s director of community development Neville Ivey revealed 35 different sites examined for the complex have now been scaled down to three.

While he declined to speculate on the preferred locations for the hub, he said the council was working closely with a neighbouring shire to bring the project to life.   

“There is a high probability the complex would be built just outside Ballarat’s boundaries,” he said.

“But even if that’s the case, Ballarat would significantly benefit economically as would the other shire.”

It comes just days after the annual Sandown 500 drew crowds of thousands in Melbourne.

Earlier this year, Australia’s Leading motor sport body revealed it is pushing for a premium car racing circuit to be built in Ballarat to replace the soon to be defunct Sandown Racetrack.

The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport chief executive Eugene Arocca revaled in July, Ballarat’s highly anticipated $50 million motor sport complex was CAMS preferred location for a new V8 track earmarked to be built within two years. 

It is estimated a single V8 weekend event could pump up to $20 million into Ballarat’s economy.  

Sandown Park’s racecourse in Springvale may be up for residential sale soon leaving the Australian Motorsport industry without a permanent track.

But doubts have been raised on whether such a large-scale complex could be built within two years.

The council has also long-maintained its priority was to build a grassroots motorsports hub for existing local clubs with scope to expand it to incorporate a V8 track in the future.

“Our first priority is ensuring groups like the Ballarat Light Car Club are catered for,” Mr Ivey said.

“We gone through extensive consultation with the motorsport groups impacted and they are very, very keen to see the project developed.

“It is key to note, the only reason why this project came off the ground was due to lobbying by those grassroots groups.”

Mr Ivey said about 300 hectares of land was needed to deliver a multi-discipline motor sport facility with opportunities in driver education and training, industry testing and events.

He said it was difficult to determine a timeline for the project because it hinged on substantial outside investment.

“The entire project is contingent on us getting funding and community support to get it off the ground,” he said. 

Earlier this year, Mr Arocca revealed he requested the council look at the project more holistically and draw up a master-plan that incorporated a national level best practice track.   

“This would ensure the project not only met the grassroots needs of the community but attracted races from around the country and events from within Victoria,” he said at the time.

CAM’S commitment to building a V8 track in Ballarat is so serious, Mr Arocca said the Australian motor sport industry body would relocate it offices.  

“We’d consider moving CAMS’ headquarters (currently in Melbourne) up to Ballarat that’s how committed we are,” Mr Arocca said.

 “We’re working against the clock to get a track established in the next two years.”