Australia's largest city will be host to the biggest Grand Finale in V8 Supercar history after it was announced that the Sydney 400 is now the Sydney 500, giving the massive event the prestige of being one of the longest single driver events in the championship.
The debut event is the season-closer of the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series and will be raced through the streets of the Sydney Olympic Park precinct at Homebush Bay, with 250km races on Saturday and Sunday over the weekend of 4-6 December designed to mirror the category's first event of the year, the record-breaking Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.
“We can now say that we are going to end the way we start the year, with a 500-kilometre weekend,” V8 Supercars Australia chairman Tony Cochrane said, "The Sydney Olympic Park precinct sits in the geographic heart of the city. It is the perfect location for an event of this scale and magnitude with its world class facilities and transport infrastructure.
“Sydney deserves to have the absolute best we can offer, so we have decided to extend the total race distance to match that of our first event in Adelaide, which is acclaimed around the world. What a way to book-end our season with two long distance races at either end of the year.”
This year's Clipsal 500 attracted a crowd of more than 270,000, and is a previous winner of the Australian Tourism Award for the best event/festival, but Cochrane is confident the Sydney 500 will be even better.
“It is such a great facility and this will be the first time since the Olympics in 2000 that the whole site has been used for a single event," he pointed out, "We can see no reason why we can't put on Sydney's biggest annual event each year. We have spared no expense to date to deliver Sydney this great event.”
The event was recently given the green light by the Federal Department for the Environment, Water and the Arts after the potential impacts of the event were considered.
“We underwent considerable planning to ensure no significant impact to the Sydney Olympic Park environment, and had some well respected environmental consultants on board to guide us through that process,” Cochrane continued, “We have a huge group of professional people working behind the scenes to make this happen. We have spent a million dollars to date on engineering the track which is complete and we have tendered for all capital and site works. Along the way, we have already generated dollars for the state economy and jobs.”
Cochrane also said that a major naming rights sponsor, all ticketing details and entertainment to perform on both Friday and Saturday nights within the precinct would be announced in mid-May.
“We are right on track," he insisted, "We have done extremely well in sponsorship terms and have filled almost all of the available categories. This is for more than a motor race - there will be major concerts, off-track events and we will utilise every single venue within the precinct for a raft of activities for everybody.
“No point in being shy – it is going to be massive.”