The much-hyped V8 Supercar event on the site of Sydney's former Olympic Park has finally been confirmed as part of the 2008 championship calendar after backing was secured from both the state government and a major sponsor.
V8 Supercars Australia chairman Tony Cochrane announced that 'some of the biggest companies in Sydney and the country' will put their name to the proposed 'Sydney 400' after the New South Wales government gave its approval for the event to be staged for five years from 2009.
The event will become the series' grand finale, with the cars racing through the streets of the Olympic Park Precinct at Homebush Bay. A first-year crowd in excess of 150,000 spectators is expected to bring the precinct to life for a three-day spectacular, and resurrect the facilities built for the 2000 Games.
“This is big, big news for Sydney,” Cochrane claimed, “Already, we have been in talks with some of the country's largest companies about being an integral part of this signature event that will provide Sydney with just what it wants – an annual, international-scale event.”
After much deliberation, the NSW government finally gave its approval for the race to be held at the end of the year, with the first event taking place over 4-6 December next year.
“This is great news for Australian motorsport and reflects the fact that Premier [Nathan] Rees and the New South Wales government want New South Wales back in the event business,” Cochrane continued, “We are naturally delighted, after an extremely exhaustive study, to be given approval in what will become Sydney's biggest annual motorsport carnival and party.
“Olympic Park is tailor-made as an entertainment and events precinct, and our grand finale will turn the area into a showcase street circuit which will make every Australian proud. I'd like to particularly acknowledge the significant contribution of the New South Wales government and in particular Premier Rees and Minister Macdonald in bringing this project forward. Nothing will be spared in making this a world class event.”
Plans are in place to stage a major concert within the precinct on the Saturday night of the race and attract a major international act to headline. This, according to Cochrane, will be just one of many off-track events planned to accompany the V8s.
“This is not just a motor race – this is a three-day world class event,” he insisted, “We can stage one of the world's best shows on the race track by day and then, by night, this will be a party for all of Sydney and Australia at arguably one of the finest venues in the country.”
Further announcements regarding the event will follow in the coming months, but Sydney's confirmation means that the complete 2009 V8 Supercars schedule can now be issued:
March 19-22 Clipsal 500 Adelaide
March 26–29 Australian Grand Prix
April 17–19 Hamilton 400 New Zealand
May 1–3 Winton Raceway
May 29–31 Tasmania Challenge @ Symmons Plains
June 19–21 SkyCity Challenge @ Hidden Valley
July 10–12 Townsville 400
July 31–August 2 Sandown
August 21-23 Queensland Raceway
September 11–13 L&H 500 @ Phillip Island
October 8–11 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
October 22–25 Nikon Indy 300 @ Surfers Paradise
November 5–7 Gulf Air Desert 400 Bahrain
November 20–22 Barbagallo
December 4–6 Sydney 400 @ Homebush