The dream will soon be a reality: Tailem Bend will host its first V8 Supercars race on August 24-26, 2018.
The Bend Super Sprint will consist of a 120-kilometre and a 200km race at the motorsport park currently under construction on the Dukes Highway.
The event is expected to draw a crowd of 50,000 people and bring $11 million into South Australia's economy.
The news had been expected since June, when Supercars CEO Nick Warburton hinted at the date, and anticipated since the last state election, when both Liberal and Labor pledged to support a bid for a second race in South Australia.
But the smile was no less broad on Sam Shahin's face as he welcomed the Premier, Tourism Minister and Supercars officials to his track on Tuesday.
"I'm very excited at the prospect of this world-class facility bringing South Australia a little closer to hosting top-tier national and international events," he said.
"This is a facility of a very high standard and it is built with that ambition.
"We can't wait for the tarmac to be laid very, very soon - it starts in three or four weeks' time.
"We're extraordinarily proud of the association and support from the SA government to trust the vision from many, many years ago that this wasn't just a good idea; this is a real project.
"Hopefully it will build on the great level of participation in motor sport not just in Australia, but in South Australia."
Asked whether Formula One was a feasible long-term goal, he did not rule it out.
"Formula One has been in South Australia; whether it comes back will be a matter of time and money," he said.
"The facility is capable of holding a Formula One race, with some gentle modifications.
"We are ambitious and we're not going to stop now."
However, he said his aim was simply to host events with strong support and participation which contributed to South Australia's identity and left a legacy.
He said The Bend was "very likely" to host an international GT endurance event in future, and that he aspired to secure a round of the Moto GP.
Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said thousands of people would come from interstate and overseas to the first V8 race.
"It's going to be a completely different race than the Adelaide 500: a big, long circuit, the second-longest circuit in the world at its longest formation," he said.
"People will be here camping and just enjoying great motor racing like we haven't seen in South Australia."
He thanked Dr Shahin and his family for the time and money they had invested in their vision.
"They've been to every major motor sport complex in the world and they've taken the very best pieces of all of those and brought them here to be an outstanding, first-class motor sport park," he said.
"This is every bit as good as Adelaide Oval is for the footy events."
In fact, Supercar team boss Brad Jones said The Bend would the best permanent circuit in Australia.
Driver Nick Percat, who grew up in Adelaide but shifted to Melbourne to further his career, hoped it would make a difference to the next generation of aspiring racers.
"Supercar teams will be here and at Adelaide 500 and you'll be able to put yourself in front of them," he said.
"It's massively exciting.
"Hopefully it builds the karting community and builds motor sport (in) SA, because ... there are plenty of people who want to do it but they haven't got the tracks."
He said the circuit would feature blind corners, plenty of passing opportunities and wide straights conducive to entertaining racing.
"I can't wait to get back out here," he said.
A ballot for tickets to the first Super Sprint race at The Bend will open on Wednesday morning and close on December 2.
Aside from the main circuit, The Bend will also feature drifting, karting, rallying, drag racing and a four-wheel drive adventure park.
- Enter the ballot: www.outix.co/tickets/event/supercars-thebend.
Having followed the story of Tailem Bend's motorsport park since the land was zoned, this is awesome to see. pic.twitter.com/hgtpibAKt8— Peri Strathearn (@PeriStrathearn) October 3, 2017
How did we get here?
June 2013: The Coorong council shifts the Tailem Bend Motorsport Park onto a month-by-month lease as it seeks to sell the land
September 2013: The venue's operators unsuccessfully appeal to Tourism Minister Leon Bignell to stop the park from being sold to another party
November 2013: The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport announces Tailem Bend as its preferred site for any future racing mecca in South Australia, ahead of Gillman, Mallala and Monarto; Sam Shahin's Peregrine Corporation is announced as the buyer of the motorsport park
February 2014: The Murray Valley Standard is the first media outlet to report on the scope of the Shahins' plan for the motor sport park, including a hotel, airstrip and service station; tn the lead-up to an election, the Liberals promise to support a bid for a second V8 Supercars race at Tailem Bend; not to be outdone, Labor says it will award the motor sport park $7.5 million in funding as well
February 2015: Tailem Bend's real estate market begins warming up as talk of a bright future for the motor sport park circulates
March 2015: Peregrine Corporation receives a $1 million federal government grant to help it develop its plans
May 2015: Plans for the circuit are approved by the Development Assessment Commission; Dr Shahin secures a memorandum of understanding from V8 Supercars, suggesting a round of the race series will someday be held there
February 2016: The Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme inspects the track and certifies it as being a high enough standard to host a Moto GP World Championship event
February 2017:Work begins on the pit building
June 2017: Supercars CEO James Warburton hints at an August 2018 date for the first race at Tailem Bend
October 2017: Tuesday's announcement by Premier Jay Weatherill makes it official