Sandown Raceway—the home of horsepower!
As Melbourne’s premier car racing circuit, Sandown Raceway plays host to some of the most spectacular events on the Australian motorsport calendar.
The highlight of the year is of course, the annual Australian V8 Supercar Championships that continuously make history at Sandown, while bringing in fans from all over the world.
Sandown Raceway isn’t just the home of professional motor racing. Any motoring enthusiast can experience the thrill of Australia’s oldest permanent motor racing facility by coming down to enjoy a V8 race car driving or hot lap experience.
History of Sandown Raceway
Sandown Raceway plays a rich role in the history of Australian motorsport. As the country’s oldest permanent race track, Sandown can even claim the title of hosting Australia’s first car race, which took place in March 1904. At the time, Sandown was predominantly used for horse racing but by 1931 the equine track was largely abandoned.
A merger between different Victorian turf clubs in the 1960’s meant that there was enough capital to purchase and develop Sandown into a state of the art dual-use facility for both horse and motor racing.
To help promote events at the newly designed track, legendary Aussie racing personalities like Len Lukey and Neil Marsden formed Sandown Park Motorsport Pty Ltd and by 1961 construction of Sandown Motorsport Park began. Construction was completed the following year, with the horse track soon following in 1965.
1962 saw a star-studded lineup take on Sandown Raceway, with double world champion Jack Braham as well as Jim Clark, Rob Flockhart and Chuck Daigh taking to the track with New Zealand champion Pat Hoare.
Throughout the 1960’s car racing stars flocked to Sandown Raceway for the inaugural Tasman Series, where the biggest names in high performance racing all claimed trophies.
These early years saw the development of the golden era of Holden vs Ford rivalry, with every event won by one of the two manufacturers until 1982. It was also the golden age of Peter Brock— who dominated Sandown between 1973-84. Allan Moffatt was the only contender who could interrupt his winning streak, with a Ford win in 1974 and Mazda in 1982 and ‘83.
Unfortunately, politics got in the way of Sandown ever attracting a Grand Prix. The Victorian State Government wouldn’t support the bid, leaving Adelaide open to secure the race for South Australia.
Instead, the LCCA secured another world event, the final round of the 1984 World Endurance Championship for sportscars, making it the first FIA World Championship road racing motor racing event to be held in Australia.
By late 2007, the owner of the circuit, The Melbourne Racing Club, took management in-house and secured a long term deal with V8 Supercars, including a significant investment of funds for upgrade to the pits and tightening of circuit safety.
V8 Supercars at Sandown Raceway
When the V8 Supercars series was born in 1997, the Sandown 500 event remained in place at the track from 1997-1998.
Throughout 1999-2000, Sandown became the sprint round of the V8 Supercar Champion Series, then expanded to three 150km races including pit stops in 2001 and 2002. The 500km format returned in 2003 and has been a major player in the series, with wins from the likes of superstars Mark Skaife, Tod Kelly, Marcos Ambrose and Greg Ritter.
In 2012, the event returned to it’s single 500 km roots, as a precursor to the Bathurst 1000.
Sandown Raceway facts
- Sandown Raceway is known as a power circuit, due to exciting features such as front and back drag straits. The back straight leads to a very fast entry into the Dandenong Road corner.
- The length of the Sandown Raceway circuit is a 3.1km circuit with 13 corners.
- Due to its suburban location, Sandown is only allowed to run five major motorsport weekends with a noise level no louder than 95 decibels.
- Sandown has held major events including the Sandown 500, Australian Grand Prix, Tasman Series and World Sportscar Championship, Historic Sandown, State Race Series and the Shannons Nationals
Where is Sandown Raceway?
Sandown Raceway is located in the Melbourne suburb of Springvale, 25-km south east of the CBD. Reaching Sandown Raceway by car is easy as it sits on the Princes Highway.
The nearest airport is Melbourne’s Tullamarine International Airport, located north west of the city, approximately 40 minutes drive from the circuit and with excellent transport links to the city centre.
Parking is available at Sandown Raceway but there’s also excellent public transport options. Sandown Raceway even has its own railway station with regular services on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
No matter how you choose to get here, why not stop by to experience the absolute thrill of driving your very own high performance V8 race car at Sandown Raceway? Purchase a gift card or book an experience and you or a loved one could be ticking this awesome experience off the bucket list!