Far from being just a race track, The Bend Motorsport Park will be a theme park that will attract rev-heads from around the world, its manager has told a gathering of business leaders in Murray Bridge.
Mark Warren painted a picture of the motor sport park as “a place you can go where you can have driving pleasure, enjoy yourself confidently and have some fun, rather than the people who try to do that on public roads”.
“This is almost a motor sport theme park,” he said.
“People will come from around the world and come to this as a destination.”
Bitumen would be laid on the track from September, he said, and it would be usable by December.
On its completion, the park would boast the world’s only pit lane hotel, Australia’s only international-standard karting track – co-located within a drift racing and rally cross stadium – and South Australia’s only quarter-mile drag strip.
The pit building would be 300 metres long, or 50 per cent longer than the one at the Clipsal 500, and would contain a hall where car museums or sponsors could set up displays.
Alongside it would be a 400-lot “community development”, which was originally conceived as a place car lovers could build their “man-caves” and store their vehicles instead of having them in sheds, on farms and so on.
Interest from punters grew the vision into a gated community where families could build anything from a shed to a luxury villa, somewhere to stay during race meetings.
“If it was on sale now, we’d have 70 per cent committed,” Mr Warren said.
He said the project’s overall cost had blown out from $40 million to $120 million.
As a result, he said, it was likely to add more than $236 million to South Australia’s economy and create more than the 1630 jobs originally projected.
The motor sport park’s backers, Peregrine Corporation and the Shahin family, recently purchased the Mallala Motor Sport Park and won approval to build headquarters worth $50 million at Kensington Park.
Peregrine Corp owns the On the Run service station franchise, employs 3000 people and has an annual turnover of $2 billion.