APRIL 4, 2007

More details about Queensland's F1 bid

More details are now emerging about a bid for a huge new motorsport facility in the Brisbane area. The circuit would be part of a $500m development to be called i-METT, which stands for Integrated Motorsport Education Tourism and Technology. This 1000-acre development would be on land that is currently farmed for sugar cane, between the Pacific Motorway and the coastal Southern Moreton Bay Islands National Park. This is around 25 miles to the south of Brisbane, between the villages of Gilberton and Norwell. It is close to the Holden Performance Driving Centre, a circuit that was created for BMW in the early 1990s then later sold on to Mercedes-Benz and more recently to Holden. It is not clear whtehr this would be part of the development but that would make sense. Whatever the case the track will be designed by Hermann Tilke and it will include flood-lighting technology from the start so that the racing can take place at night.

Rather than being just a racing circuit, however, the faciity would be part of a huge business park and it seems that 90% of the land acquisition for the project has already been completed. The local government says that there is a land planning review going on in relation to the area to decide whether the zoning should be changed. The first event at the site will be the World Rally Championship in 2008 but the aim is to get the Australian Grand Prix to the facility when the current contract with Melbourne runs out.

The plan is for there be no public money involved in the project and the organisers say that the facility will be able to fund the Grand Prix itself. It will be interesting to see how things develop.